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Testimony of Gilles Legoff, carer in residential home and photographer

  • Social Life : Culture
  • Europe : France
  • Témoignage

Par Handiplanet le 18/12/2017

If the world of knowledge is less accessible to people with an intellectual disability, the world of the sensitive and beauty is a world in which they enter easily.

I discovered the health sector during my military service as a conscientious objector, in 1997 at "L'Arche" . The confrontation with the disabilities on a daily basis has been a revelation.

I have trained myself afterwards as a special education teacher. I had also an artistic sensibility, in particular for the photo, without being able to exercise it. And quite recently I could marry these two sensibilities in the residnetial home where I currently exercise.

If one of my goals is to value the people, placing them in the light, the other is to show the difference. This remains a delicate subject. Show the daily life of this home life has been possible at a garden party hosted by the establishment. I proposed my photographic work with the people I lived with.

The exhibition state that of "the daily life of a residential home ". In the second time it has been exposed in different places of the city, City Hall, cultural space.

Today, I use photography as a tool to try to introduce the issue of disability to the general public. I use my journey of educator to play both ways; both value the people putting them in light to access the beautiful and at the same time to change attitudes around disability.

In preparation, residents were able to exchange around their image, shown on the big screen. Some were proud, others more reserved. Beyond the impact that these pictures had on residents, this work has ricocheted towards families sometimes for dialogue, or the rediscovery of their child.

There was no other exhibitions after. But it was enough to say that photography helps out of the walls, to go to meet others, neighbors, inhabitants, and inclusion. Prejudices fall as well as the negative of autarky representations when the public sees residents talk about them next to their picture. A resident who was asked the question:

"What do you get from being expposed?" answered:

"I want people to know that I exist and I look good."

In addition to the photo, I am committed to promote out cultural, in small groups. I shall offer outings cinemas, theatre, or visits of galleries.  They can have access to culture, to the sensitive, beautiful.

The difficulties I face are above all the recognition of my work as a photographer as part of my professional practice. The workshops pottery, painting, offer more structured than the photo activities such as the one I practice with the residents. It's not obvious to be strength of new proposals to break the routine of daily life. But this work has re-energized me in my daily exercise. I'm very fortunate to be able to do.

Also chasing, as part of the ZigZag association, this leads me to the theatre. I joined the ZigZag association as associate artist to be the privileged witness of everything that happens before, during and after the show. These parts are always staged for people with mental and physical disabilities. The purpose is to allow them to be on stage as they are in the city. It is sometimes elected to tears by poetry, by the image of an artist disabled on stage. Enrichment, openness to the world, to others is amazing at these shows. My work with ZigZag, titled "game to the US" to able to show these experiences of workshop and was a real success during its exhibition.

Culture, art is a world accessible for people with intellectual disabilities. There is always something happening during the confrontation between a person with a disability and the world of sensitive. They do not have the same filter we have. Just give them the freedom of expression and immediately out of the box.

This photographic work has allowed me to meet the biggest names in photography. They gave me a complimentary return and assured me that there is still much to do to make the world of disabled people better known and valued by the image.

In response to this invitation, I created my double-hatted Sellig Photo, strong association, to give me the means to expand my work.

 

 

 

Langue d'origine : Français
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