Je t'aime moi aussi ( S.T. 1)
For "Je t’aime moi aussi", photographer Olivier Fermariello enters the bedrooms of individuals with disabilities, cutting through taboo and rarely discussed topics to reveal the complex sexual identities of his subjects. In a world that subscribes to a relatively homogeneous definition of beauty, physical differences at times become a source of discomfort. Here, Fermariello combats the prejudice surrounding disabled individuals, who are too often unjustly and inaccurately relegated to a realm of non-sexuality.
Fermariello explains that his choice to create the work in Italy was a response to the closed-mindedness he perceived there surrounding issues of sex and disability. After discovering Internet forums devoted to the topic, he put out an advertisement for his project and received numerous responses. With each of his subjects, he took days, weeks, and even months to form trusting relationships that fostered open communication about personal experiences with intimacy and discrimination.
In his staged narrative portraits, Fermariello gives voice to private urges and sensual fantasies that are so often kept veiled from public understanding. Bathed in a gentle golden light, his subjects engage alternately in private moments of tenderness and in the more routine scenes of daily life. Under his gaze, the human body is neither ignored nor fetishized, existing on a nuanced continuum of individual desire. As his images move dreamily between the surreal sphere of erotic reverie and the scope of the everyday, the nude body becomes a means of defiance, a courageous assertion of the amorous self in a culture that denies it.