Unacceptable Losses: Photography and Text by Robin Williams, WWS Class of 2004
Artist reception: January 12, 2007, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Bernstein Gallery
Exhibition dates: December 4, 2006 – January 19, 2007
Gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Unacceptable Losses is a photo-documentary examining current US drug policies and the individuals most affected by them. It is designed to share the stories of everyday Americans who have been impacted by drugs and addiction. From July 2004 through July 2005, Arthur Robinson Williams toured the country visiting treatment facilities, outreach programs, and homeless shelters to advocate for more of a public health approach (rather than a law enforcement emphasis) to address addiction and substance abuse. Unacceptable Losses specifically focuses on issues surrounding access to treatment, sentencing, syringe access, harm reduction and medical marijuana. Recurring themes include the intersection of mental illness, HIV/AIDS, the spread of disease, prostitution, sexuality, homelessness, incarceration and poverty with drug abuse.
The exhibition consists of large format color and black & white silver gelatin print portraiture. Drawing from the compassionate work of Dorothea Lange and the subject matter of Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, the work attempts to give voice to marginalized members of society while focusing on the humanity of subjects involved. Shot with mostly natural light and minimal manipulation, the body of work aims to honestly portray individuals (currently and formerly) struggling with chemical dependency (and those who work with them) with neither exoticism nor sanitization. All portraits are accompanied by text panels housing lengthy excerpts from interviews with project participants and information about addiction and incarceration in the United States. Material is available online at www.UnacceptableLosses.org.
Arthur Robinson Williams is a native of North Carolina. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. While at Princeton, he studied photography with Emmet Gowin, Lois Conner, and Mary Berridge. He completed photography projects involving HIV/AIDS and the people of Ghana, the Cuban health system, homosexuality in the Netherlands, anthroposophical farming communes, and injection drug use in New Jersey. His work can be found at www.robinsonwilliams.com. Mr. Williams, a Jack Kent Cooke graduate scholar and Humanity in Action Senior Fellow, is currently a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine working on public health initiatives and taking photographs.