In general, the photograph below is the most boring one in a wedding series, that I can think of. Two people standing beside each other, looking straight into the camera, doing their best to look naturally happy. But this specific photograph is different to me, and I’ll explain why that is.
Did you know that in Sweden, this so called modern day, people with visible disabilities risk being subject to verbal and physical abuse if and when they show expressions of love in public. Did you know that?
I didn’t, until this brave woman in the photograph above, told me. We are friends since many years, but this, I did not know. I was horrified, yet somehow not surprised. The lack of respect for people who for one reason or the other does not follow “normal” is abundant, not to mention twisted.
I find it odd that people today have no better understanding, tolerance and acceptance for what is not their own normal, their own reality. Perhaps I was lucky to grow up with parents working with especially young people with primarily cognitive and physical disabilities. I was brought up with the understanding that someone’s different reality does not equal dangerous, and it does not alter my own reality.
The photograh shown above is one of the nicer ones from this series. We also shot a bunch more intimate ones, and some of these recieved lots of critique when shown on my friends Facebook wall. People thought they were “too much”, “too sexy” et cetera, and to my big surprise the critique came mainly from other disabled people. To this day, I am still not sure whether this critique is based on some kind of moral idea, or if it is plain jealousy.
While I in general find the photograph above to be among the most boring to shoot, this specific one has so much meaning that I feel it is one of the absolutely best ones in the whole series.
To me, this photograph represents so many things aside these two people clearly belong together. His hand on her shoulder, quite possively, but she on the other hand, clearly proud enough not to be owned. But it doesn’t stop there. On the contrary; that’s just the beginning.
We are so used to see this kind of photograph with two able-bodied people. Through a photograph like this, we understand that they love each other, that they intend to live together, if they are visibly younger we expect them to have or soon-to-have a family, which means a very extended lifestyle.
But for some reason, it is difficult for so many people to see this with people who have some kind of disability. Especially, I think, if there’s a wheelchair involved. There are so many prejudices that blinds us from the fact that the wheelchair has nothing to do with the making of or maintaining a family.
From what I can gather, people in general, and it seems like it doesn’t matter if they are, or are not, able-bodied, are provoced by the idea of disabled people loving able-bodied people, and being loved back. It seems like there’s a difference if both parties are disabled. I don’t get it, and quite frankly, I’m repulsed by the idea that only two people who “are the same” are allowed to love and be loved by each other. It’s ridiculous.
For all these reasons and more onto that, I find it extremely important to continue the project I started when I photographed these awesome peoples’ wedding (and the hotter photos as well). I would like to show a variety of disabled people in a variety of relationships, with various sexual preferences, just so that other people can start opening their minds and realize that it is not their place to “allow” someone else to feel, have or do something as natural like love (and sex).
This will take me a while, and I need to gather money so I can travel around and meet different people. I have a few swedish people in mind, but I am also thinking of a female couple in Britain that I would love to go see.
If you want this project to continue, please consider supporting me by contributing with any sum of money you can spare. It is highly appreciated – thank you in advance. ♥
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