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A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled
In some countries, they call them the "abandonados," the abandoned ones. They're the impoverished mentally ill and mentally disabled patients being warehoused in psychiatric asylums that are more run-down, more uncaring than the most brutal American prisons.




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Photo by Eugene Richards
Photo by Eugene Richards
A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled
Confined in cage-like cells, tied to beds soiled with human waste, medicated to the point of senselessness, or wandering naked in unheated and garage-like wards, they live in what can only be called the shadows, their plight unseen and too easily ignored by the rest of the human family.




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Photo by Eugene Richards
Photo by Eugene Richards
A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled
Working first as a journalist, later as a volunteer for the human rights organization Mental Disability Rights International, photographer Eugene Richards gained access to psychiatric institutions in Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Hungary, Paraguay, and Kosovo. His wrenchingly intimate images reveal the often inhumane treatment suffered by the mentally disabled.


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Photo by Eugene Richards
Photo by Eugene Richards
A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled











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Photo by Eugene Richards
Photo by Eugene Richards
A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled












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Photo by Eugene Richards
Photo by Eugene Richards

A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled

February 11–May 14, 2010
Watch the opening night presentation.

About the photographer
One of the world's foremost documentary photographers, Eugene Richards has received many of photography's prestigious honors, including the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Leica Medal of Excellence, the Leica Oskar Bamack Award, the Olivier Rebbot Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Journalism Award for the coverage of the disadvantaged. He has published thirteen books, including Dorchester Days; Exploding into Life; Americans We; Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue; and The Fat Baby. Richards's photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, National Geographic, Time, the New Yorker, People, and Life.


Press about the Exhibition:

  • Newcity Art —"As Chicago’s premier space for showcasing contemporary critical social photo-documentary,
    the Gage Gallery has come up with another searing exhibition..."


  • Gapers Block Website —"Eugene Richards, an award winning documentary photographer, does not allow
    the trauma of this situation to escape the eyes and hearts of viewers."


  • Chicago Art Magazine —"In every picture though, he [Richards] equates that person’s life to your own.
    To me, in Richards’s photographs, I see such raw emotion and imagery that I am terrified that what is
    happening in the picture, could happen to me. I can’t remember ever feeling this way before while looking
    at photographs."



Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communication with generous financial support from Susan B. Rubnitz, the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project and the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation.