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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Robert Coombs

Robert
Coombs

SPE Member since 2017
Member Chapter: Northeast

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Robert
Medium format digital inkjet print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Untitled
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Robert
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Untitled
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Robert
Medium format digital inkjet print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Untitled
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Matt
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Untitled
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Robert
Medium format digital inkjet print

Robert Coombs

SPE member since 2017
Untitled
Medium format digital inkjet metallic print

about

My name is Robert Andy Coombs and I am a ballsy, charming, devastatingly handsome, homosexual disabled artist/activist, and proud Yooper born in Michigan' s majestic upper Peninsula. On April 24 2009, I sustained a spinal cord injury when I did not land on my feet during a routine double backflip on a trampoline at my gymnastics' gym. After a year of recuperating and reimagining my life while living with my parents and volunteering at my high school's art program, I returned to Kendall College of Art and Design to continue pursuing my photography career. During my remaining time at Kendall, I became passionate about disability culture and how underrepresented we are in mainstream media, especially when it comes to our sexuality. Thus, the concept "Disabilities and Sexuality" was born. I entered the results of my work into ArtPrize, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My entry was selected to be in the top 25 of the jury-selected pieces in the category of two-dimensional artwork. In the wake of ArtPrize, DisArt, a local disability artist festival chose me as their fashion lead where I produce, style, and manage models for the fashion show where we cast disabled models and exhibit aesthetic and functional clothing for people with disabilities. DisArt has given me the ability to travel the world and meet the most amazing disabled artists and activists, such as Riva Lehrer and Tom Olin. But most of all, it's given me a platform to empower other people with disabilities to feel sexy and confident in their bodies. I have found that I have a knack for influencing, nurturing, and pushing people out of their comfort zone so that they can self- advocate and take command of their lives. I was recently accepted to Yale University where I will be receiving my MFA in photography. Furthering my education is not only going to strengthen my artwork but give me an opportunity to teach at a collegiate level where I can help shape the future of young artists. We live in a remarkable time where we have amazing dialogue about women's rights, people of color, LGBT issues, but somehow disability rights continue to be swept under the rug and ignored. I am passionate about continuing to create provocative and thought-provoking images that make the world rethink what they know about disabilities.

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