1 / 5       Hector Garcia Jr. rests after walking laps for the first time at the Palo Alto College Aquatic Center pool. Barely able to move without the aid of a walker because of his damaged knees, Garcia could walk in the water with less pain and began an e xercise routine based on walking laps in the pool. «I was just a chubby kid. I wasn’t like humungous or anything. I was just a chubby kid, but I learned that kids were not going to pick me for their team because I was chubby. I was not going to get invited to hang out because I was chubby. So from a really young age I felt left out and I didn’t realize back then what it was doing, that really didn’t manifest itself until I was an adult». May 2011. © Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News.
2 / 5       At almost 600 pounds, Hector Garcia Jr. finds simple daily tasks like bathing a challenge. He struggled to walk across the hall from his bedroom to the bathroom so that his mother, Elena, could wash him after cutting his hair. A month before, Hector started dieting after he realized he was close to his highest known weight, 636 pounds. November 2010. © Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News.
3 / 5       Hector Garcia Jr. rests after walking from his bedroom across the hall to the bathroom to clean himself with the help of his mother. «I would like to get out of the house more. I would like to go for a drive with the windows down, like a dog you stick your head out. I used to love to drive. I wouldn't mind going to the beach. I've forgotten what that looks like». November 2010. © Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News.
4 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition A Life Apart: The Toll of Obesity by Lisa Krantz. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
5 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition A Life Apart: The Toll of Obesity by Lisa Krantz. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

Obesity Blackmail

There is fear, pain and a lot of desperation in the images of Lisa Krantz which are exhibited in the Ex Church of San Cristoforo. Despair for what the mirror, merciless, returns each day. Despair for what has been, for the solitude imposed by the life that has been forced to live in spite of the sacrifices, the effort, obstinacy. Despair for the awareness of what has been lost and continues to lose, for what is known to be the outcome if you cannot change. To not give in to that temptation. A hidden pain, but constant, which will push the protagonist of this dramatic story, Hector Garcia Jr., to constantly seek comfort in food. A gesture which became a vice, a vice that will lead to his death.
Food for most of Hector’s life was something to take refuge in, his closest friend and, at the same time, his worst enemy. Suffering from a severe form of obesity, this man has seen his life slowly slip through his fingers. He saw it slip away, little by little, while almost completely unable to move he lay listlessly between the walls of his room in San Antonio, Texas. However, despite everything, Hector has never stopped fighting strenuously, to try to stop that dark spiral that saw in his continuous putting on weight the most darkest omen. A struggle waged primarily against himself but also against the world, out there, that has always made fun of and alienated him, regardless of how little it might have taken to improve his condition.
Through hard and moving images, which present a suffocating black and white, Lisa Krantz’s work tells us about the last years of the life of a man suffering from obesity. It puts us in front of a private tragedy to raise the curtain on a worrying situation in America, and especially in San Antonio, which involves an impressive percentage of the population. Recent data from Gallip indicates in fact San Antonio as the second city in America with more obese people: 65.7% of adults are overweight or obese, and many of these are those who, suffering from extreme obesity as Hector, still live isolated, unable to find or have access to medical and psychological help. Therefore, in an effort to raise public awareness and the institutions on this serious contemporary problem, closely related to food, Lisa Krantz decided to tell this story. A story that the American photojournalist has to some extent co-written with her protagonist, well aware of the end he had to face and the urgency to speak openly of obesity, that is, of what it is, what it involves and where it leads to. Hector in fact died suddenly at his home, after taking only a few slow steps to reach the door and open it to his mother. He was 49 years old. A fate that awaits many Americans in the same situation (of physical suffering and destitution, not only economical) if you do not run for cover with targeted plans for health care and, before that, with a serious campaign of food education. «If it’s Gods will that other people are touched by this – Hector once said, explaining why he had agreed to collaborate on Krantz’s project – and if I save one life through this, if other people see this, parents, and they change their childen’s eating habits and that child’s life changes so they don’t have to go through the same things that I did, to suffer the same humilitations, the attacks, the isolation, then all of this was worth it. Would I want to go through it again, I wouldn't want to go through it again but I would, if it helped save one child, I would. [ S. B. ]

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A LIFE APART: THE TOLL OF OBESITY
by Lisa Krantz
Ex Chiesa di San Cristoforo | 10-11 / 17-18 / 24-25 October 2015
admission fee: 10,00 € (valid for the visit to all other exhibitions)


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[ INTERNAL RESOURCES ]
FFE2015 on FPmag

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Food that kills
Festival of Ethical Photography
Lisa Krantz

published on 2015-10-22 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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