James Nachtwey – Focusing His Lens on TB

January 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

I was first introduced to the photographs of James Nachtwey in the spring of 2007 when 401 Projects, the non-commercial photography gallery in Manhattan’s West Village, mounted an exhibition of his worked titled “The Sacrifice.”  While covering the war in Iraq Mr. Nachtwey was injured in a grenade blast in Baghdad.  Having intimate knowledge of the vast medical resources and the personnel stationed in Iraq saving the lives of soldiers on a daily basis, he returned in 2006 to document their efforts.  The black-and-white photographs of life-and-death moments in military operating theaters were displayed alongside those of surviving soldiers recuperating and rehabilitating in U.S. hospitals.  The images were haunting and unsettling, and they provided much-needed documentation of the very real ramifications of war.

Now, with “Struggle to Live – The Fight Against TB,” Mr. Nachtwey has turned his attention and his lens to “the resurgence of tuberculosis and its varying strains MDR and XDR in seven countries around the world.  These countries include Cambodia, Lesotho, South Africa, Siberia, India, Swaziland, and Thailand. He has captured the lives of both patients and health care workers in the struggle against this ancient disease, which still remains very much a part of the present.”  As Mr. Nachtwey says on the 401 Projects site:

Despite the fact that tuberculosis afflicts a huge number of people it’s not on the radar screen in terms of public awareness. Normal tuberculosis, if treated diligently, is very inexpensive and doesn¹t take very long to cure. But if normal TB is not treated, it mutates and becomes 100 times more expensive, requires a two-year cure and a long stay in the hospital, which many of those infected cannot afford. The thought of XDR getting out of control is truly frightening.

The exhibition opened on January 20, 2010 and runs through March 25, 2010.  The 401 Projects gallery is located at 401 West Street (just south of Morton).

Image from the current exhibition at 401 Projects in Manhattan


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