In The Visual Economy of HIV/AIDS I investigated the way HIV/AIDS has been pictured through photography since the public emergence of the virus in 1981. This analysis establishes the imagined geography of the pandemic, and provides the backdrop for asking whether that visualization has altered since the disease was problematized as a security issue in 2000.
The project’s focus is on photojournalism as published in a small selection of major US and UK media outlets – the New York Times, The Guardian and The Observer (London), and Time magazine – since 2000. In addition, the project considers the work of selected documentary photographers and photojournalists who have undertaken special projects on HIV/AIDS – including Pep Bonet, Don McCullin, Gideon Mendel, James Nachtwey, Brent Stirton and Tom Stoddart – as well as some photography used by the United Nations and non-government organization publications concerned with HIV/AIDS.
The Visual Economy of HIV/AIDS was originally a research report, completed in May 2008, for the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative. A full copy of the (135 page) Visual Economy of HIV/AIDS final report can be downloaded, and the project web site with its image galleries remains online.