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The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

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The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 4th, 2012, 8:05 am

Image
David Kirby on his deathbed, Ohio, 1990.

In November 1990 LIFE magazine published a photograph of a young man named David Kirby — his body wasted by AIDS, his gaze locked on something beyond this world — surrounded by anguished family members as he took his last breaths. The haunting image of Kirby on his death bed, taken by a journalism student named Therese Frare, quickly became the one photograph most powerfully identified with the HIV/AIDS epidemic that, by then, had seen millions of people infected (many of them unknowingly) around the globe.

More than two decades later, on World AIDS Day, LIFE.com shares the deeply moving story behind that picture, along with Frare’s own memories of those harrowing, transformative years.

“I started grad school at Ohio University in Athens in January 1990,” Frare told LIFE.com. “Right away, I began volunteering at the Pater Noster House, an AIDS hospice in Columbus. In March I started taking photos there and got to know the staff — and one volunteer, in particular, named Peta — who were caring for David and the other patients.”

David Kirby was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. A gay activist in the 1980s, he learned in the late Eighties — while he was living in California and estranged from his family — that he had contracted HIV. He got in touch with his parents and asked if he could come home; he wanted, he said, to die with his family around him. The Kirbys welcomed their son back.

Read more: http://life.time.com/history/behind-the ... z2E6FUG1rc
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby 5VP » Dec 9th, 2012, 1:59 pm

Lest we forget...
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby fluffy » Dec 9th, 2012, 2:20 pm

There was a discussion on CBC Radio last week regarding the subway photo published by the New York Post. Mention was made of famous photos that etch themselves into our memories, the young Vietnamese girl who had just torn her burning clothes off following the napalm attack, the Hindenburg, the burning monk, the Afghan girl with the piercing eyes, and the ability of these photos to evoke the memories and emotions associated with the times they portray. I admit this is the first time I've seen the photo above, but it does the same job of carrying an emotional message far beyond what words alone could convey.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 10:12 am

Compassion, tolerance and acceptance for some. To see a family reunite is promising.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 12:18 pm

Doesn't help the ones that received tainted blood transfusions - but medical breakthroughs will.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 12:21 pm

Barb Cordle, the volunteer director at Pater Noster when David Kirby was there, once said that Frare’s photo of David “has done more to soften people’s hearts on the AIDS issue than any other I have ever seen. You can’t look at that picture and hate a person with AIDS. You just can’t.”

Read more: http://life.time.com/history/behind-the ... z2EgMpGJ1q
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby grammafreddy » Dec 10th, 2012, 12:24 pm

5VP wrote:The AIDS thing definitely brought an end to any notions of "free love" and gave us a whole new bogeyman to fear...

Have we learned anything from this??


Yeah ... don't trust the WHO and their African immunization program. "Free love" had nothing to do with it, IMO.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 12:40 pm

One person has been diagnosed cure of aids - provides hope for others. The photo did a great service to help educate as well.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 12:51 pm

The photograph appears to be focussed on family and people didn't need to fear close proximity. Pictures like that help to dispel the more negative emotions. Love and family are important.

Bill and Kay Kirby were, in effect, the house parents for the home where Peta spent his last months.

“My husband and I were hurt by the way David was treated in the small country hospital near our home where he spent time after coming back to Ohio,” Kay Kirby said. “Doctors and nurses wore gloves and gowns whenever they were around him, and even the person who handed out menus refused to let David hold one. She would read out the meals to him from the doorway. We told ourselves that we would help other people with AIDS avoid all that, and we tried to make sure that Peta never went through it.”

Read more: http://life.time.com/history/behind-the ... z2EgZ6aNCd
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby fluffy » Dec 10th, 2012, 3:39 pm

There was the paranoia of the day that thought the disease could be transmitted through toilet seats and doorknobs, I suspect some of that has survived to this day even though medical advancements have reduced AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic ailment.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 5:32 pm

Back to the photo, it's amazing what one picture can do to change someone's outlook:


After the Benetton controversy finally subsided, Therese Frare went on to other work, other photography, freelancing from Seattle for the New York Times, major magazines and other outlets. While the world has become more familiar with HIV and AIDS in the intervening years, Frare’s photograph went a long way toward dispelling some of the fear and willful ignorance that had accompanied any mention of the disease.

Read more: http://life.time.com/history/behind-the ... z2EhdRUzSG
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby 5VP » Dec 10th, 2012, 5:51 pm

Yup...

Frare's photo did dispel the technical medical myths that were scaring the crap outa everyone back then because of this previously unheard of AIDS, and by doing an excellent job putting whatever kind of veneer would stick towards hiding/glossing over the nastier, harsh reality of how AIDS became part of the social vernacular in the first place.

I get that...

However;

Stalin, the Nazis, Pol Pot, et al. would be embarassed to learn that they were beaten out to the "Genocidists of the Millennia Award", by a bunch of queers in the last few decades of the 20th century.

There's not enough "feel-good, aw' shucks, Norman Rockwell sentimentality" or lipstick available on the planet to pretty up the death and destruction to the global social fabric caused by this act of sexual terrorism.

Not in my humble opinion.

But then again...

Germany and Japan are good for business now.

http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm
Last edited by 5VP on Dec 10th, 2012, 6:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby steven lloyd » Dec 10th, 2012, 5:55 pm

-fluffy- wrote:There was the paranoia of the day that thought the disease could be transmitted through toilet seats and doorknobs, ... .

Some were as ignorant and hateful as to believe it was God’s wrath on homosexuals.
Thank God we (most of us anyway) have evolved beyond that. Lest we forget ...
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby Fancy » Dec 10th, 2012, 6:34 pm

Over the past 20 years, by some estimates, as many as one billion people have seen the now-iconic Frare photograph that appeared in LIFE, as it was reproduced in hundreds of newspaper, magazine and TV stories — all over the world — focusing on the photo itself and (increasingly) on the controversies that surrounded it.

Read more: http://life.time.com/history/behind-the ... z2EhrU9K9D

Amazing how one poignant photograph can start a dialogue that leads to understanding.
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Re: The Photo That Changed the Face of AIDS

Postby fvkasm2x » Dec 10th, 2012, 7:55 pm

I've never seen that picture, nor have I heard of the person.

For me, it was Magic Johnson that changed the way we look at AIDS. He was high profile, rich, talented, etc... and he came out publicly facing tons of ridicule and fear from his peers.
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