Minny Lee interviewed at Tracking Art

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

What We Saw photographer Minny Lee was interviewed by Paola Núñez Solorio at Tracking Art, a blog featuring works and conversations with artists. Minny discussed her long term series Encounters for the interview.


Andrea Star Reese at Angkor Photo Festival

November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

What We Saw photographer Andrea Star Reese‘s work Chasing Stigma in Indonesia will be projected during this year’s Angkor Photo Festival‘s evening Slideshows curated by Angkor Photo Festival’s Program Coordinator Françoise Callier. Angkor Photo Festival is held in Siem Reap in Cambodia from November 19th to November 26th this year. You can view more images at NYT Lens Blog where the story was published on June 14, 2011.

A patient at a private treatment center. ©Andrea Star Reese

This young man was singing quietly to himself. ©Andrea Star Reese

Project Statement

Pasung means restraints or restrained. One effective restraint is stigma.

With the Indonesian Governments Program Pasung Free 2014, Indonesia has placed itself on the line to make a difference in the way people with mental disorders are treated. Economics and access and lack of common information are formidable obstacles but ultimately I am told that Stigma may be the largest challenge to overcome. Stigma is in itself a form of Pasung. It is why so few are willing to seek help from psychiatrists and may be why community outreach programs have been low priority, rare and underfunded. It is why patients become stockpiled in hospitals and shelters; their overwhelmed families afraid to take them back. Most importantly it is why men and woman don’t even know they can get better.

In Indonesia, it is common to blame behavioral changes on spiritual weakness, or spells, or possession by spirits. For Indonesians it is shameful be diagnosed as mentally ill, much better to be considered under the influence of powerful mystical forces. The popular solution is to avoid hospitals and look for help from shamans familiar with mysticism, or spiritual teachers who believe that only God can cure. People are hidden, shut away or restrained because pasung is what families/caregivers know to do to protect the afflicted and protect the community or family from a confused, perhaps violent individual. It is not done to hurt. The widespread belief is that restraints can calm.

While working on this photo essay I have met men and women in the worst and the best of conditions in hospitals, clinics, outreach programs, government and private shelters and in individual homes. What I keep finding are people trying to help the mentally ill. Indonesia has many psychiatrists and activists putting forth ideas and experimenting with programs. The best solutions are available to be implemented. This is not only true in Indonesia, but also throughout the world. No one has the perfect solution, but many are fighting to find one.

Mental Illness is a disease that can be treated successfully allowing many with Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, or Depression to recover and live full and productive lives.

Several of the people I photographed have not been seen by a Psychiatrist or diagnosed with mental illness, stress, or a physical condition that might explain any symptoms or behaviors. Those individuals have been included in this story to illustrate the confusion that can arise when people are unable or unwilling to seek medical and psychiatric help or have no access to that help. It is possible that with a proper diagnosis and medical evaluation, a cause other then mental illness would be attributed to their condition. 

Andrea Star Reese

Behind the Skin

October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photographs and text by Meaghan Major

Brice, a young tattoo man is drawing with a red pen all the scales of a big Japanese dragon. The first steps of a tattoo is the outline. It gives the general aspect of the final design.

At the end of each session, the tattoo needs to be greased to make sure the skin is moisturized enough.

Human beings are not equal in term of pain and each zone of the body has its sensitivity. Filling the tattoo takes much more time and is often more painful than the outline.

Often we see the final tattoo and do not realize how long it takes to realize such a piece.

It is the 4th session and after about 15 hours of work, the dragon is beginning to take form. The tattoo man has to create a separation between each element of the drawing by playing with the shade so it recreates a 3 dimension aspect and gives more volume to the whole piece.

It is important to protect and moisturize the tattoo as much as possible for the first 3, 4 weeks. Indeed the pigmentation of the body can reject the ink injected in the skin.

Brice is 26 years old and has always wanted to become a professional tattoo man. Now he is associated with some friends in one of the best tattoo shop in Grenoble (French Alps).

Some part of the skin react in contact with the needle and creates that kind of relief. Most of the time it disappears after couple of hours.

The smoke that surrounds the Japanese dragon brings an other dimension to the whole tattoo. It gives the 3 dimension effect.

Cleaned but still red, the tattoo is now finished. After few weeks Aurélie will have to make her tattoo checked. Sometimes the skin rejects the ink so Brice will have to go over it.

Occupy Wall Street Camp 1

October 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sleeping Protester

Coe, age 22

Gabba, age 21


photographs by Becky Holladay

Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP)

October 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photographs and text by Minny Lee

Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) is a premium photography museum in Paris, France that houses extensive collections of photography related prints, books and films. The current building was built in 1706 as the residence for Hénault de Cantobre, the chief tax collector. Sometime thereafter, it was converted to a hotel and then, in 1914, became the property of the city of Paris. The building was restored and a new wing was added later which now extends into the street, Rue de Fourcy where the main entrance to MEP can be found. Its facade, ironwork and central staircase reflect neo-classical architecture.

Images in this series were made in November 2010. Through the Reflexions Materclass’s Institutional Work Program, I was granted three days to photograph within the MEP. I visited the collections department, restoration center, exhibition floors, and library. These places retained and evinced remnants of mastery craft and care for photographic medium. My journey began by imagining how the first owner of the place would revisit the place today and what he would find. I found details of the interior evoked mystery and intimacy. The gloomy weather of Paris in November created a melancholic mood. It also reflected my state of mind and physical condition at that time.








Congratulations to Andreas Star Reese and Minny Lee for getting HM

September 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Congratulations to our Andreas Star Reese and Minny Lee for getting Honorable Mentions at 2011 International Photography Awards.

You can view their series by clicking on images below.

Andrea Star Reese ” Restraint (Pasung) / Without Restraint” (Deeper Perspective category)

Andrea Star Reese “Marapi’s Breath” (Deeper Perspective category)

Minny Lee “Self-portrait, Mestre, Italy” (Self-portait category)

Check out the book Identities Now: Contemporary Portrait Photography

September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Featuring Alinka Echeverria and Toni Greeves, as well as Phillip Gutman and other photographers who studied at ICP. Published by Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art

Check out the fb page too.

Here’s a sneak peak, one of Alinka’s, from the Green Locker Series.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Individual Projects category at What We Saw.