On Beauty

Jul 15th, 2015 • Category: Culture & Activism, Movies, Reviews


Jayne has a condition called albinism, and lives in a part of East Africa where people with albinism experience high levels of violence. PHOTO: <em>On Beauty</em>
Rick Giudotti photographs Jayne, who has a condition called albinism. PHOTO: On Beauty

Former fashion photographer Rick Giudotti sees beauty in everyone. “We want to give people another way to see difference…to embrace it,” he said at the screening of On Beauty, a documentary about changing “the way we see and experience beauty.” Giudotti left the fashion industry when he decided to explore this idea of seeing beauty everywhere. He began to take pictures of people who are treated differently because of the way they look.

On Beauty tells the story of Giudotti and his work with two beautiful people. Jayne has a condition called albinism, and lives in East Africa where people with albinism experience high levels of violence. Sarah has a Sturge-Weber birthmark, which is a birthmark that affects both the face and brain. She experienced so much bullying at school in New York that she decided to switch to homeschooling.

At a screening at the Lower East Side Girls Club in New York City, I sat down with Rick and one of his subjects, Kaelin Ball, who also has a Sturge-Weber birthmark. As an advocate for people who are living with differences, Kaelin says, “Self-acceptance equals self-esteem equals self-advocacy.”

Jayne (left) and Sarah (right) are the subjects of photographer Rick Giudotti’s documentary, On Beauty. PHOTO: On Beauty

This film is a definite must-see. It made me think more about how we treat people who seem different, and how we should pay more attention to that. Giudotti hopes to show it at schools to help students see beauty in everyone. He pointed out that the fashion industry is about selling products, and said that when he started this work, his fashion industry friends said that they “love the concept, but [it] doesn’t sell.” Still, he “wanted to photograph a group of people who were not included in that standard of beauty.”

Albinism: A condition that causes a lack of pigmentation (coloring) in a person’s skin, hair and eyes.

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