“I” is a series of digitally manipulated photographic self-portraits produced in Scotland in 1998–99 in collaboration with people with congenital physical disabilities. A different disability is superimposed onto each of the eight images of me in such a way that the composite figure looks convincing, but so that, in realizing that all the portraits are of the same person, viewers will begin to question their reaction to seeing a disabled body. By separating the disability from the person it is my intention to encourage viewers to realize that it is often the disability they see before the person.
The initial idea for these images arose as I was working with people with amputations to produce the series After Image in 1997. As I developed this work, I realized that people whose bodies are different from the conventional “norm” are still often considered, and treated, as problematic—as less than human. This work was, therefore, aimed at challenging public perceptions of, and attitudes toward, physical disability, and questioning the boundaries of what is considered beautiful and/or acceptable with regard to body form.
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