Under a colleague’s careful watch, wash your hands. Next, put on the yellow suit, the plastic foot covers, the gloves, the respirator, the goggles, and (if the patient is vomiting) the apron. You’re now ready to treat a disease that has killed 70% of victims in West Africa — where the Ebola virus first broke out — including more than 300 brave nurses and doctors who also donned the same get-up you just did.
The strange, protective garments worn by Ebola health care workers have been captured by Peter Casaer, a photographer with Médicins sans Frontières, in a series of discomfiting portraits now on view at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels until February 15, 2015. Though they look somewhat medieval, they are, in many ways, the face of a disease that has exposed sharp divisions in modern global society — between clean and unclean, developed and developing, rich and poor, life and death. Though human faces peer out warmly, they are sealed off from touch. It’s hard to imagine anything more dystopian.
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