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Photo Essays

Carolina Harkort | I Am Human

Estonia – Narva – March 2011. Irina and Sergej are sitting in their kitchen and talking about their life
[I]rina and Sergej live in a one-bedroom apartment with Irina’s son, Sascha, in Narva, Estonia. They are both unemployed which is quite common for this part of the country. However Irina and Sergej’s physical condition sets them apart from the crowd because they are both HIV positive.

Every morning Sergej takes Sascha to school while Irina awaits his return home. They then spend most of their day together. When time allows, they attend HIV support groups, to seek support from other people who are HIV positive.

Despite their obvious hopeless situation, they still manage to remain human, by keeping the spirit of life alive. I was impressed by the ironclad bond between them, the beauty they shared of being together. In between the grief, unhealed wounds and pains from the past, they seem happy and strong, with the deepest love for one another.

My pictures aim to illustrate this personal connection and reflect a strong atmosphere of love, sadness, loyalty and everlasting hope for a better future. The powerful ties between the members of this unfortunate family enables them to be happy, and that happiness can sometimes ease the pain.
All three manage to live a normal life in a society that segregates them as “ill people”, despite the unbreakable fact that they are human beings, just the same as the rest of us.

Estonia – Narva – March 2011. Sergej and Irina are both jobless so they are able to spend a lot of time with Sascha
Estonia – Narva – March 2011. They both already lost a lot of friends because of HIV
Estonia – Narva – March 2011. Irina goes every week to an HIV group to talk about her life and feelings
iEstonia – Narva – March 2011. Irina sometimes dreams from a life without HIV
Estonia – Narva – March 2011. Sergej , Irina and Sascha are living in a small one bedroom appartment together
Sascha is born HIV free
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