Smiley Pool, photojournalist and creator of Through the White Door, a documentary photo project and exhibit that portrays the interconnected human experience of families affected by HIV/AIDS, will make his first South Florida appearance for the opening exhibition reception presented by the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale (2414 East Sunrise Blvd.) will host the ticketed benefit on April 7 at 5:30 p.m. to kick off exhibition, which will be on view April 8-30.
The exhibition consists of 40 poignant images by Pool from South Africa, Romania, North Carolina, Texas, and beyond, depicting the struggles and triumphs of children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The Through the White Door photography project spans over two decades and follows a remarkable group of people who faced the HIV/AIDS crisis head-on and saved a generation of children.
The project began with two newspaper stories at the Houston Chronicle in the 1990s. Over the next 20 years, Pool completed the project around his staff photographer positions at the Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News. Pool continued to follow one of the first children in the world on a drug trial for highly active antiretroviral therapy until adulthood and documented the formation and rise of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI).
“Through the White Door is a story about some people who stared at unbelievable disparities in health care and decided to get up off the sidelines and do something about it. I got to take their pictures,” said Pool. “After over two decades following this story, here’s what I know: We can all make a difference. I thank the countless young people and their families who were brave enough to fight a potentially deadly virus and even braver to share their lives and dreams with me in the hopes that their stories can make a difference. I am pleased to share their inspirational narratives with South Florida.”
The project culminated with an oversized hardcover book with 212 pages of his photography. Text for the book was written by Jessica Johns Pool, his spouse, who is a writer specializing in health care. Together, the book is their way of sharing the stories of the extraordinary and inspirational people they have met along the way.
Through the White Door with personalization and autographs will be available for purchase at the opening reception for $45. All proceeds will benefit World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. Tickets for the benefit are $25 each and are available here.
The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center’s presentation of the Through the White Door exhibit is sponsored by The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale and supported by the Broward County Cultural Council.
For more information about the Through the White Door photo exhibit, please call (954) 390-0550 or click here.