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Great Dpbours 2007-05-25 4:16

Hi Gal,

Great shot and a good note you got there. I am wondering if the gaze is due to a loss of childhood, due to a higher level of wisdom she unfortunately developed when having to cope with her disability at an early age... Or perhaps because she's always (unwantingly) sticking out and as such pitied by others and a favourite subject when having discussions like this one.

Maybe she just looks annoyed because she wants - like all the other kids there - to enjoy the performance that is going on. Maybe she is annoyed by being choosen a subject again above the subject that is the reason she's there - the performance we don't see in this picture.

By exclusion one can feel different and abnormal. But by unwanted inclusion the same can occur. Always being looked at, feeling like being talked about. Maybe, maybe we should give her a chance to be a child with a wheelchair - without paying attention to the wheelchair... Maybe the picture should be added to a theme called 'Children' as well, not just to a theme called 'Wheelchairs'. I would feel different and abnormal if I were her and would find my picture back under the theme 'Wheelchairs'...

But a nice shot!

Greetings, Dennis

Old 05-25-2007, 09:26 PM
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Galeota Galeota is offline
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Default To Dpbours: Abnormality

I would feel different and abnormal if I were her and would find my picture back under the theme 'Wheelchairs'...

Hello Dennis, thank you for your regular comments and overall contribution around the site, which I always find interesting. You have brought up a reasoning here that I personally don't share, but think it is fundamental debating on.

I believe that stigmatizing a person, or a group of persons, is not being able to talk or to put in evidence their difference, their particularity, turning them into a taboo. The girl portrayed with my deepest respect (not only for her handicap, but also for her childhood), cannot walk. I personally believe that steals something away from her childhood, and I feel touched by it. Wouldn't tink for a second to relegate this major handicap in her life to a second degree, because I'm pretty much sure it is present in her life from the moment she wakes up in the morning, to the moment she goes to bed. That difference makes her different from children who can walk, and that's life setting its rules.

My theme on wheelchairs is everything but voyeuristic, and it doesn't call for ANY aesthetic considerations, photography wise. It is supposed to put together a group of people who roll instead of walking, but they're still here, dignified in a way or another, by someone (me) who cares a bit about them, and tries to show the world, that their difference doesn't make them less humans than you and I. I don't pretend they should be proud being part of such theme, but it definitely isn't intended as an elephant man kind of circus.

Thank you, anyway, for your words really worth some thoughts.
Be well ;o)
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Old 05-26-2007, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: To Dpbours: Being different

Hi Gal,

I should start with saying that I do not at all feel that you started your wheelchair theme out of pity, or to portray people who are clearly different or abnormal. Not at all! It's a beautiful theme and I am happy you bring it to the attention to others here on TE!

I think my response comes from a different cultural 'way' in which people in the Netherlands deal with others with disabilities. I don't know if I'm saying it right in English, but perhaps you feel what I mean.
I just looked on Dutch sites on people in wheelchairs. One guy in a wheelchair says: " Treat "us" like you would treat any other human being! If you like me, like me because of me. You don't need to like me because I'm using a wheelchair. I feel it's normal if someone has a disability. I'm more and more surprised about people who actually can still do everything. Remember that the line between being "healthy" and "disabled" is a very thin one! "

When reading those sites, it almost feels to me like a sub-culture, not like a group of different people! Like 'Healthy people who like to listen to Bach' it seems you also have a sub-culture 'Healthy people in a wheelchair'. Or maybe I should call it 'Happy people in a wheelchair'. And yes, different for sure but not any less able to live life and enjoy childhood to the max.
Then again, this is easier in the Netherlands than in other countries. Our society seems to be adapted to anyone; We have special taxis, the busses can go down to the ground to roll in, every public building has to be accessible for anyone, stores are not allowed to open if they have no facilities for wheelchairs / blind people etc, companies are given benefits for adjustments if employing people with disabilities and we have a very social health care system. In a sense, I think there is positive discrimination in the Netherlands! When I'm home, my neighbourhood has a 24-hour service center for people who live on their own with a disability. When walking through the center, I see people in a bed who are paralized driving around to go shopping!

True, it will not be the easiest childhood. But in the Netherlands, I do not feel like a handicap steels away something of someone's childhood. True, it does not make life any easier... And how much that impacts someone can only be told when you're in this situation yourself. As such, I would not mind to experience it myself. Sometimes you see groups of non-blind walking blindfolded, or non-disabled people in wheelchairs, to test facilities in the public environment. If there are court cases on accessibility, you will see a judge getting in a wheelchair to test facilities himself. I think that must be an interesting experience.

Well, maybe I'm slightly baised in my view, since I am working in developing countries where the lives of people with disabilities is a totally different one - if there is a life at all...

Thank you for your attention on the subject, the beautiful pictures and the interesting discussions!

Have a good weekend! Dennis
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