A series of psychiatric institutions in Serbia and Kosovo.
George, Georgia (George Georgiou), photographer, anthropologist, journalist and traveler. Born in 1961 in London. In 1987 he received a bachelor’s degree in the field of photography and film at the Polytechnic Institute of Central London (now Westminster University). In 1999 he joined the photo Agency “Panos Pictures” in London. Since then works exclusively over their own documentary photo projects.
Of Georgia took a lot of pictures in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. From 1999 to 2009 he lived and worked in Serbia, Greece and Turkey. Pictures of this period were published in major international journals and exhibited in many countries. Of Georgia became the winner of award World Press Photo in 2003 and 2005, “Nikon Press Award” in 2004. One of his most famous works, a series of photographs taken in psychiatric hospitals in Serbia and Kosovo “Hidden: psychiatric hospitals” (Hidden: PsychiatrIc Hospitals).
In the period from 1999 to 2002, Georgia has worked on a long-term project “Between the lines” (Between The Lines) about the consequences of the NATO conflict with Serbia. At this time he visited three psychiatric institutions in Kosovo and in Serbia.
“Before I spent four years giving photography lessons to people with mental disorders in London. Having experience with psychiatric patients, I knew that they can change model of behavior, but what I saw in Kosovo and in Serbia, was far from contemporary practice in London.
When I first visited these institutions, they were hidden from the public eye for the Serbs that revelation was a shock. During the years of Milosevic regime, the money dried up. Patients were kept in the mud. In the absence of medical care, spread of infectious diseases.”
In those places there were also people with physical disabilities (the boy who lost his legs after a car accident), suffering from down’s syndrome, Roma children and children whose misfortune was to be born in those institutions. Being in that environment, they copied the behavior of patients and engaged in self-harm.
The last visit to the psychiatric hospital of Georgia made 2002. He noted that after public campaigns, the conditions of the patients greatly improved.
“After the initial shock caused by lack of necessary conditions and medical care, I was shocked that patients belonging to different ethnic groups could show each other more affection and care than their “normal” compatriots at large,” wrote the photographer.
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