Jason & Victoria Disability And Partnership
An Observation By Josefin Bengtsson
People with disabilities in the UK today face equality issues, not just in the work place, but also in day-to-day interaction with society at large. Often labelled as helpless, pitiable, or even fraudsters. disabled people are marginalised, miscategorized, misunderstood and all too often demonised in the media and by politicians. Perhaps because of this, there is little understanding about what it really means to live as, and be, a disabled person in 2019.
This project is a collaboration between myself and a couple I work with, Jason and Victoria. Both living with different disabilities and facing different structural barriers. Because of this, Jason and Victoria have found companionship and love in each other and it has been my privilege for the past five years to observe their relationship, and build a close friendship with them as individuals.
I wanted to use this project to capture some of the joy that Jason and Victoria get from each other on a daily basis, but also to highlight the real lows that they experience as a couple in a society that does not welcome, or understand their disabilities, and which as a consequence actively prevents them from living their life to the fullest.
Because, due to constraints on support and benefits, Jason and Victoria are often confined to their flat, this project is also a study on the domestic life of disability; a life that is all too often invisible to people whose only encounter with disability might be on the street, when riding public transport, or in the workplace. This domestic space is something that I, as a photographer, want to translate for non-disabled audiences, to give an idea of the sheer range of experience, emotion and stories that go on behind closed doors.
In an ideal world, my work as a photographer with Jason and Victoria would lead to a measurable improvement in their lives; opportunities for further support, better housing, and even work. However, in recognition of the fact that under the current government, such an aspiration might as well be a fantasy, we instead hand over the possibility of change to you, the audience, in empathy, solidarity, and a hope for the future.