This photograph, and many others in the collection at the New-York Historical Society, was taken by Claire Yaffa. It is a part of the AIDS in New York: The First Five Years exhibition. Claire Yaffa is a famous photographer whose work has been featured in The New York Times and many other major publications. Yaffa has worked on these black and white documents at the Incarnation Children’s Center in the Bronx with their youngest patients. The Incarnation Children’s Center is among many institutions to provide health care for orphaned infants born with HIV.
Many of the HIV’s youngest patients didn’t survive to adulthood, but Yaffa’s photographs have captured their beauty and pathos. Even though these children are struggling with an incurable disease, they are still smiling and holding on to their time in this world. They show no emotion of pain or sadness. Many of these children are smiling in photos even if they have many tubes connected to them to support their lives. All of them are living their remaining time to the fullest. There is one quote from Kung Fu Panda that fits these children very well, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, and that is why it’s called the present.”
For more information and a close look of the exhibition, please come by the New-York Historical Society. The exhibit closes on September 1, 2013.
– YueMin Chen