Will Corder: The Face of HIV

Image from "The Face of HIV" (Corder: 2014) Image © Will Corder used with permission.

Image from “The Face of HIV” (Corder: 2014)
Image © Will Corder 2014 used with permission.

Will Corder is a photographer in Bournemouth who produces portraiture, fashion and documentary work as well as working on personal and commercial projects.

His photography journey so far has seen him work with fashion photographers including Cameron Mcnee and Michael Furlonger, and work for Top Model UK.  Will has also exhibited his solo work in Dorset and worked with local charities and organisations on collaborative projects.  Will has also had his work published in national press and magazines.

Of particular note, one of his more interesting projects is “The Face of HIV”, which is an ongoing project to raise awareness about HIV and the people that it affects.  Ignorance, stigma, silence and denial surround HIV and it’s something that needs to be addressed.  Since the ’80’s, HIV has gone from being a ‘gay’ disease which came with a death sentence, to a manageable condition which affects anyone – gay, straight, white, black, young and old.

This project features some remarkable people who have faced HIV and fought it, people who want to tell their story and educate others.

Will’s “The Face of HIV” series are remarkably similar in style to celebrated photographer David Bailey, who often presents black and white thematic photographs of the famous.  In Stardust (Bailey: 2014) David Bailey has captured: actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, designers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels; many of them are already known to us.

Will has shifted individuals, victims of stigma and abuse simply because of a manageable health condition, into fine art.  We all too often see parades of red ribbons and of communities working together to fight stigma and the visual impact of the individual can sometimes be lost.  Will has brought you the individual, boldly displayed for you to see, not to scrutinise or guess their character but to show their innocence.  You couldn’t possibly judge these people as you have no terms of reference and this a practical demonstration why prejudice and stigma originate in the mind of the perpetrator.

In his YOU series (Hilterman: 2002 – 2013) Hans Hilterman accomplishes the same, stripping people to their very essence, with no makeup, jewellery, or other preference.  Corder presents his noteworthy individuals as a synonymity between the unexceptional characters of Hilterman’s YOU and the mahatma of fame from Bailey’s Stardust.

Despite it’s message and what it it stands for, you cannot see HIV within Corder’s The Face of HIV, no ghost, no trace.  Nor flower, not a seed nor symbols in it’s place.

A remarkable project, from a remarkable photographer.

Visit his portfolio at: http://www.willcorder.co.uk/or follow him on Twitter @will_corder

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