Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Sexy Photos

This blog is pretty weak on photographs. That's partly because I'm a terrible photographer, and partly because I haven't completely figured out the legal and ethical issues involved in reposting interesting photos I see on other disability-related websites. Do I need permission to post them on my blog or website? Permission from whom? What if I provide a link back to the source, is that enough?

Still, just seeing the amazing photos other peoples' blogs and websites is part of what got me excited about disability art and expression again, after a long period of feeling stagnant about them.

For example, there's the Tumblr blog, Disabled People Are Sexy. It's worth a look.

What I like about these photos is that they call up lots of strong emotions in me … a wide variety of feelings, but none of them anything close to pity, revulsion, or depression.

Of course, sexy pictures of people with disabilities may simply objectify and marginalize in their own way, just as pictures of pitiful children in braces did back in the days of Polio, and toddlers with leukemia do today on Facebook. The difference, I think is that it seems at least like the people in the "Disabled People Are Sexy" photos want to be photographed, want to be seen. Being in these photo shoots seems to be liberating for them, not humiliating. Hard to say though. It's probably a good idea to keep an open mind in every way with these pictures.

To that end, I also recommend reading a reply by the blogger to a negative comment: