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Author Topic: Claudio Edinger  (Read 9756 times)
Chris Sanderson
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« on: August 12, 2009, 08:47:16 AM »
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Today, the New York Times has a searing collection of photographs taken by Claudio Edinger in a  Sao Paulo psychiatric hospital
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2009, 10:34:49 AM »
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Not searing, IMO, more like the photographer and the NY Times know nothing of respect or shame.

It is a true reflection of our era that people find favor in exploiting people with mental issues. These are people at their worst. They dissere privacy.
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michael
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2009, 10:40:15 AM »
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This is anything but exploitation. It is classic photojournalism at its best. We are shown a world which we would otherwise not be aware of, and our humanity is expended as a consequence.

Michael
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Justan
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 10:47:59 AM »
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^^I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. In the US this could not happen expressly due to privacy issues.
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RSL
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2009, 01:31:19 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
Not searing, IMO, more like the photographer and the NY Times know nothing of respect or shame.

It is a true reflection of our era that people find favor in exploiting people with mental issues. These are people at their worst. They dissere privacy.

Chris, I heartily agree with Justan. Gene Smith did a thing like this in a Haiti asylum in 1959. He made a photograph of an insane woman that was very, very striking but the feeling of his invasion of the sanctity of that poor woman's soul has never left me.

Justan's right. The NYT has no shame. It's been a long time since the rag actually did honest journalism.
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michael
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2009, 02:35:51 PM »
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Then I guess most of Salgado's work is similarly tainted.  

Michael
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2009, 03:10:36 PM »
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Michael, I wasn't aware that Sebastaio Salgado shot any insane asylum pictures. I've seen a lot of his pictures of the misery of refugees, but that's not the same kind of thing. Can you point me to one of his pictures of the insane?
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Joe Behar
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2009, 03:21:58 PM »
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I wonder what reactions would be if Mr. Edinger had made public that he would take some or all of the proceeds from his book(s) and given them to organizations to raise awareness of mental health issues.

To me, the trouble is that he seems to be profiting from this work at the expense of the patients of the "hospital"

I understand the concept of photojournalism and the importance of publicizing events and situations that make us cringe in hopes of helping the people involved, but putting your $$$ where your mouth (or lens) is goes a lot further.

The photographs are powerful, but they can be so much more than that with a little compassion on the part of the photographer and the people publishing them.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2009, 03:33:39 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
It is a true reflection of our era that people find favor in exploiting people with mental issues. These are people at their worst. They dissere privacy.
Privacy to moulder away unseen and with little care?
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Christopher Sanderson
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2009, 03:38:35 PM »
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Quote from: ChrisSand
Privacy to moulder away unseen and with little care?
Exactly ... the shameless are the family, friends and compatriots who stick people in such places, not the artist or journalist who chronicles the fact.

Also ... one can fairly take issue with the politics of the editorial board of the NYT, but to say it isn't one of the world's leading journalistic efforts isn't fair or true in my opinion.
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michael
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2009, 04:01:19 PM »
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I was unaware that institutionalized and neglected mental patients were in a different moral category than exploited miners or abandoned refugees.

Documenting the misfortunes of others is the role of a journalist, and when its done with sensitivity and insight, as is the work here,  we owe that journalist our thanks for exposing injustice and hardship, not our censure for being the messenger of an unpleasant truth.

Michael
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2009, 04:07:36 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Exactly ... the shameless are the family, friends and compatriots who stick people in such places, not the artist or journalist who chronicles the fact.

Also ... one can fairly take issue with the politics of the editorial board of the NYT, but to say it isn't one of the world's leading journalistic efforts isn't fair or true in my opinion.

Jeremy, It's unusual for you and me to disagree, but on this one we clearly do. What I look at is the idea of "expectation of privacy," which, as Justan pointed out, would be the critical consideration here in the U.S. It seems to me that someone with advanced mental illness has a God-given right not to have the misery of his condition exposed to the world.

As far as the NYT is concerned, over the past few years they've been involved in enough clear-cut cases of plagiarism and outright fiction presented as news that it's awfully hard for me to see it as "one of the world's leading journalistic efforts." I'd agree that it once merited that title, but that was a long time ago.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 08:29:14 PM by RSL » Logged

Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2009, 10:01:43 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
Not searing, IMO, more like the photographer and the NY Times know nothing of respect or shame.

It is a true reflection of our era that people find favor in exploiting people with mental issues. These are people at their worst. They dissere privacy.

Gotta disagree with you there. "Privacy" here is tantamount to closing the gate and padlocking it, preventing anyone from knowing what happens to these unfortunates.

The appalling neglect of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, especially in the developing world, is one of the ugliest aspects of human society. It really is a classic case of "out of sight, out of mind"; unless we are compelled to see it, nothing changes. Eugene Richards has a book out on the subject (A Procession of Them) which goes into greater depth. It's one of the greatest human rights/morality issues of our age.

In the 1940s-1970s, truly horrific abuses were inflicted upon mentally disabled residents of an institution in New York State called Willowbrook. All this happened in silence over decades, until muck-raking journalism finally exposed the abuses in the 1970s. This led directly to judicial mandates and landmark legislation that shuttered Willowbrook and created a system of humane care for the developmentally disabled in carefully supervised group home environments dispersed throughout the state. Today New York provides developmentally disabled folks the highest quality care. People do occasionally gripe about the cost; but all you have to say is "remember Willowbrook".

So, is this work "exploitation"? I don't think so.
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thewanderer
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2009, 10:53:31 PM »
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so would photo s of death camps in aushwitz (sp) and POWs in WW 11 be considered invading priviacy,, Seems to me it that without the photographs, we may have never seen some of the atrocities,,, sounds like a nimby sort of arguement.  May not be art, but its what people have been photographing for years.  No one owes any part of his profits to anyone, its what he does for a living, why bash him, you dont like the content, simply dont look,
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Justan
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2009, 07:56:42 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Chris, I heartily agree with Justan. Gene Smith did a thing like this in a Haiti asylum in 1959. He made a photograph of an insane woman that was very, very striking but the feeling of his invasion of the sanctity of that poor woman's soul has never left me.

Justan's right. The NYT has no shame. It's been a long time since the rag actually did honest journalism.

I wouldn’t go that far. The NY times has a long vast number of expertly presented and well researched topics. The growth of the web has transformed virtually every major paper, and a lot of minor ones to be accessible by all. As a result, the NY Times has become one of many sources people can turn to. It is perhaps due to this that they more frequently turn to more inflammatory subjects. But I do agree the paper has given away more than a little of it’s former glory.

The core issue on the topic of the photos revolves around the concept or definitions of “exploitation” and if these photos do or do not fit the criteria. I suggest that the interested use Mr. Google to find a working definition of exploitation and proceed from there. Understandably there will be arguments to be made on both sides of the topic.

In this case, it appears that the photographer was more interested in using these troubled people to advance his own interest than to serve any humanitarian interest….or at least any humanitarian interest that is apparent.

I will agree with Russ far enough to add that if we define humanity in part by respect given for the disturbed, this photo series is telling, both for the photographer and the NY Times.

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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2009, 08:09:06 AM »
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Quote from: Justan
In this case, it appears that the photographer was more interested in using these troubled people to advance his own interest than to serve any humanitarian interest….or at least any humanitarian interest that is apparent.

I'm not sure where you get that.  Do you know much about this issue in Brazil?  Do you know what happened after this book was published?

Perhaps you are well-informed on the topic, but somehow I'm not sure that's case ...
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2009, 08:30:15 AM »
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Jeremy, It's unusual for you and me to disagree, but on this one we clearly do.

Eh ... it happens ... I think we are 180 degrees on this one, both on the NYT and the photographs.

I crop, too.  
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Justan
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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2009, 08:31:28 AM »
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Quote from: ChrisSand
Privacy to moulder away unseen and with little care?

That is a valid point. While I'm sure that any of us would like to get a portfolio in the NY Times, but would any of us do something similar to accomplish that?

As a reply to your point, have you ever been to a mental hospital? I don’t intend this as a quip. My SO, a RN, worked in one for 2 years. In the US, patients right to privacy are protected both as a general respect, for their and their families safety, and also due to HIPPA laws. According to my SO, you could theoretically see many of the same scenes in mental hospitals in the US. The conditions are somewhat better, but sadly, conditions vary widely. In any event, the detail is that in the US, the general public would not be allowed to do so.

Were something like this to take place in the US, it is likely that the photographer and the newspaper could or would have a law suit made against them by each of the subjects. Being a patient mental hospital, by it’s very definition means that these people don’t have the state of mind to decide it’s okay permit this kind of thing.

I'm pretty sure the photographer and the Times was aware of this, so they probably did the deed where rights to privacy are not so restrictive. Slice it as you wish, it still amounts exploiting disabled people.

There is a long history on the advancement of the mental asylums, and treatment of those who are disturbed. Interested people can look into a wide variety of works on the topic. I read a few books while a student, and can make some recommendations if anyone is interested The reading will show that the treatment of disturbed people has come a long way. Perhaps not as much in Brazil as other places, but the goal of any modern hospital or asylum is to provide safety and aid.

Were these photographs made on random streets, that would be more tolerable both from a right to privacy and a photojournalism perspective, than what amounts to going behind closed doors and taking advantage of disturbed people.
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Justan
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2009, 08:39:18 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Exactly ... the shameless are the family, friends and compatriots who stick people in such places, not the artist or journalist who chronicles the fact.

None above are exempt in shamelessness. All patients in mental hospitals are there as they have no where else to go. The real failure here is that the government permits these conditions.

I don’t know if the reason is due to poverty or convenience. We’d have to know something about the local economy and how much $$ there is for caring for mentally disturbed, or anyone else for that matter. At least these people are not living on the street. A hundred years ago most of them would have

Also, i wouldn’t call this art, but realize that many do.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2009, 09:03:18 AM »
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Justan ...

Let me make sure I understand your point.

The photographer watched his grandmother descend into dementia and was moved to document the plight of less fortunate mentally ill citizens in his country.  He found conditions that horrified him.  He pursued the issue doggedly, eventually getting permission to move into the asylum and live with the patients.

He documents their condition, spends YEARS trying to get the images published ... and when they are, sheds light on conditions in this and other hospitals in Brazil which leads to changes, reform and the closure of some institutions.

You would have rather he stayed home and made 'art'?

I don't get it.

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Payne
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 09:04:10 AM by Jeremy Payne » Logged
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