The parade of the mental patients through the Larco Herrera Insane Asylum was truly a joyous experience. The love and care the patients receive from the nurses and volunteers is very remarkable. The patients I photographed were so excited to be all dressed up in outfits for the parade.

The buildings are separated according to  the disability of the patient: I was in Block 8, the acute schizophrenic wing. There were several people I recognized from the past year and they seemed to remember me as well.

As I had permission to shoot, I took as many rolls as I could in four hours, both inside and outside the ward. I shot 12 rolls with my Rolleiflex and turned in the film right afterwards to Profesa, my photo store.

I shot a bit with the digital camera but I hate it so much, it really is unpleasant to use.

What impressed me the most was that, despite the difficulties that are endemic to any institution for the mentally ill, the warmth and love mutually expressed by the staff and the patients toward each other was beautiful indeed. So many photos exist of patients in similar institutions where neglect and abuse exist, that it was pure joy to witness something very different today.

Here are a few of the digital shots: just so you can feel a bit of what I felt.

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liese ricketts

photographer, closet writer, mother, grandmother, hermit.