“First and foremost I am” series consists of 21 portraits of people who all have Down syndrome. 21 portrait, since the trisomy of the 21st chromosome causes Down syndrome. I photographed people aged from 9 months to 60 years.
One of the reason I did this project was because of this radio interview I heard about the ethical questions we face now, that we can choose who gets to live and who doesn’t. The aim with prenatal diagnosis is to detect birth defects such as Down syndrome and more. Where are we headed? Will people choose not to keep an embryo with Down syndrome? I had a lovely aunt Begga with Down syndrome. It is very difficult for me to think about the elimination of Down syndrome and her at the same time.
The title of the project comes from a article I read which Halldóra Jónsdóttir, a 24 year old woman with Down syndrome, wrote. I contacted her and asked if she wanted to be part of the program. She said yes and she’s one of the people featured in the project, as well as her article. In the article she goes through her thoughts on these ethical questions. She said, “I have Down syndrome but FIRST AND FOREMOST I am Halldóra. I do a million things that other people do. My life is meaningful and good because I choose to be positive and see the good things in life”.
More info: siggaella.com