The Way We Gawk
January 22, 2008 7:30 PM   Subscribe

People Are Curious. A 3-foot-1-inch tall man with no legs propelling himself along by his hands on a skateboard tends to warrant a fair share of attention. Kevin Michael Connolly, who was born with no legs, used his X Games winnings (he won the 2007 Silver Medal in Skiing) to travel the world and photograph people's reactions to him.
posted by amyms (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
What an awesome guy. Totally inspiring. I like his turning the table on others and viewing them. Showing them how he sees them seeing him.


Great post, thanks amyms.
posted by nickyskye at 8:06 PM on January 22, 2008

I hate to say it, because I love this story and I love all the really evocative details that he shares in his artist statement, but the pictures themselves don't really seem to convey what his stories convey. Possibly this would work better as an audio/visual display? It would have been cool to see video of the various reactions he gets, or audio clips of the questions, possibly accompanying the photographs? His basic concept is completely fascinating, and I wish the artwork itself supported it.

In terms of the pictures, the most interesting thing that jumps out at me is the angle; we don't usually see photographs taken from that vantage point.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:07 PM on January 22, 2008

Looking at his photo on the Kevin Michael Connolly link--he could take my picture any day, mmhmm.

Seriously, thanks for the post. Bookmarked some of the links.
posted by artifarce at 8:13 PM on January 22, 2008

Oh artifarce, thank you for starting us down that road. I didn't want to be the first to say it, but this guy is pretty fine. I prefer a man with a little more ass, but still.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 9:10 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Help, I can't stop talking! is my new best friend.
posted by humannaire at 9:21 PM on January 22, 2008

when i glanced at this fpp a few minutes ago, i'm pretty sure it said a 6-foot-1-inch tall man with no legs...
posted by bruce at 9:29 PM on January 22, 2008

OK, this is an odd question, but as a practical-minded man I can't help but be curious, and perhaps a MeFite will know the answer, since Wikipedia seemed to not even have an entry on this guy...

How exactly does this man use the bathroom? He seems to not have a body from roughly 2" below the navel downwards. Now, I understand in these photos there could be some sort of colonoscopy bag which is not visible but nonetheless there. Even still, it would seem that this man is missing a fair amount of the internal organs used in digestion... My mind is boggling at the mechanics of the internals of his digestive system. Any medical-minded MeFites have some clarification?
posted by LoopyG at 9:38 PM on January 22, 2008

I think this guy was in Montreal a couple of weeks ago. Unless I happened to see someone else with no legs who uses a skateboard to move around (which doesn't seem very likely). It's hard not to do a double-take when you see someone like that, it's so unusual.
posted by clevershark at 10:15 PM on January 22, 2008

How exactly does this man use the bathroom?

From this video, the answer is just like any other guy, except with the seat down. He's got everything but legs.
posted by hypersloth at 10:48 PM on January 22, 2008

Things seem to be looking up for the guy.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:26 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

What an inspiring story. Thanks.
posted by nzero at 1:00 AM on January 23, 2008

the pictures themselves don't really seem to convey what his stories convey

Gosh, I couldn't disagree more. In reading his story/artist statement I felt sympathy for him and probably had a pitying look on my face. But when I viewed the pictures, I suddenly felt like I could see how ridiculous people like me look to people like him, as we all make this same silly face of pity/disgust/whatever at him. And then I wanted very badly to never make that face again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the pictures caused me to internalize what he was saying in a way that I would not have been able to otherwise.

The way he captures the humour of his situation is absolutely divine. These photos tickled me in that deep way that makes you feel like your soul is laughing.
posted by nzero at 1:09 AM on January 23, 2008

I'd have to agree with Hildegarde in that the pictures themselves failed to make much of an impression on me, save for the vantage point of the camera, although I was a little disappointed to discover he'd shot his photos from the hip; I would have preferred it if they were taken at Connelly's eye level, thereby showing the world from his perspective (not two feet below his perspective) and also giving the sense that his subjects were looking directly into his eyes. But I understand that the guy was doing fifteen things at once and the shooting from the hip technique was probably the best (and possibly only) way to negotiate them all while taking a photo at the same time.

As for Connolly himself, add me to the very moved and impressed list. Not to mention ashamed--his determination, achievements, and single-minded desire to truly live and experience life make me feel as though I've been half-assing it through my own life, and that's irrespective of his disability. When you figure "the no legs thing" into the equation, he almost becomes a supernatural force. Like I said, I'm very impressed.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:13 AM on January 23, 2008

From Zurich, Connolly traveled to Croatia where he surreptitiously ended up in the hometown of his mother's family, Bribir.

Did he sneak in under cover of darkness, or did the author mean "serendipitously"?
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:35 AM on January 23, 2008

Sexism and misandry! Flaggity flag flag.
posted by BeerFilter at 5:55 AM on January 23, 2008

In my defense, the title IS "The Way We Gawk."
posted by artifarce at 6:54 AM on January 23, 2008

Thank you hypersloth, that video cleared things up, now my world is at peace again =)
posted by LoopyG at 10:30 AM on January 23, 2008

When was the last time you were stared at? I don't think the photos are much to look at until you see them as a group - it's pretty much the same look on every single person's face, and there are so many faces. Most striking to me are the ones of multiple people with the same look.
I appreciate his generosity in acknowledging that, yeah, of course that's going to get your attention - it's unusual to see a guy with no legs. No blaming, just saying "this is what I see when you see me". It's inspiring on a whole different level than the disabled-person-triumphs-over-adversity story.
posted by smartyboots at 1:05 PM on January 23, 2008

None of them look impressed. Which seems odd.
posted by Corduroy at 2:28 PM on January 23, 2008

« Older Hold Please   |   bits are fun Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments