email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
1000 Families2 ¼32 Stories365 Days51 Months5x7A Child's Life and Other StoriesA Couple of Ways of Doing SomethingA Lifetime of SecretsA Storybook LifeA Treasury of Victorian MurderActing OutAddiction and ArtAEIOUAfter PhotographyAliveAlive with Alzheimer'sAlone Together POCAltered StatesAmazing WomenAmelia's WorldAmerica at HomeAmerican AlphabetsAmnesiaAn American LensAn Exact MindAngel's WorldAngry Youth Comix #2Anjos ProibidosAnthony GoicoleaArchitecture of AuthorityArt After Conceptual ArtArt and HomosexualityArt and PhotographyArt in Three DimensionsArt Photography NowArt, Self and KnowledgeArt/PornAs We AreAsylumAttitudeAutoportraitBecoming Edvard MunchBeg the QuestionBelugaBerkoBig Rabbit's Bad MoodBill HensonBlab!Blab! 13BLAB! Vol. 14BLAB! Vol. 15BlanketsBoneyardBoneyardBoy StoriesBreakdownsBright EarthBrüselBurn, Bitchy, BurnBus OdysseyBut Is It Art?CanvasCaricatureChildrenChris VereneChristy ReportCinema PanopticumClass PicturesClick DoubleclickCloserClumsyClyde Fans CoincidencesComing of AgeComing of Age in Ancient GreeceConceptual Art and PaintingConfessions of a Cereal EaterConsider LoveCouch FictionCrumpleCzech EdenCzech Photographic Avant-Garde, 1918-1948Dan & LarryDargerDays With My FatherDead EndDear MomDeus Ex MachinaDigital DiariesDirty StoriesDisasters of WarDixie RoadDomestic VacationsDon't Go Where I Can't FollowDon't You Feel BetterDr. Jekyll & Mr. HydeDrawingsDriftlessEcstasyEdouard VuillardEnduring CreationEngland, My EnglandEntering GermanyEpilepticErwin OlafEscape from "Special"EVAEverything Will DisappearEvidenceExploring the Self through PhotographyExposureExpressionism Exquisite CorpseFamilyFamilyFamily LifeFandomaniaFaster than a Speeding BulletFictionsFigure and GroundFragile DVDFred the ClownFreud at WorkFridaFrom Girls to GrrlzFun HomeGeneration DadaGirl CultureGirls, Some Boys and Other CookiesGood-ByeGraphic WomenGrave MattersH R GigerHans BellmerHappy Halloween, Li'L SantaHauntedHere Is New YorkHey, Wait...High Art LiteHollywood CowboyHouse of JavaI Am Not This BodyI Love You But I've Chosen RockI Thought I Could FlyI'll Be Your MirrorI'm CrazyIllumineIn My Darkest HourIn Search Of DignityIn the Floyd ArchivesIn the Line of DutyInformation ArtsIntenseInvisible No MoreIt Was A Dark And Silly NightJack Cole and Plastic ManJimmy CorriganJock SturgesJock SturgesJust Between UsKafkaKatharina SieverdingLacan at the SceneLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLife's a BitchLight in the Dark RoomLine of Beauty and GraceListening to CementLittle LitLi’l SantaLoadsLooking For MayaLost GirlLouis FaurerLouise BourgeoisLove and DesireLove Lust DesireLuckyManufactured LandscapesMass ObservationMaster BreastsMetacreationMisty DawnMnemosyneMomeMona KuhnMy Brain is Hanging Upside DownMy DepressionMy Family AlbumNatural BeautiesNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew and Used BLAB!New York September 11Night FisherNightswimmingNo More ShavesNotes from a DefeatistNothing ObviousNothing to HideNudes and PortraitsOliviaOlivia Saves the CircusOn City StreetsOne EyeOnly a Promise of HappinessOptic NerveOptic Nerve #11Optic Nerve #9Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers & PiratesOutsider ArtPanic at Toad HallPatrolPaul M. SmithPeculiaPeekPeople Love PhotosPerfect ExamplePersepolisPhilosophersPhonesexPhoto ArtPhoto Icons I (1827-1926)Photographers, Writers, and the American ScenePhotography and LiteraturePhotography and PhilosophyPhotography and SciencePhotography and the USA Photography RebornPicturing DisabilityPlaytimePOPismPostmodernismPsychedelicQuestions without answersRaptors Raw YouthRay's a LaughRazmatazReclining NudeRed SnowRemembering GeorgyRequisite DistanceRineke DijkstraRippleRobert Doisneau 1912-1994Robert MaxwellRoom to PlaySame Difference & Other StoriesSanctumSatan's Sex BookSatellitesSchizophreniaSee Me Feel MeSelf-Taught and Outsider ArtSexSexual ArtSexyBookShadow ChamberSidewalk StoriesSkin DeepSleepwalkSmall FavorsSmile of the BuddhaSpectral EvidenceSpentSshhhh!Stranded in CantonStrange Stories for Strange Kids Stranger PassingStripped BareSummer BlondeSurrealismSymbols in ArtTestimonyThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe AlcoholicThe Art InstinctThe Art of Adolf WolfliThe Art of MedicineThe BabiesThe Birthday RiotsThe Blue Day BookThe Blue NotebookThe BodyThe Body as ProtestThe Boulevard of Broken DreamsThe Breast BookThe Breathing FieldThe Bristol Board JungleThe Clouds AboveThe Devil and Daniel JohnstonThe Diary of a Teenage GirlThe Education of SophieThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Face in the LensThe Illustrated Story of OThe Incantations of Daniel JohnstonThe Madonna of the FutureThe Mirror of LoveThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New LifeThe Other PlaceThe Philosophy of Andy WarholThe Places We LiveThe Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious BrainThe Push Man and Other StoriesThe Scar of VisibilityThe September 11 Photo ProjectThe Shiniest JewelThe Speed AbaterThe Steerage and Alfred StieglitzThe Story of Frog Belly Rat BoneThe Stuff of LifeThe Three ParadoxesThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Transparent CityThe TravelersThe ValleyThe Van Gogh BluesThe Wolves in the WallsThe Yellow HouseThinThings as They AreThinking of YouTierney GearonTime and SilenceTina's MouthTits, Ass, and Real EstateTransitionTrauma and Documentary Photography of the FSATravelersTropical BlendTwentieth Century EightballTwilightUnlikelyVagina WarriorsVernacular VisionariesVietnam At PeaceVisual CultureVitamin PhWar Is Only Half the StoryWhat Are You Looking At?What Art IsWhat Good Are the Arts?What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally MannWho Am I, What Am I, Where Am I?William KentridgeWillie DohertyWithWriters on ArtistsYoung PhotographerZip Zip My Brain Harts
This a very special book indeed. Poignant, powerful and heart rending to say the least. Vincenzo Pietropaolo has through his photographs and short evocative stories that accompany them, made visible the too often invisible lives of individuals who are born with intellectual disabilities. The coffee table style book has over one hundred stunning photographs, some in black & white, though mostly in colour, and thirty stories which complement the photos.
The Forward by Wayne Johnston explains clearly why Pietropaolo wanted to create this work and the way he went about it. Most of the photos are taken in Canada. Pietropaolo travelled the length and breadth of this huge country with its dramatic scenery changing from the frozen Arctic north to the vast wind swept prairies. The people he photographed are just as dramatic as the landscape they inhabit. This book "...seeks to change the way we see -- or rather don't see -- something." This something as the subtitle suggest is "...not a thing, or even a group of things, but a group of people" (p. ix) Pietropaolo has a unique gift of capturing the true essence of individuals which emanates from their eyes in the most unsettling manner. If as the cliché goes, "The eyes are the mirror of the soul" then he has photographed the souls of these individuals. In my opinion our lives are the better for having been giving the privilege of sharing, and in a very limited sense, partaking in these peoples' lives.
The main essay, Genius: An Introductory Essay written by Catherine Frazee is simply brilliant! She uses the concept of genius to show how society's attitude to those who are "differently enabled" changes like the weather. This essay discusses briefly some of the deepest and most important (and difficult) philosophical issues of our times. Specifically do we abort foetuses because scans and genetic testing have shown genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome? On the one hand we hear scientists exclaim with glee that soon we will rid humanity of all these terrible mistakes of nature, on the other hand religious believers argue that we have no right to "play God". It is not my intention, nor the place to discuss this in detail, however, I would offer one caution. Where do we draw the line as to what is an acceptable (allowable!) disability and what is not? I was born with red hair. One of my mother's "friends?" said, "If I had a redheaded child I would drown it at birth!"
At what stage do we start practicing Galtonian or Spenserian eugenics? "...the greatest minds and moral leaders of the early twentieth century championed the cause of eugenics..." (p. 7) Whilst genius was appreciated in the early twentieth century feeblemindedness was considered a curse and brake on human progress. The following is so shocking I'll quote it in full.
"In order to prevent its [feeblemindedness] spread into future generations, the reproductive proclivities of feebleminded persons would be regulated. Institutions for custodial supervision and confinement were populated on a massive scale. In an ever-increasing fervor to "extinguish the line" of feeblemindedness, practices of containment and sterilization were legally mandated in both Canada and the United States. Estimates indicate that over sixty-five thousand persons were sterilized in thirty-three U.S. states under compulsory sterilization programs. Across the border in Canada, the Alberta Eugenics Board mandated to eliminate "multiplication of the evil by transmission of ... disability to progeny," approved nearly five thousand cases for sterilization between 1928 and 1972" (p. 7)
This book squarely confronts the reader with these questions in the most profound though sensitive and gentle way. I see how my own life has been enriched through contact with individuals with disabilities, one young woman with Down Syndrome, Makushla was an artist working in many forms, her paintings expressed feelings that one could almost touch. When she died in her late twenties I wrote a poem to remember her special contribution to our society. This poem may help convey in a small way what Pietropaolo portrays through this marvellous book.
master of the Heart Chakra
lives on in the iridescence of sunsets.
A short life
each breath creating, dancing, laughing,
teaching us to transcend the intellect.
Plunging naked, innocently
into the mystery of life.
She reified her love
for all of us to share.
This book will make you laugh, cry and confront you with issues that many would prefer to remain invisible -- that is until the "issues" effect you personally.
© 2010 Rob Harle
Rob Harle is an artist and writer, especially concerned with the nature of consciousness and high-body technologies. His current work explores the nature of the transition from human to posthuman, a phenomenon he calls the technoMetamorphosis of humanity. He has academic training in philosophy of mind, comparative religious studies, art and psychotherapy. Rob is an active member of the Leonardo Review Panel. For full biography and examples of art and writing work please visit his web site: http://www.robharle.com