Noted Speaker: Tom Olin
Tom Olin is a social documentarian and photojournalist. His photo archives provide a pictorial history of the disability rights movement in America. For 25 years, Olin has captured the movement on film, in images both in color and black & white. He began capturing the disability rights movement in Los Angeles in early 1980’s. He worked in Denver documenting the Atlantis independent living movement, with a strong focus on deinstitutionalization, and has photographed the national activist group ADAPT since 1985. His powerful collection documents the significant people, places and events of the long struggle for disability rights and integration. His photos were selected to be part of the Smithsonian Institute’s ADA exhibit. Olin's photographs provide a pictorial history of the struggle for civil rights for people with disabilities, in images of power, strength, determination, and passion. In addition to heightening awareness and raising the consciousness of mainstream public, much of Olin's motivation is toward helping young people today understand and embrace the struggles that people with disabilities have faced in their quest for full integration and civil rights.
The Tom Olin Collection is arguably the most extensive collection of disability rights photographs available today, the Olin collection spans over twenty-five years. In addition to events, the collection includes dozens of portraits of disability rights leaders as well as powerful photos of local disability rights activists putting their lives on the line for full civil rights and societal integration.
The late disability rights pioneer Justin Dart had the highest praise for Olin and his work. Dart said "Tom Olin is a great, dedicated patriot and photographer of our movement. His contributions will live long after the pyramids of the pharaohs have crumbled to dust."