The exhibit photographer, Art Moreno Jr., has a two-fold goal for Mentes Hermosas:
First, Art hopes to help end the stereotype that mentally ill people are to be feared. Instead, he hopes to show that these individuals are beautiful and deserve respect, even in their crisis.
Second, he hopes to provide much-needed financial assistance to the sanctuary through the funds raised by donations and ticket sales for viewing this world-class photo exposition. 100% of all proceeds will be given to Vision in Action, as one of Moreno’s most enduring heartfelt goals is to bring recognition and support to the inspiring work being done by the sanctuary.
MADE IN ITALY
The images shown in this exhibit will be printed on 24x60” double-sided, ultra transparent floor standing acrylic panels to showcase the vibrant colors and stunning details of the photos. This medium offers great print fidelity and simple color management that lends itself to an impeccable finished product. The panels shown here were custom-made in Italy by GraphiStudio for breathtaking results.
In my years of experience as a commercial photographer with a particular passion for portraiture, I’ve often found it curious why most people are so standoffish when they find themselves around anyone described “as different.” Of course, the difference may be mental or physical... obvious or not. It’s the label, however, that always seems to stick and that which defines someone as mentally or physically ill, handicapped, or to put it more politely... unique.
Most of us have never taken the time to look directly into the faces of those who struggle with a mental or physical challenge or to try to see beyond that which is obvious. Perhaps we avoid people with mental illness because they’re not perceived as normal. I’ve often wondered myself how such people may even perceive me.
Art Moreno Jr., Exhibit Photographer
"Mentes Hermosas" (Beautiful Minds) is a portrait exhibit I captured of a community of unique individuals residing at an obscure mental facility in Juárez, Mexico. I created this gallery to shine a light on a slice of humanity that is often tucked away and forgotten. The story of each patient accompanies their portrait for a privilege rarely given. I hope this collection of images will change how you see human frailty and its effect on us all.
Each portrait was captured on location at Visión En Acción Misión Rescate A.C. in Cuidad Juárez, Mexico. For the past 25 years, Vision in Action (as it's known in English) has been a haven for individuals suffering from neurological and mental conditions. Their needs can be extensive and ever-present for those struggling with mental illness. The sanctuary offers free and loving assistance to a population needing constant care daily.
For this exhibit, the founder of the sanctuary, Pastor Jose Antonio Galvan, together with his assistant, Josue (a former patient who now works as a nurse at the facility), gently helped each of the patients to pose in a way that was comfortable for them while explaining that I was merely there to capture their photo. Once they were ready, each subject expressed themselves as they liked. Each individual's facial expression, pose, and attitude was spontaneous and organic.
This exhibit aims to bring attention and much-needed help to the precious lives represented here through volunteerism and financial assistance. As you learn about these challenged souls...our brothers and sisters of humanity, may you not only gain a better understanding of the frailness of mankind but, may you also allow yourself to be moved by the stories that come to life in this exhibit.