Photography that makes a difference.™
World Health Documentary Project
Fourteen million people die each year from treatable diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhea, while another two billion are infected. There is a plethora of other diseases of poverty that kill and disable millions more. More than one billion people lack access to clean water, and 2.6-billion lack access to sanitation. Yet the amount spent on world health is less than two percent of the global military budget. World health is a human right and the most pressing development issue facing us today.
By living among and forming intimate friendships with the diseased and disenfranchised people, this project aims to humanize the crisis by putting faces and personalities on the overwhelming statistics.
Update: Bringing in the Light
The next phase of Robert's project focuses bringing awareness to the public, especially young people, about what mental illness means and what it means to be mentally ill. The project will personalize a disease that has historically been demonized. A disease that is as pervasive as it is hidden and deepened by shame, guilt, fear, bad beliefs, and superstition. Stigmas cripple possibilities for healing. Stigmas are learned prejudices, and they can be unlearned and not learned at all.
Mental illness needs to become as "normal" as breast cancer. The afflicted need to tell their stories, and they need to be heard. There is healing in telling the stories. There is no shortage of stories. Everyone has them. “My brother committed suicide in 2001”. The United States has the highest rates of mental disorders in the world.
Bringing in the Light will help people understand the natures and implications of mental illness. The images and stories will speak for themselves, to personal triumphs and trials. Broken minds are hard to heal. They need help, courage, love and compassion to recover. But recovery is always possible.
Robert Semeniuk is a documentary photographer and writer dedicated to human and environmental rights. Much of his 30 year career has focused on war affected children, the global landmine crisis, aboriginal cultural integrity, and globalization. His work appears in major international publications, and he regularly exhibits his work in galleries.
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