Children With AIDS: Spirit and Memory. Photographs by Claire Yaffa
To accompany AIDS in New York: The First Five Years, the New-York Historical Society will curate a visual arts exhibition and gallery show, featuring twenty breathtaking black and white photographs by noted photographer and social realist Claire Yaffa from her collection “The Changing Face of Children with AIDS.”
Claire Yaffa, whose work has been featured in The New York Times and several other major publications, has worked for years to document an intensely intimate, behind-the-scenes look at medical institutions and their youngest patients, giving agency and voice to thousands of
individuals—particularly children—struggling with life-threatening illnesses. Among the institutions that Yaffa has worked with during her long artistic career, the Incarnation Children’s Center in the Bronx—an organization that was one of the first to care for orphaned infants born with HIV—provided some of Yaffa’s most visceral subject matter, offering a stirring tribute to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Beginning in 1990, Yaffa visited Incarnation Children’s Center and was permitted to document the lives of these afflicted children and adolescents over a period of ten years, creating haunting portraits that capture the pathos and beauty of dozens of HIV’s youngest victims—most of whom did not survive to adulthood—and documenting the extraordinary devotion of the children’s caretakers.
The exhibition will have a special focus on two or three individual children’s stories and will featuring several of Yaffa’s emotionally moving, mid- to large-format, black and white photographs, and revealing with clarity and humility the often heartbreaking tales of children afflicted with HIV and AIDS.