Gilda Manuel Mate with her children at their home in Mabote, Mozambique. Gilda is HIV-positive and a spokesperson in the fight against AIDS – Steve Simon
Photojournalist Steve Simon just published a new book, Heroines and Heroes: Hope, HIV, and Africa. The book, is the product of four trips to Africa that Simon has taken since 2002. The photographer is donating all of his royalties to organizations fighting AIDS in Africa, and one of his hopes for the book is that the pictures will motivate readers to make donations themselves. See the images with a narration by the photographer here.
“I didn’t want to ignore the harsh realities of the scourge of AIDS, but at the same time, I wanted to show some of the positive things that were going on in the fight against AIDS. I wanted to show daily life. I wanted to show the beauty of the landscape, and that not everybody is always miserable.”- Steve Simon.
Steve has photographed communities throughout Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Lesotho, where more than 28,000,000 adults and 1,000,000 children are currently living with HIV. Every day 11,000 more people are infected–at a rate of one person every eight seconds. Simon’s sensitive and gentle portraits capture both the suffering and the astonishing resilience of the people on the front lines of the AIDS pandemic. There is also a limited edition book series that contains a numbered and limited print from the book. There are many reputable organizations fighting the war agains the HIV pandemic. If you wish to donate you may take a look at Mercy Corps or CARE.
From the publisher – “In Heroines & Heroes, Steve Simon’s sensitive and gentle photographs illuminate both the suffering and the astonishing resilience of the people on the front lines of the AIDS pandemic. Though HIV prevalence rates and the number of people dying from AIDS are devastating, this book is not about statistics. It is about brave and determined people who persevere to reverse the tide of hopelessness and despair in the fight against AIDS. It is about how we can help. Heroines & Heroes is a call to action, a visual milepost on the 25-year chronicle of the HIV-AIDS pandemic, reminding us where love and determination exist, there is hope.”
Heroines and Heroes is dedicated to the grandmothers of Africa, and they are next on Simon’s project list.
“I want to go back. I’m applying for grants. I think the grandmothers is really a compelling and powerful story. They’re holding the continent together. They bury their own children. They’re raising all these kids with little or no support. I think the light needs to be shined on them.”- Steve Simon.
You can listen to a interesting interview of Steve Simon at The digital Story Podcast # 55. Download the mp3 file here. You can read an essay about Steve’s work at web site of Canadian photographer Rob Galbraith.