This past weekend, I met several staff members from the Open Society Institute’s Documentary Photography Project. Wyatt Gallery’s Tent Life: Haiti, exhibited at Photoville, is work supported by the Documentary Photography Project.
“The photographs are testament to the strength and dignity of the Haitian community after the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake,” writes Amy Yenkin, director of the Documentary Photography Project
OSI also partly-funded the Magnum Foundation’s work Bruce Gilden’s No Place Like Home: Foreclosures in America and Sim Chi Yin’s Rat Tribe in an overarching initiative exploring of the idea of ‘Home.’ Photoville details here.
I’ll talk more about Photoville and those connections later, but here I want to bring your attention to OSI’s initiative that goes beyond photography specifically. OSI is running the Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice.
“Every year some 10 million people around the world spend time locked up in prison cells and detention centers while they await a court appearance. Many will end up spending months or even years behind bars without ever seeing a judge,” reports OSI.
Pretrial detention is something I’ve concerned myself with before, for example in promoting Nathalie Mohadjer’s photography.
OSI has produced two reports: “The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention” and “Pretrial Detention and Torture: Why Pretrial Detainees Face the Greatest Risk,” both argue a reduction in excessive use of pretrial incarceration and to save costs to governments and communities.
In conjunction with the reports, OSI has produced four videos about those who’ve suffered loss of liberty or loss of family in unaccountable systems. The photos are by Ed Kashi. The audio by Rob Rosenthal. (Ed Kashi also made the bio pics for the Documentary Photography Project staff!)
I was surprised by the incredibly low Youtube viewing numbers – from as low as 60 to less than 300. I hope this is due only to the fact that the videos have been embedded on sites and have in fact been viewed many more times in the last month than just the few hundred reported on the individual Youtube pages.
OSI is also a massive (much larger) foundation than I ever knew. 400+ employees in New York and more than 2,000 worldwide. It produces campaigns at such a rate that I expect many get lost in the relentless roll out. Here, I hope I can do my bit; I encourage you to watch these dispatches.
Follow OSI’s program about pretrial justice on Twitter: @PretrialJustice