PHOTOGRAPHY GETS HIGH ASA RATING
Drug addiction—an alternative
An attempt to “open more doors for more people into the world of photography” and to make the public more aware of what is happening in the drug rehabilitation clinics throughout New York City were the primary reasons for a city-wide photography contest sponsored by the Addiction Services Agency (ASA). Four of the winning photographs are shown here.
“Many people in the New York community are not aware that drug programs do more than just work on the attitudes and behavior of the individuals in the program,” Wallie Price, deputy director of the city’s Community Affairs Department, explains. “Certainly that’s foremost, but there’s more to a human being than just what happens clinically. There are outside interests that can include anything from art and music to, of course, photography and theatrical work.”
She continues, “There’s the human being as a whole, and we see photography as a possible means toward mental health, not just something where someone goes out and shoots a picture and that’s it. . . The therapeutic communities, the prevention programs, and the other programs involved see people as more than just a clinical being. And they, of course, want to continue nurturing whatever interests [the individuals] have. Photography in this case is a means to this end.”
The city’s Community Affairs Department hopes to make this photography contest an annual event for delegate agencies (drug rehabilitation centers that receive city, state, or federal funding), school programs, and youth centers that deal with drug prevention, education, or therapy. Pictures were judged by editors of POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY magazine and Cornell Capa, director of the International Center of Photography. How the photographer reached out into the community and how he saw life and life experiences as well as artistic merit were judged.
Tom Lorraine, a resident of V.E.R.I.T.A.S. Therapeutic Community Inc., was the grand prize winner with a picture he took of a drug pusher’s hand while photographing in Manhattan on Fulton Street. “What struck me was the way the light was coming across; the texture in her hands almost paralleled that of the wood,” he explains.
Lorraine, age 26, first became interested in photography while in Vietnam. The past five years for him have been totally centered around V.E.R.I.T.A.S. and the help he received from this program, which gave him the incentive to explore further his own artistic abilities.
“I was totally dependent on what the other person would think of it,” he says. “I was caught up in ‘Well, is it like this or like that? Are the people going to accept it?’ Now I’m really beginning to look forward to going out there and doing it for me.”
Ray Distier, age 18, of the Bushwick Youth Center (an educationally oriented group), won first prize for his photograph of a girl through bars; Danny Aponte, age 15, of the Hudson Guild Field Program (a drug-prevention program for both youth and family counseling), won second prize for his photograph of a woman on a bench taken while on a field trip to New York’s Central Park. All three winners will receive a Konica camera and courses at the International Center of Photography, where the awards program will be held May 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
First honorable mention winners include Wally Lopez, age 26, of the Daytop Out-
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reach Center in Staten Island (a drug-free treatment program), who took his photograph of the municipal building at Bowling Green. “It just struck me,” Lopez explains, “with the old building and its carved statues, then a brand-new building with all glass next to it.”
Other winners are: Barry Salwel, Midwood Adolescent Project; Martin Cora and Luis Del Castilló, Hudson Guild; Sam Williams, ARTC—Clinic 1; and Nick Cerulli, Genesis I. All will receive the book, Photographs and Anti-Photographs by Elliott Erwitt.
ASA’s greatest concern with photography is whether this program will be able to continue next year. Wallie Price said many delegate agencies who wanted to participate couldn’t get together needed photographic supplies. The few who did worked primarily with donations of equipment from people who had purchased new cameras, lenses, and enlargers and no longer needed the old ones. Richard Manigault, director of Community Affairs, and Price are open to suggestions. For further information, write to the Addiction Services Agency, 65-71 Worth St., New York, N.Y. 10013; phone, (212)433-3786. O