Invisible Solitudes - Life at the Edge of Mental Health
An International Photography Exhibition
When: October 7 - 27, 2012
Where: Hotel Michelangelo, via Scarlatti 33, Milan, Italy (Oct 8-11) / Università degli Studi
di Milano Bicocca, viale Sarca 202, Milan, Italy (Oct. 12-27)
What: On the occasion of the 46th National Conference of the Italian Psychiatry Association (member society of the World Psychiatry Association) and in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day 2012, the photography exhibition "Invisible Solitudes - Life at the Edge of Mental Health" aims at putting a face onto the faceted nature of mental illness
in different parts of the world.
The exhibition is a selection of thirty photographs by six professional photographers, published on SocialDocumentary.net (SDN,) a website for photographers, NGOs, editors, journalists, lovers of photography and anyone else who believes that photography plays an important role in educating people about our world. The selected stories present an intimate look at psychological suffering and how it expresses itself according to different socio-cultural contexts. At the same time, they aim to denounce the causes of such suffering, as well as the ignorance and the silence surrounding it.
The documentary photographs touch upon a range of themes, from the invisible consequences of war in Afghanistan as portrayed by Diego Ibarra Sanchez, to the terrible legacy of Agent Orange, shot by Catherine Karnow in Vietnam. Jenn Ackerman toured penitentiaries in the United States, while Steve Davis captured the last days of a Seattlebased
institution for the developmentally disabled. Magdalena Sole’s journey to Japan explores its hidden secret, homelessness in Kamagasaki, while Enrico Fabian’s work on prescription drug abuse in India shows the other side of the “pharmacy of the Third World.”
In these images, the lens portrays some of the world's most dominant contemporary social issues, focusing on their psychological dimension. Choosing to observe, instead of turning our eyes away, allows us to immerse ourselves in fragments of lives marked by an illness that only appears secondary to the tragedy in which it develops, such as war, poverty, and other societal deprivations. Only by looking at these pictures can we achieve awareness of these illnesses, and overcome the stigma surrounding them.
Reception and Panel Discussion
“Shooting Against Stigma: Social Documentary Photography and Mental Illness”
When/where: Sunday, October 7, 2012, h. 7.30pm, at Auditorium Giorgio Gaber, Palazzo Pirelli, headquarters of Regione Lombardia, Piazza Duca d'Aosta 3, Milano, Italy.
Panelists: Glenn Ruga, Founder and Director of SDN; Catherine Karnow, Photographer and Author of “Agent Orange: A Terrible Legacy;” Denis Curti, Director of Contrasto Milano and Spazio Forma – International Center of Photography in Milan
*The event is restricted to those invited to attend the opening ceremony of the 46th National Conference of the Italian Psychiatry Association.
Jenn Ackerman, Trapped, U.S. – The withdrawal of mental health funding in the United States has turned prisons and jails across the country into default mental health facilities, inadequately equipped to serve both functions and provide a good level of care and security.
Steve Davis, The Rainier School, Seattle, U.S. – Davis documents the final days of an institution for the developmentally disabled, born as a school and turned into a rest home. This type of facility is nowadays disappearing, due to the controversial way society has come to regard its role.
Enrico Fabian, Phas Gaya – Being Stuck, India – Fabian tells the story of a victim of the cheap and easy access to pharmaceutical drugs in the “pharmacy of the Third World,”
which has led to an increase in prescription drug addiction and abuse, especially among the lower strata of the population.
Diego Ibarra Sanchez, Invisible War Consequences, Afghanistan – Over three decades of sociopolitical instability and conflict have affected the lives of Afghanistan’s mentally ill population, living in inhuman conditions, without adequate care, and surrounded by ignorance and prejudice, particularly in rural areas.
Catherine Karnow, Agent Orange: A Terrible Legacy, Vietnam – Karnow explores how devastating diseases as sociated with Agent Orange defoliant, sprayed by the U.S. military
during the Vietnam war, still affect people’s lives in the country, nearly four decades later.
Magdalena Sole, Japan’s Hidden Secret: Kamagasaki, Japan – A neighborhood afflicted by homelessness, poverty and declining health, Kamagasaki is home to an aging population of day laborers who came during the country’s economic boom in the 1960s. It stands as a symbol of the end of that era, while at the same time remaining quintessentially Japanese.