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Art Show: B&W Portraits: A Juried Photography Show

Access Denied

by Stephanie M. Daigle

Banner for B&W Portraits: A Juried Photography Show art show

Art: Access Denied by Artist Stephanie M. Daigle
My portrait for this show is of Rosebud, the Dobergirl. Rosebud came to me in 2003 as a rescue from a shelter. I was only going to foster her at first, but five minutes with this gentle soul had me head over heels. Little did I know at the time that soon enough, it would be me who would need help.

Rosebud is now my service dog, trained by me as I became disabled due to arthritis. Prior to that, I was very active with both work and play. Long days at work would be followed by wonderful evenings having picnics and hiking in the state park, near my home. It never dawned on me at the time how difficult something as ordinary as a walk in the park would be for a disabled person. After all, you don't often seethe mobility challenged in a state park - not far from the parking lot anyway!

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has done much for the disabled with regard to gaining access to public buildings, ensuring that service dogs are granted equal access and many other things, but little has been done in other areas, such as on a state level. There is little access tostate parks, for example. Have you ever tried to navigate a wheelchair on gravel or a rocky path over tree roots? I think everyone should try it at least once. It would give people a much needed outlook on what it is like. Not even an electric mobility scooter can manage this terrain.

I would like to see blacktop walkways in state parks so that the mobility challenged can enjoy them too. Folks could maneuver their wheelchairs or drive their mobility scooters on the paths and stop for a picnic along the way, the same way as the able bodied, rather than be relegated to the picnic area next to the handicap parking spot in the parking lot where they may choke oneveryone'scar exhaust! This is not to say I am not in favor of keeping the parks natural. Keep the trails for the able bodied but give others a chance to enjoy, too!

Since I have had Rosebud, I have had 2 hip replacements, the most recent just 20 days ago. I won't need my wheelchair anymore, and these last few days, I have been visiting the park again. It is still difficult at the moment to navigate but I am looking forward to the day it is no longer the case. If that day ever comes or should I say WHEN it comes, I won't be giving up the fight and I will still do my part to help access be granted for all.

This photo was taken with a Fuji Finepix S3000 digital camera.It was shot in color format and converted to black and white. A slight lighting adjustment was made.


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