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Corcoran Opens Photo Exhibit on Global Effects of AIDS Relief
source: The Corcoran

Vietnam, 2007 © Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos

Mali, 2007 © Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos

Russia, 2007 ©Alex Majoli/Magnum Photos

In 2007, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria initiated a joint project with Magnum Photos to graphically document the positive impact that free antiretroviral drug treatment is having on the lives of millions of AIDS patients around the world. The AIDS pandemic is the greatest public health challenge the world has ever faced.

It has had a particularly devastating impact in many parts of the world where access to even basic health care is limited. Internationally, the story of AIDS' toll on communities is better known than the efforts financed by organizations like the Global Fund. Through carefully-monitored grants, the Global Fund supports treatment for millions of AIDS patients, individuals who would face certain death if antiretroviral drugs were not made available for free. The exhibition, Access to Life, which opened this June at the Corcoran in Washington, D.C., is an artistic and educational response to the lifesaving success of this effort.

To document its efforts, the Global Fund turned to photographic cooperative Magnum Photos in order to utilize the talents of the some of the best photographers in the world. After opening at the Corcoran in June 2008, the exhibition will travel to Mexico City, Paris, London, Berlin, and Rome throughout 2008 and 2009. A book will be launched to coincide with the European launch of the project.

An international team of eight noted photographers traveled to nine countries to document the transformative effects of treatment on more than thirty individuals and their families.

The photographic team included Americans Jim Goldberg, Eli Reed and Steve McCurry; Canadian Larry Towell,; Norwegian Jonas Bendiksen; Italians Paolo Pellegrin and Alex Majoli; and Frenchman Gilles Peress.

In India, Haiti, Mali, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland and Vietnam, the photographers created visual chronicles that encompassed their subjects’ lives both before and after drug treatments. The resulting exhibition, curated by William Horrigan, director of media arts at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, is a powerful document of the strong spirit of each patient, of the life-changing impact of the drugs and of the crucial benefit of international funding.

Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative of great distinction owned by its photographer-members. Acclaimed for their powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its people, events, issues, and personalities with empathy for their subjects.

Founded at the Museum of Modern Art upon the close of World War II (1947) by legendary photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David 'Chim' Seymour, Magnum Photos celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2007.

Today, the agency encompasses more than 70 members of extraordinary talent and diversity and reflects a long-standing tradition of individual vision.

Through its four editorial offices in New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo; a digital library of 450,000 images; and a network of 15 sub-agents, Magnum Photos provides photographs to the press, publishers, advertising, galleries, and museums across the world. Its Cultural Department produces more than 200 exhibitions per year worldwide. By capturing defining moments of the 20th century with iconic images that have shaped our collective memory, Magnum Photos continues to set a standard for photographic integrity and authorship.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is supporting lifesaving treatment with ARVs for more than 1.4 million people worldwide. The Global Fund is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector, and affected communities was founded just over six years ago and represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.

Apart from a high standard of technical quality, the Global Fund attaches no conditions to any of its grants. It is not an implementing agency, instead relying on local ownership and planning to ensure that new resources are directed to programs on the frontline of this global effort to reach those most in need. Its performance-based approach to grant-making is designed to ensure that funds are used efficiently and create real change for people and communities. All programs are monitored by independent organizations contracted by the Global Fund to ensure that its funding has an impact in the fight against these three pandemics.

To know more about the work of the Global Fund, please visit

To know more about Magnum Photos, please visit