New York, 2008

November 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photograph by Brendon Stuart

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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

Blow Up Angkor 2011

November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

What We Saw photographers Alessandro VecchiAlex FranckAnnalise ReinhardtBrendon StuartDaniel KuklaGianni CiprianoJulie Hau, and Minny Lee are participating in the street exhibitions Blow Up! Angkor 2011 during  Angkor Photo Festival, organized by Blindboys.

This year’s Angkor Photo Festival is held in Siem Reap from November 19th through November 26th.

Blindboys posted some of submitted images on their blog. Below are screen captures from their blog.

About Blow Up! Angkor from the Angkor Photo festival website:

Back again by popular demand, the BlindBoys will be staging BLOWUP Angkor for the second year. Bringing photography into the streets and to the people, BLOWUP Angkor is a series of open and free exhibitions displayed on public walls and at various public spaces in Siem Reap.

Featuring the work of photographers from around the world, BLOWUP Angkor will also be showing work from the children of Anjali House. New work will be put up every day at different places, so just follow the map that will be distributed during the festival!

Blindboys (blindboys.org) is an online, community-driven photo commune, using free and open platforms to bring photographers and viewers together. They believe photography is to be shared. All prints from BLOWUP Angkor will be free for the taking after the event, so that people can bring home their favourite photographs.

Guatemala, 2009

November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photo by Jesse Newman

 

Guatemala, 2009


Daniel Kukla & Minny Lee in Art From the Heart 2011

November 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

What We Saw photographers Daniel Kukla and Minny Lee‘s photographs are included in the Vanderbilt Republic’s Art From the Heart 2011. You can preview selected photographs and purchase admission tickets or tags at AFTH website.

Art From the Heart 2011 

Saturday, November 12, 2011, 7-10pm

25CPW (25 Central Park West at 62nd Street, NYC)

Below you can see screen captures of images by Daniel Kukla (top) and Minny Lee (bottom).

From AFTH website

“Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful, it is the search after the secret of life. The secret of life is in art.”
—OSCAR WILDEArt From the Heart 2011 happens Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 25CPW(25 Central Park West) from 7-10p, and is curated by Jo-Anneke Van Der Molen.AFTH is a pop-up created to connect modern audiences to the finest art of our time. The magic is interaction: guests who purchase a tag can claim any one photograph on display at the exhibition opening party — first come, first served.AFTH does not charge art submission fees; every artist who submits work for consideration is invited to the opening gala; submissions not tagged are returned; artists whose works are tagged are paid 55% of net profits, distributed equally.

Tags are available in limited numbers, and tag-holding guests are advised to arrive well in advance of the opening of doors.

Contemporary photography explores frontiers in content and technique to serve new communications and evolve attraction through aesthetics. Aesthetics create a channel to portray ideas and emotional content. AFTH presents each artwork equally, enabling tag holders to connect with the intrinsic value of the art shown.The experience highlights the complicity of the beholder’s eye in our communal
search for truth in beauty.JO-ANNEKE VAN DER MOLEN
Curator, Art From the Heart 2011

The 99%

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photographs and text by Brendon Stuart

Right now it’s difficult not seeing all that is going on around the world in regards to the growing movement that has come to be known as “Occupy Wall st”. Spawned from the growing anger of people aware of the misuse of governmental power by big banks and multinational corporations, it’s in the news, on blogs, Facebook, and ultimately it’s in the streets of more and more cities and communities across the globe, continually breathing an electrified life into itself. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a bit of the month of October in Zuccotti Park, symbolically renamed “Liberty Square” by the OWS movement. This is the birthplace of a growing amount of people voicing their disdain with the current inequalities of todays economic system at the hands of corporate greed. Much has happened in the month of October alone. A time where in many ways the growing voice of the 99% still seems in its infancy. These are some photographs of what I have seen while there.

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Beirut, 2005

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photograph by Alex Franck