Opinion | Sexuality

Disability Is Beautiful: How the Gospel Changes the Way We See

A fashion photographer can see the beauty of a girl with albinism. Can the church?

Rick Guidotti had been trained to see and capture a very particular standard of physical beauty. But walking down New York City's Park Avenue one day, the fashion photographer spotted a girl with albinism. Though her fair skin and white hair fell outside the familiar window of beauty, he saw her with new eyes.

Guidotti's shift in seeing—the same kind of "aha!" as when a scientific discovery or a forgotten name suddenly bursts forth—is what professor James Loder calls "convictional knowing." In that moment, recognizing the girl's inherent beauty, Guidotti didn't see disability or deformity. He saw humanity.

Guidotti, whose client list includes Yves Saint Laurent, Elle, and L'Oreal, insists that this out-of-the-box beauty isn't "inner beauty." "I don't believe in that," he explained recently to Bloom, a magazine for parents of children with disabilities. "I'm as shallow as it gets. These kids are gorgeous; we're just not allowed to see it."

Driven by this new way of seeing, Guidotti ...

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