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The Face Of AIDS: The Story Behind Therese Frare’s Photo | 100 Photos | TIME


It is a loving picture –accepting. It is not the tragic picture at all, even if it is showing a tragic… situation. That picture put you in front of your conscience. What am I doing for that problem? So, that’s why people get angry. On one hand you had this very intimate situation and you had a logo that was about selling. Benetton was a clothing company. It just seems, so evident what he was doing. He was creating sensational iconographic images that people would remember along with the brand Benetton. “Well, we’re not looking at the commercial side of it.” “To us, it was an opportunity to make people think about AIDS.” The Kirby family said, “Benetton’s not using us — We’re using Benetton.” We want people to know that David was with us once, and this is what the disease did–it’s devastating. I was living in Athens, Ohio. I was a grad student. I was interested in– in AIDS as a project. So I ended up going to Paternoster house. It was a hospice home for people living with AIDS. The woman who started this home felt it was better to –rather than to hide — to be open about what– what she was doing, and why. So she said, “You can take photos here.” His name was David Kirby. He went to the hospital in Stafford, Ohio– was very small town and they found out that he had AIDS and they, you know, burned the ambulance. and there was just a lot of… fear I met him, and I said, “Hey, I’m gonna be doing this project, can I take your picture?” He said something that no one has ever said to me before– He said, “Yes, you can, but not for personal gain.” He had been an activist and he wanted this to be known, somehow. The Center for Disease Control says nationwide, AIDS has struck 1641, mostly homosexuals. 644 people have died from the mystery disease. It was shocking. I mean, but it was building so slowly you kind of didn’t… realize what you were dealing with. And suddenly… it was like you were going to a funeral every weekend. [CHANTING] “Open your eyes and see!” “It’s a state of emergency!” We… had a government that wouldn’t say the word AIDS. Communities of people started to speak for themselves. One of the things that ACT UP did initially, said, “We’re not victims, actually. We’re people, with AIDS.” There are social reasons and political reasons why the disease existed. [ACTIVIST] “We die, they do nothing!” “We die and they do nothing!” [FADING] “We die and they do nothing!” The caregiver said, “David is– is dying.” Kate Kirby– she came and she said to me: “We would all like you to photograph us saying our final goodbyes to David.” He invited me into the room. They were holding him, giving him a sip of water, which I don’t think he was taking, and just being with him at that moment. I had no image in mind– and I just stood there, and I didn’t move and I just shot a couple frames. He died… … and it was over. Think, like, two days later or something I pro-processed the film. I could tell that it was… was something there. When it was published I think– I think what I what I wanted to communicate, really, was just that here is what happened to this to this one person and their family. Mom and pop, y’know? Boom. And it happened to them. This is how it feels. I did work for Benetton from 1982 until 2000. When I started to do Benetton I said, “Let’s do an experiment.” “Let’s try to see if we can use..” “communication that’s normally used for selling product.” “Let’s use communication to say something more.” “Let’s take away the brand, and let’s take away the product.” My task was to create a campaign out of meaning and issues that normally advertising, they don’t want to deal with. I was searching picture for my campaign and I found the referral photo publishing life. When I saw the picture, I said, “That’s the picture.” Because it looks like Jesus Christ but [he] is dying of aids. It’s very pictorial very pictorial– the sense of painting. It is a snapshot, but at the same time is an incredible composition. The only thing– [it] was in black and white. My problem was that. I want them really to be realistic and color is realistic, while black and white is not. When they contacted me, uhm I didn’t know what to do about that. Benetton said that they were kind of trying to bring people’s attention to this issue. The Kirby’s said, “Let’s do it.” The word “provocation” got a very strange meaning it is sound like if it is negative to be provocative. The Pietà Michelangelo– is that provocative? A mother within [arms] is dead son? Every great piece of art has to provoke you something so you have to provoke interest. That’s what you have to do. Suddenly, a picture that nobody complain about, at another time, then suddenly became a shocking picture. [ACTIVIST] “Boycott Benetton! Benetton Boycott!” [News Anchor:] “Benetton uses advertising the way bullfighters use capes:” [News Anchor:] “to draw attention and provoke a reaction.” [PETER F.] “All communication’s manipulative. Yes, we are playing on people’s emotions” “just the way hallmark cards and AT&T–” [Interviewer Interrupts:] “Okay-” [PETER F.] “– play off people’s emotions.” [Interviewer Interrupts:] “Lemme ask you this–” [PETER F.] “But at least we’re doing it a way that’s going to say something positive about a very serious issue.” I didn’t see a message of empowerment– I didn’t see any kind of message coming from that advertising that would give people a way to become active to take action in their own world. I don’t think that AIDS activists were more activist than me, that’s the point. They were not more activist than me. I had a big company investing money to make AIDS aware in the world. Huh, what did it do? Tell your client to do that, my dear friend from advertising. Tell your client to invest on problem that we should be solving. [WOMAN] “I basically think” “that instead of blaming ‘Bennettron’,” “gays– hemophiliacs or whatever–” “we should blame the United States government” “for not doing nothing for the last… well,” “fifteen years!” At the time, I don’t feel like it created dialogue. I think it was a roadblock. I think it shut things down because people just couldn’t get over the idea that there was this kind of, you know, autobiography being used as commodity. [NEWS ANCHOR] “Well, however Benetton intends the ads” “the company announced today that profits were up nearly twenty four percent last year.” Controversy mean that-that you discuss about that. It mean that interests you, that there are different point of view and there is something going on. It’s got an energy. So, from a economic point of view, I think it sells, yes. Yeah, it did sell it Benetton, for sure. [PETER F.] “The fact is if a billion people see this image around the world” “can you imagine the– the power that that has” “to create a collective consciousness in the world” “that doesn’t previous- hasn’t” “previously existed. Just consider” “an image viewed by a billion people–” “that image viewed by a billion people.” I hear that it did change people’s impressions of Aids, and I hope it did. At this point. I realize it’s become an image that has stirred up a lot of emotions and has become very significant. My feelings about that photograph have significantly changed over time. Now when I look at that photograph I can see the humanist empathy of the maker. It was about trying to capture a human moment. With an Italian, “guardare e vedere” I don’t know if you understand– “To look, and to see.” There are thing will happen that we don’t want to see. David Kirby was a great help to make understanding what AIDS was about. [FEMALE HOST] “What do you think David would say” “about all of this?” “With people, press conferences and…” “What do you think he’d say?” [MR. KIRBY] “How he’d put it? I think he’d’ve said ‘go for it.'” ‘”Betsy? In your words– he would’ve– uhh'” “‘You just go for it’. That’s just David” [BETSY]: “He’s up there goin, ‘Wow.'” “‘You go. Yay team!'”

100 thoughts on “The Face Of AIDS: The Story Behind Therese Frare’s Photo | 100 Photos | TIME

  1. The parents of David are incredible. How supportive even though their son had a dreaded disease that was prevalent in gay men and that their beloved son suffered and died from. Wow!

  2. Regardless on how little was known about the transmission of the disease, I still don't feel empathy. People chose to live a promiscuous lifestyle or as an active drug user and now they have to face the consequences. I hope now they're making better choices.

  3. In Africa Zimbabwe AIDS has not left one family out. When I think of my own family of about 100 cousin's nieces, nephews aunts and uncles 8 are HIV positive some are in full blown AIDS. This is a very powerful picture.

  4. Mom mom was a RN in the eighties,when it was still called gay cancer. She herself had a lesbian sister and more than half of her friends were gay men. She did everything she could to educate but still ended up losing more than half of her gay friends. She was one of the few that would work on the "AIDS wards" voluntarily and without asking for hazard pay. The things she's told me about that time are enraging and incredibly sad, to think of so many of these people dying without a hand to hold and my mother stepping up and against ignorance makes me the proudest daughter I can be.

  5. My grandfather was a gay man who died from AIDS. My father never accepted at the fact that he was gay and he loved him so much but he never comprehend why he was gay, he only thought gay people gets and give you AIDs. The only thing I heard about my grandfather was that he was an amazing cook, a loving man, a great fisherman and mostly the fact that he was gay man and he died from AIDs. I’m still learning overall about the AIDS virus but I know for sure people shouldn’t think that people who have AIDs are toxic.

  6. For anyone who wants to read about the pain AIDS can cause the victim and their family, read 'April Fool's Day,' by Bryce Courtenay

  7. هؤلاء الاشخاص ماتوا بسبب مرض السيدا الذي تحصلوا عليه بسبب ميولاتهم الجنسية الشاذة وهذا ما يستحقونه حقا بسبب كونهم ضد مشيئة الله فالله لا يرحمهم

  8. Looking like Jesus! You are really something! I am no christian, but comparing an AIDS patient who did catch the disease because of his own will and medical carelessness to Jesus (again I do not believe in bs like "son of god" or any man can have supernatural power etc) who was a humanitarian (it is a well documented fact at least) in tumultuous time is CLEARLY AN ACT OF LUNACY. Supporting LGBT cause is a noble one, but to do so awarding unnecessary sainthood to a man who endangered his life by having unprotected sex is outrageous. This sort of OVERDOING is one of the reasons behind the HATRED AGAINST LGBT.

  9. Friends, always use protection. We can never be 100% certain in life, disease comes in any shape or form, and sometimes it's out of our hands. When it comes to something we can do, please do it. Use protection. I've a friend who has HIV, and he refused to use condoms despite a very active sex life and being cautioned multiple times. I hope the best for him, I truly do, so please friends, use protection.

  10. Watched my grandmother die of cancer 2019 jan 15 two days after my birthday. Watching death is hard but its life stay strong to those who are going though it the rest get your mind right it's not a new design of future

  11. There’s so many important messages in that picture at a time when when we didn’t know what we know now and we were reacting to fear.
    Showing a family loving and supporting their son in his last moments of life was so important because so many people were shunned by their families when they needed them the most. Many died alone.
    A father loving on his son, not afraid to touch him and be close to him because he knows that his job right at that moment was to be a loving parent to his child. Such a powerful message at a time when we were afraid to breath the same air as people with AIDS.
    The young man who is in the prime of his life, who should be as healthy as a horse and living a productive life, emaciated and dying from a disease we didn’t understand.
    I don’t care who got this message out there, it needed to be seen and talked about at the time. It was images like this one that helped bring us to the awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS that we now have.

  12. Starting in the late-1980s as a home health aide, while having the virus myself, I tended more than 70 people with AIDS during most of the bad years of the epidemic. I think what Benetton did was good, with proper intent.
    When you critically examine the possible origins of AIDS, I think you will find it is quite likely that HIV/AIDS is an accidentally caused epidemic. Remember polio?
    There were many unknowns when developing vaccines in the mid-twentieth century when that campaign started. Some vaccines using tissues from the very animals they say HIV came from. That would make anyone who died of AIDS an actual sacrifice for the risks taken to protect humanity from polio. And many of us certainly were put on a cross of sorts, and vilified. And worse.

  13. They have been found a cure ..if you watch these commercials they say “we have a pill that you can take but you have to go to the doctors and get tested for aidshiv and if you have it then you can’t get it” the pill literally keeps you from getting it in the first place ..not many people look into it or even pay it any mind cause you don’t think this could be you BUT it can

  14. I was a very young man growing up in a straight environment . I couldn’t wait to get to the geiborhood and live my life out! When I got there at 18 I noticed all of these people were fine one week and dead the next. It was shocking. My first apartment at 18 my first adult friends. My apartment complex was only 20 units big with a small pool in the center of it. We had parties, barbecues, movie nights it was a blast! But those were short lived because the next week someone would die. ?. I wished I could tell my story in a book. Clearly I have no idea how to tell a story but I have so many incredible stories to tell of the aids crisis back from the eighties. Extremely traumatized here. …….so many stories.

  15. The fuckin guy died of the medication he was taken ..stupid people ..AZT blame on Anthony fauci … Robert Gallo …David Baltimore ..they still on top of the game ..

  16. The homosexual white male cunningly swiped the stigma of AIDS towards the black women in exchange for her stigma of oppression in order to get a seat in civil Rights

  17. I was in first grade when HIV first came to light. I was intrigued by the mystery of viruses. When Ebola came out to the public, again I kept newspaper clippings of all these breakouts. I started reading books on these diseases. So when I decided to go to college, thats what I did, I became a Medical Lab Scientist. I test those with HIV, HCV and various other illnesses. I love what I do if it helps doctors cure these people

  18. قال تعالى: (ولا تقربوا الزنا إنه كان فاحشة و ساء سبيلا. ) صدق الله العظيم علام الغيوب.

  19. That add was powerful because it brought the pain of HIV into your living room. It showed how people suffered and is still painful today.

  20. This could have all been remedied just by using a condom, especially if you are homosexual. This is honestly a nor brainer. Even today in the developed world HIV is not prevalent amongst the heterosexual non drug using community. Homosexuals and intravenous drug users are still the largest community of carriers. Clean needles and condoms is all it takes. If you are going to do drugs, just use clean needles.

  21. I was a nurse back during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. I was gay but I did not openly talk about my sexuality. I was talking care of a man in the critical care unit who was showing symptoms of AIDS. There was no test to 100% determine if it was AIDS. He had a horrible pneumonia that was attacking his body. He was a very healthy looking man. He was placed on a ventilator. The ventilator was an old unit that was taken out service. The ventilator had no alarms to let you know that the unit was not working correctly. We kept his door closed and thought we were doing what was best for all of us. He somehow disconnected the tube and was not receiving oxygen and the alarm didn't work. It was only when the central monitoring tech came rushing to the door stating that his heart rate was dropping very fast. I got up and grabbed the crash cart to help save him but I was stopped by the pulmonologist telling me not to take the cart in. I was so confused and argued with the doctor that he would die if we didn't help him. Several of the other staff took me aside and told me that we could not take the chance of spreading the disease. In my horror from the glass doors I watched him try to reconnect his tubes. His heart rate continued to drop until he straight lined. I was physically sick. That was in 1985 and I have never been able to get that man off my mind. I pray that the Lord forgave us for our actions. I was the only nurse willing to take care of the hiv positive patients…I lost so much respect for my profession that day. These photographs are breath taking and the pain that I felt that day remains with me. RIP brothers and sisters that were lost because of our ignorance.

  22. In the U.K. princess Diana did a hell of a lot for people to accept you couldnt catch HIV from touching and normal contact.

  23. I remember that it changed my view, the father saying goodbye to his son. His son, not a gay guy, with risky lifestyle, but his son.

  24. Woohoo ? ??This is magnificent. Wow I finally got rid of my Hiv infection when I used dr kanayo 14 days natural cure. I thought it was impossible until I came across a testimony from Sara here on YouTube. Thank you God. I love you Sara for introducing me to dr kanayo. contact dr kanayo for hiv natural cure today text his WhatsApp # +1 (909) 375-5642 ? I’m going to share this wonderful testimony with the public because have been positive since October 12/2017 ever since I felt so hopeless. Thanksgiving all the way. I’m going to pray God keep you safe from the government. Keep helping us Dr• kanayo you are forever in my prayers. I love you dr•

  25. I created a group in social network called fighting cancer aids hiv the victory is yours
    Had people from America to ?? and Africa
    Join my group who was infected with hiv and aids and gave insight on the infirmity ? one of the things I learned not detectable which means the other person can’t get it because of the medication ???

  26. Gentle 21st Century READER: Sir (or Madam), learn from the horrific deaths of these INSANE MEN ! Reader ! The Most Holy TRINITY does PUNISH mortal sin …particularly mortal sins of LUST (here due to sodomy). If I am foolish enough to commit mortal sins of LUST with another man or woman…I AM PUNISHED WITH A REPROBATE MIND (I'm "gay")…homosexuality is a DEMONIC DELUSION ! There are no "gay" men nor "lesbian" women..there are just men or women who commit mortal sins and ARE PUNISHED WITH INSANITY…and then (eventually) with these utterly horrible and tragic immune diseases shown through the horrific (!!) deaths of these young health men.READER ! I BEG YOU…pray the holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and protect your (masculine or feminine) CHASTITY from your (due to original sin) inclination to commit sins of LUST against the 6th and 9th commandment ! This is the truth ! There are only just men and women who commit sins…it is a serious demonic delusion to think that there are "gay" men or "lesbian" women …or "transgendered" individuals. The worlds only true religion is TRADITIONAL ROMAN CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY (pre-1962)…only the tradRC Christian priest can release you from the control of the devils encouraging you to become more and more INSANE (like these tragic men) with more and worse sins of LUST (with other men or women)….pray the holy rosary of the BVM and see that all the words that I have just written are LITERALLY TRUE ! Reader: Listen to the faint, faint voice of these (very unfortunate) suffering and dying men who hopefully saved their immortal souls before they shuffled off this mortal coil…Reader…come with me and listen to their FAINT last words…(softly)…"The wages of sin is …D E A T H"

  27. The moral of this story is:
    You can prevent AIDS
    Avoid drugs and unprotected sex and always remember god. Control your desire.

  28. Benetton always took risks with their advertising to bring awareness. A was a teenager in the 80s & they always stood out to me

  29. Man is so evil hiv is man made it is created in a lab for depopulation first the gays contract it then the black community it truly is man made. How can any human beings watch someone suffer like this. Remember people this world was given into the hands of the wicked satan truly rule this world and the fallen angels.

  30. Just think, If those guys did not suck shit off of another mans dick they would all still be alive maybe.

  31. My cousin paseed away due to this disease and yes he was lgbt r.i.p Miguel no matter what you was my family wish i would of spend more time wirh you

  32. Thanks for posting and I think sometimes that this virus like Cancer is a business as well. I think there could of been many cures that would of ended both, but there is a lot of money being made. You find a cure for the two and the industry probably would go bankrupt. I was fan of the Benn. Stores and was always shopping in stores buying their products and I remember many of their advertising images over the years, still own the B cologne called “Colors” in my stash and will never throw it out!!!

  33. Sad – all for the sake of Sex?!?! Promiscuity has not changed – it is still rampant all over the world!!! These ppl infect innocent non-promiscuous ppl!!!

  34. In the 80's AIDS was a huge scare for a lot expect for some police officers.
    Those AIDS victims in the 80's had know where to go.
    I imagine police officers did get a lot of calls for those homeless AIDS victims.

  35. Educate yourself, dont be a victim of aids use condoms or dont have sex with many other people to prevent aids, discipline yourself.

  36. Unfortunately we live in a capitalist based society marketing is used to bring awareness …. but at least awareness is being made its steps in the right direction…a double edge sword

  37. I grew up in the 80s when this disease made its debut and I've been abstinate for many years because I've seen generations after mine just perish from carelessness of promiscuity that they didn't have to do they just didn't care especially the women they just slept around like if the disease didn't exist today those same people not only from sex but
    Also drugs and other people it's like they allowed themselves to be
    Infected I till today have never caught an std thank god for that if I didn't stop completely and chose my partners carefully and got them tested for stds ID BE DEAD
    life did not come cheap to me to other people that I've seen with my own eyes yes it did…and they were Basicly MAINSTREAM…

  38. True to her word, the photographer never profited from the photograph. All the money made was donated to Aids research

  39. My uncle died when i was 12 okla city 1986 we moved from ca this pic looks like my uncle when he died he was 24 like 34lbs when he died university hospital okla city so sad they didn t know much then!!! Photo gets me everytime looks so similar even pic above bed i made my uncle when i was 12 butterfly i think!!!!

  40. HIV isn't killing people (in America) physically anymore but it is definitely killing people spiritually. It takes it's toll on you emotionally and mentally.

  41. Ignoring all of the horrible, sad aids things, this is a perfectly composed photo, and the composition really helps to evoke emotion, she is a really good photographer.

  42. My guess is that- since Benetton Group is one of the many global fashion and pop culture conglomerate / influencers- they are amongst the earliest platforms and medium to spread the awareness on the ever growing HIV AIDS Pandemic and how Benetton Group is a medium or bridge the gap towards the aware and the ignorant…

    Capitalism indeed is present in the motive, however their clothing line and the sales that goes with it may be sufficiently enough to spread the awareness campaign, just like the Joint MAC Cosmetics/Staying Alive/Music Television/UNAIDS Council Campaign, respectively.

  43. Back in 85 i worked at Robert wood hospital. I remember a husband, wive and newborn twins coming into the er. All aides infected. Within two months the mother and father died. The twins were BEUTIFUL. NONE of the nurses would touch them. But thier grandma came everyday and washed,fed, and rocked those babies to sleep. R.I.P marques and imani. You two babies NEVER had a chance. But atleast your not suffering ANYMORE…..

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