HUNTSVILLE, ALA. — The genetic research that goes on at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology can seem complicated, the stuff of lofty science journals. A photography exhibit the institute recently commissioned, however, shows that work in a different light. It's Aidan, who recently lost his first tooth, and Brandon, who has a great sprinkle of freckles across his face. It's Sarah with her wide smile and brown eyes.
These are some of the children captured in "Positive Exposure @HudsonAlpha," a photography exhibition that will be on display April 9 through 14 at the Huntsville Museum of Art. The images will also be on view for the institute's Spring Benefit for Childhood Genetic Disorders on April 25, which will raise money to fund the institute's research, including a major genetic project involving children with undiagnosed disabilities.
The photos were taken by Rick Guidotti, a New York-based photographer and founder of Positive Exposure, a nonprofit organization that uses photography and videos to help change perceptions about people with genetic, physical and behavioral disabilities. Guidotti visited HudsonAlpha in February, taking hundreds of photos that became this 20-photo exhibit.
"The idea is to create an opportunity to see beyond difference," to see people as the individuals they are, not as a condition, Guidotti said of his work in a phone call from New York City. By photographing individuals with disabilities with love and respect, Guidotti hopes to create "a more inclusive society where we can see and embrace diversity."
Guidotti's "work is just so vibrant and life-affirming, and it changes people's attitude about what individuals with disabilities look like," said Neil Lamb, who is the director of educational outreach at HudsonAlpha. "He has put faces to terms and topics we often just gloss past."
The Huntsville Museum of Art, 300 Church St., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday until 8 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students 12 and over, seniors 60 and older and members of the military and educators, $5 for children 6 to 11 and free for children 5 and younger and for members.
Dr. Guy Caldwell, Ph.D. and Dr. Kim Caldwell, Ph.D., Molecular Biologists, Assistant Professors, Department of Biological Sciences
“I never set out to be a professor and researcher; I sort of stumbled into that job. However, I always wanted to know more about nature because I loved animals, rocks, planets, stars, fish, etc. So, in school I took a lot of science courses and along the way I just kept narrowing my focus as I found out what areas of science I liked.” —Dr. Kim Caldwell
“Fall in love with biology, chemistry, math and computer classes early. I use my degree every day. Biology–specimens/cell division; chemistry-mixing and usage of reagents in our protocols; math–measuring DNA; computers–capturing and karyotyping chromosomes.”
“I choose this career because I really enjoy the fast pace changes of science and genetics and I like to help people. I wanted a career that would allow me to be in healthcare but I was not interested in being a physician or nurse or working in a research laboratory setting.”
“I travel independently throughout the community to inspect food processing plants, hotels, restaurants, day care and nursing home food service facilities, jails, schools, night clubs and even body art facilities. Every day I am out meeting new people and seeing different things.”
“As a medical epidemiologist working at a state health department, I have investigated acute disease outbreaks; reviewed and analyzed data from reported, notifiable disease cases; and planned and implemented intervention measures to reduce the occurrence of preventable communicable diseases.”
“Computational biology is an exciting interdisciplinary field of research that integrates concepts from statistics, mathematics, computer science, and physics to solve problems in biology and biomedical research.”
“As a biochemical geneticist, my work specifically focuses on the diagnosis of inherited metabolic disorders, which typically afflict infants and young children, and often cause severe, even life threatening symptoms.”
“Did I choose the career or did the career choose me? That is an interesting question. I have always been interested in science, and grew up on a farm. So the marriage of science and agriculture was a natural for me.”