Since 2003 Richard Bailey has been curating and photographing for an ongoing body of work called Shifting Perspectives, concerned with creating positive imagery of people with Down’s syndrome.
“Each year I have looked at different aspects of Down’s syndrome” says Bailey, “and this year, after meeting the actress Sarah Gordy, we got together and looked at images of Johannes Vermeer’s paintings, recreating them with a hint to the modern. Sarah has Down’s syndrome, but this hasn’t stopped her from forging a successful career on the stage and in television. In all of the images that I take for this work, I am asking the viewer to look at the person and not the condition. As we live in an image saturated culture, where appearance holds such high currency, I hope these images question mainstream representations of those considered beautiful and indeed valuable.”
Shifting Perspectives is contributed to by a group of photographers, most of whom have a child with Down’s syndrome, and has worked closely with the Down’s Syndrome Association in the UK.
With thanks to a grant from GlaxoSmithKline, the exhibition tours nationally and internationally.