Mental Illness

Victor d’Allant received the permission to take photographs in one of the largest mental institutions in Asia, where three thousand patients (men, women and children) are locked up. He recently wrote about his experience: "The equipment I carried was light and simple: a Leica M4, a 35 mm lens, and rolls of black and white films. Every month or so, I would take the train to the big city and have my films processed and contact sheets made, a routine that helped me make sure that my camera was functioning properly, a necessity considering the challenging climate. Back in the asylum, surrounded by constant suffering and flagrant injustice, I couldn't help recalling Dante’s frightening words about hell: “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate” (All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”) Was there any hope for these human beings, shamelessly hidden from the rest of society as if they were damaged goods?"