Radical Beauty Project Is Challenging Misconceptions Around Down Syndrome Through Conceptual Beauty Shoots

On the face of it, the images coming out of the Radical Beauty Project aren’t that far-removed from the avant garde beauty shoots you’d expect to see on the pages of fashion magazines right now. They use some of the industry’s biggest photographers, feature boundary-pushing make-up looks and experimental styling — all under a creative, conceptual art direction. But they offer one thing you don’t tend to see in glossy mags. All the models have Down Syndrome.

More: Radical Beauty Project, Instagram h/t: i-d

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Lush news: | Chosen [not] to be | by @marinkamasseus Is the winner of Sony World Photography Awards 2019 category: creative. Artist statement: | Chosen [not] to be | is part of the @radicalbeautyproject an international photography project aiming to give people with Down’s Syndrome their rightful place in the visual arts. The young women I worked with, shared a strong will to succeed. To prove themselves. It must be beyond frustrating to be underestimated all the time. With ‘Chosen [not] to be’ I reflect on their reality – the barriers they face, society’s refusal to see their capabilities, the invisibility of their true selves – and have aimed to translate their experiences visually. In the Netherlands, people with Down’s Syndrome have collected their experiences in a book, called Zwartboek (Blackbook). They have offered this book to the government as a catalyst for change. Reading the collection of stories in this book broke my heart. There is so much misinformation. This misinformation leads to widely held preconceived notions which profoundly impact the lives of people with Down Syndrome. • #downsyndrome #radicalbeauty#chosennottobe #marinkamasseus#humanrights #equality #inclusion#diversity#blackandwhite#art_cage_budapest#superwrongmagazine #bnw_legit#dazed #milk #aperturefnd#selfservicemagazine#somewheremagazine #avantarte#ignant #collecteurs#blackandwhitephotography #bnw#gallery_legit #bnwmood

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We are honoured to work with @marinkamasseus, this image was selected for Rabobank Dutch Photographic Portrait Prize 2018. Masséus: 'This series is part of the Radical Beauty project, an international photography project aiming to give people with Down syndrome their rightful place in the visual arts. In addition, this series intends to further public debate about the ramifications of fast technological advances concerning prenatal screening (NIPT) and the role governments play in the extinction of certain groups of people by steering the conversation and offering one-sided information. At some point we all have to ask ourselves the tough questions about diversity, inclusion, 'perfection' etc. In other words 'what kind of society do we wish to create'. Where will it end? Are we heading fast towards eugenics? Upon meeting the young women participating in this project, I was deeply touched by their strong personalities, their honesty, their dedication, their professionalism and their overwhelming ability to give love in its purest form. Their mothers spoke lovingly about the precious addition to their families, expressing that most of the challenges lie not with having a child with Down’s, but with responses from society. What shocked me most was when they told me that often, when NIPT screening confirms Down's, the first question the physician asks is "when are we scheduling the abortion?". Instead of asking "what do you need from me to make the best decision for you and your family?”. Tragically, with some countries like Iceland and Denmark boasting "near perfect eradication quotes", soon there will be no more people with Down syndrome to prove them wrong.' #portraitphotography #portrait#downsyndrome @radicalbeautyproject

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