Julio Etchart is a renowned photo journalist with an impressive portfolio of social, development and conflict issues around the world for international development agencies and the press. Julio has done a number of commissions with Care Images and is blogging for us. Here is the first of his occasional blogs.
My work in photo journalism has taken me to war zones as well as areas of resolution and development. When I was approached by Care Images to work with them I imagined it to be an ‘easier ride’. I was wrong. The brief from Care Images is to provide realistic images of care as experienced by service users and carers and covering disability and community is a real challenge. I may not be running for cover for fear of being hit by bullets of shrapnel, or witness the misery of refugee camps, but I am fighting against a misguided perception of disability. Through my lens I try to confront prejudice and stereotypes about the way disabled people are seen, literally.
Working for Care Images has given me the opportunity to visit places where elderly and less able members of our society spend their lives, whether it be in a care home or their own home; they are dependant on receiving care. I have focused on documenting the minutiae of tasks of the carers – the parents, relatives and professionals whose work is essential to service users to live with dignity and reach their ability. The main challenge when you are working in this field is to earn the trust of the people whose lives you are documenting. Only by portraying people in a positive and dignified light can this be achieved. That does not mean I always accentuate the positive, rather that I try not to enforce a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’d be interested to hear feedback, both positive and negative on my work for Care images.