Rasso Brackert

For decades there have been these dreadful pictures of us in the media – the small, pitiable, disabled person in a corner, often badly photographed. This was always a terrible thing for me, and a sort of motivator that compelled me to try and do way with these belittling “hospital pictures” as I used to call them.

The idea of photographing people with disabilities in the nude was never discussed openly. It was taboo. Nevertheless, I felt it a challenge to present the physically challenged body aesthetically. Because I myself am disabled, it seemed easier for me to photograph a disabled person in the nude, as opposed to someone who was not disabled in the nude. Nevertheless, when I first asked friends to pose for me, I would approach them fearing that I would be “stoned to death”.

Physical disablement and beauty did not coexist. Not even among us disabled, which is also why it was even more surprising for me to encounter such a spontaneous readiness to consent. I suppose I had more barriers in my head than they did. In the beginning I was too cautious to provoke with my work. I didn’t want to hurt or compromise the feelings of others with my photographs. I have now become more open minded, I want to provoke a positive “aha”. It is my wish that the photographs grip and intrigue the viewers so that they may sense the beauty, strength and self confidence of the subject.

Criticism has generally been positive. People like the photographs a lot. They consider them aesthetic, interesting and erotic. They now realize that the subject “the disabled” can be viewed and dealt with in a different light. Perfect/Imperfect has had exhibits in several cities in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and has been seen in Atlanta, Georgia and Sydney, Australia. Commentaries of this exhibit have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines as well as on European Television.

Excerpt from an 2003 interview with Rasso Bruckert.