So many stories of persons with disabilities are told from the outside looking in. Often, we are portrayed as tragic and/or brave, and it is easy to lose sight of our common humanity. We are seen as “other.”
Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, I have resisted and resented this attitude whenever I encounter it in person, print or online. In June 2008 I started taking self portraits with the intention of showing from the inside the day-to-day life of a person with a disability, that person being myself.
What I thought would be most challenging—the physical act of taking self portraits—was surprisingly easy. What I had not taken into account was the emotional roller coaster I would ride in the process. As subject, I was surprised by my feelings of shame and "otherness." As photographer, my differences were interesting rather than shameful. As viewer of the photos, I saw how hard my body works to do what I ask of it. If anyone had to change their attitude, it was I.