March 22, 2012

Foto Freo Highlight - Old Sad and Mad Exhibition

Kevin Cooper's series of portraits shot at Siddhi Shaligram Briddhashram - Home for the Elderly at Pashupatinath, in Kathmandu Nepal, is on show at the Buffalo Club, High Street, Fremantle. The black and white photographs depict the elderly residents of this ramshackle facility that is housed in a structure built in the mid-19th Century. The Home is rundown and the amenities extremely poor, a single tap for washing, and too many rickety flights of stairs for old bones. A number of residents, who have nowhere else to go, suffer from dementia. 

Cooper's photographs may echo with poignancy, and to deny the atrocious state of the facility and the conditions in which these people live would be to ignore reality, but these photos also capture the human spirit with dignity. Cooper said to me he wasn't sure of the ethics of photographing people who don't really know what's going on, but in my opinion one of the roles of a photojournalist is to bring to a greater audience a view of life that may alter perceptions, evoke compassion and force action for a better world.

This is an excellent collection of compassionate and honest photographs that is a must see at this year's Foto Freo. To find out more about Cooper's photography check out his website: Kevin Cooper