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.