This series is part of the Radical Beauty project, an international photography project aiming to give people with Down’s Syndrome their rightful place in the visual arts. The young women I worked with, shared a strong will to succeed. To prove themselves. It must be beyond frustrating to be underestimated all the time. With ‘Chosen [not] to be’ I reflect on their reality - the barriers they face, society’s refusal to see their capabilities, the invisibility of their true selves - and translate their experiences visually.
In the Netherlands, people with Down’s Syndrome have collected their experiences in a book, called Zwartboek (Blackbook). They have offered this book to the government as a catalyst for change.
Reading the collection of stories in this book broke my heart. There is so much misinformation. This misinformation leads to misconceptions and widely held preconceived notions which profoundly impact the lives of people with Down’s.
Much to the frustration and pain of people with Down’s Syndrome and their families, there is a fundamental discrepancy between the capabilities of people with Down’s, and society’s view of them.
These feelings are expressed into the images of this series. My goal was to subtly convey the message while at the same time showing their individuality, their beauty and their essence. The fine line between making them truly visible, while at the same time conveying the restrictions and barriers placed upon them.
With much love to Juliette, Margot, Emma, Eveline and Tessel.
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