© 2023 by Emma Dei.

Circle Stories

Circle Stories is a series of portraits of people with careers in the arts, academia and political activism. Each has a significant physical disability, and explores body issues in his or her own work. This project began in 1997 and was completed in 2004.


The term “Circle Stories” refers to multiple aspects of the project. The portraiture method is a circular one, involving extensive interviews with each participant, in which we talk about their lives, work, and understanding of disability. Through this collaborative process, we seek imagery that is a truthful representation of their experience.


In addition, the circle of the wheelchair is the nearly universal symbol of disability, a wheel that transforms the ordinary object of the chair into the mark of physical and social difference.


Finally, my work aims to chart the existence of a community of disabled innovators who provide support and context for the work of redefinition of disability in the 21st century. This, for me, is the most important circle of all.