We live in a world of imagery, especially since the advent of the smart phone with advanced digital photo and video capabilities. In the old days we carried our snapshots around in albums or maybe a box or two. We had hundreds of photos and were prone to lose some as we moved from place to place. Now we have thousands stored in our computers and smart phones and are still prone to lose them — through hard drive crashes, lost thumb drives or just sheer unmanageable numbers.
The NEW MOBILITY issue you are reading now is proof of how important images have become to disability advocacy. Our Person of the Year, Reveca Torres, is being honored, at least in part, because her project, “Reinventing the Wheel,” a traveling photo exhibit, depicts wheelchair users in ways that break stereotypes. It is advocacy by image, a hybrid of advertising technique, realism, creative photography and intentional promotion. We are saying to the public: Look at us — we are more than you thought; we are like you, but we are also unique.
NM’s Person of the Year issue goes back to 1998. In all, we have chosen 20 POYs from then until now — 12 men, 7 women, and one fictitious television character. Of the first 15, most were chosen because of their advocacy involving disability issues. But four out of the last five POYs were chosen because of th