These portraits represent a sample of my contribution to the Shifting Perspectives iniciative in the UK.
Shifting Perspectives was born out of a desire to provide an alternative to the medical, often negative, mainstream images of people with Down’s syndrome. In 2003 Fiona Field and Richard Baley gathered a group of photographers, who all had children with Down’s syndrome, to create a small exhibition for Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week. Susan Andrews, a senior lecturer in photography at the London Metropolitan University, happened to visit the exhibition and invited the group to exhibit at the university as part of the ‘Photomonth’ east London photography festival. It was through this invitation that Shifting Perspectives came about, and in 2005 the first exhibition was held at the gallery@OXO on London’s Southbank.
Today, Shifting Perspectives has become a global art and awareness project which has reached tens of thousands of people. The exhibition has travelled throughout the UK and Ireland. It has visited 4 continents and 7 different countries. The work – all taken by photographers with a connection to Down’s syndrome – has gained recognition for its contribution to the field of photography, and its success in challenging attitudes towards people with Down’s syndrome.
Over the years Shifting Perspectives has explored many different themes: birth, every day family life, relationships, culture and religion. The work is about more than just disability. It depicts people with Down’s syndrome as individuals, showing that they have dreams, aspirations, wants, needs, likes and dislikes, just like anyone else.