impaired perceptions
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brian@briancharlessteelphotography.com

 

 

 

 

Artist Statement:

 

I was born with short fiber syndrome, which means that I have small and weak skeletal muscles however, my biggest handicap is how others react to it. I knew my body from birth, but I was taught that I was handicapped. The physicality of my body’s form is scientific fact however, the implications of how that form is contextualized and perceived is socially constructed. You cannot declare someone to be less capable with out an ascribed normality of ability. This is a series of black and white photographic portraits of myself and other physically impaired people dealing with the concept of perception and socially constructed identity. Some of my subjects have physical impairments that are not visible, which further challenges the notion that seeing is believing. You cannot know a person simply by looking at them; you have to individualize. Tenebrism and direct eye contact are used to aid the viewer in seeing each subject as an individual by making their eyes the point of focus. I also used chiaroscuro to highlight the natural beauty and form of each individual.

My work strives to confront socially constructed perceptual fallacies that misrepresent people who are considered physically “different”. It challenges the viewer to examine their own perceptions and make any necessary corrections; it demands the right to be seen as an individual.