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Bruce Davidson to Visit Portland, Salem to Highlight CareOregon Member Photo Exhibition

Photographed in their backyard: Nadezda Tupitsyna (above) and Sandra Yovis Mejia, with her children (below).
Copyright © Images Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, 2007

By Maileen Hamto, CareOregon Communications Writer

Russian émigré Nadezda, 79, is photographed in her backyard, while six-year-old Brent, born with cerebral palsy, washes his dog. Jason, a self-described recovering addict who suffers from bipolar disorder and multiple sclerosis, is shown exercising, while 78-year-old Louise teaches her grandson to cook. Debra, 48, shows off her Special Olympics accomplishments, while Liberian refugee Emmanuel takes a break from practicing soccer kicks.

These are only a few of the 27 CareOregon members and their families photographed by renowned photographer Bruce Davidson, who garnered critical acclaim for his work during the Civil Rights Era.

Davidson’s CareOregon photos are congruent with the social purpose and intent inherent in his career. He is well-known for his work documenting the social conditions of families and children in East Harlem. His photographs have been displayed at some of the most prestigious galleries and museums in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris.

Photographs showcased in the exhibition “We the People” tell inspiring and unforgettable stories of individual strength, pride and dignity among CareOregon members. The diversity of CareOregon members – ages, cultures, national origins, languages and social circumstances – is showcased in the photographs.

"These people and others are more or less invisible to the general public, and it is important to me that this imagery be very human where the ‘ordinary’ person can see it, identify, and see themselves in the images. In talking with the people I photographed, I found their words to be incredibly powerful. If we are taken inside these lives, the community will see the hope that CareOregon provides.”

The goal of the exhibition: to show that Oregonians receiving help from Medicaid and Medicare are our children, our neighbors, our family and friends. Through evocative imagery, this body of work captures the profound vision of CareOregon: healthy Oregonians regardless of their income or social circumstances.

The photographs are on display at CareOregon, and will be exhibited at the Oregon Department of Human Services building, 500 Summer St. NE in Salem. Davidson will be at the DHS opening at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, and at a showing for legislators and community leaders at CareOregon on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Davidson will present a lecture on his works, “Journey of Consciousness: 50 Years in Photography” at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

CareOregon serves 25 percent of Oregon Health Plan members from throughout the state, and almost 70 percent of CareOregon members are under age 18. To ensure that members have access to quality services, CareOregon emphasizes prevention and primary care case management, and places specific focus on serving members in chronic and complex care situations.

Visiting with members from throughout the Portland metro area and as far away as Astoria and Scotts Mills, Davidson discovered an empowerment program that delivers a chance, extends a hand and often saves lives.

“This CareOregon project was one of the most meaningful assignments I’ve had in my career,” wrote Davidson. “To enter the lives of those who are sick, handicapped or burdened with rare ailments was an eye-opener. It was a challenge to photograph these people with positive imagery that expressed their vitality, love and hope.”

For more info, contact Jeanie Lunsford, Communications Manager, at 503-416-3626 or via e-mail.

About Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 to photograph what became a profound documentation of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. In 1963 the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo show. He was awarded the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, having spent two years bearing witness to the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem. In 2007 alone, his works were exhibited in Madrid, Paris, and New York. Classic bodies of work from his 50-year career have been extensively published in monographs and are included in many major public and private fine art collections around the world. For more info about Bruce Davidson, visit http://www.magnumphotos.com

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