Homer Page

Young boy and his dog in room, USA
WHO/Homer Page

Homer Page was born in 1918 in Oakland, California, USA. As part of the burgeoning West Coast photography scene, he fraternized with Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. In 1949, Mr Page received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to photograph New York City and the next year he participated in a photography conference at the Museum of Modern Art. He contributed to Edward Steichen's landmark Family of Man exhibition at MoMA in 1955.

Mr Page's photographs appeared in publications including Harper's Magazine, and books such as The Little world of Laos with text by Oden Meeker. In 1966, he published a collection of his photographs entitled Puerto Rico: the quiet revolution.

Mr Page produced several photo stories for WHO from 1957 to 1960. Though most of his photographs focused on health in the United States, he also travelled to Latin America, Asia and Africa to photograph topics including rural health, yaws and trachoma.

Eyes that weep no more: India, 1958
In this photo report, Homer Page documented the work of a team based in northern India to combat trachoma. As he explained, "nearly 400 million people suffer from trachoma. Though this eye infection does not kill, it can last a lifetime if untreated. Its victims often become blind. In India, trachoma is the largest single cause of preventable blindness. In some rural areas of northern India the infection rate is as high as 80-90 per cent of the total population. A WHO-assisted trachoma team centred on the Gandhi Eye Hospital in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, is systematically working through the region village by village, examining patients and organizing antibiotic treatment, and carrying out research to determine the ways in which infection is spread."

Yaws on the island and the "PAM": Indonesia, 1957
Homer Page wrote the following introduction to his 1957 photo report on yaws in Indonesia: "Indonesia (92 million inhabitants spread over 3,000 islands) hopes to be finally rid of yaws in 1965. The Indonesian yaws eradication programme is directed by Dr R. Kodijat and is the largest yaws programme in South East Asia. It is supported by WHO and UNICEF. In the course of 10 years, 34 million people have been examined and 5.5 million infected persons have been treated. Our photographs show the work of a team which on board the PAM brings the cure from island to island. Many villages of Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes) and the Moluccas can only be reached by boat. WHO is applying in other parts of the world the methods tried out in the islands."

“Page was devoted to the visible facts of his world, but his real goal was something much deeper: the emotional tenor of life at that time and that place. This is a body of work of great passion, intelligence, and artistic integrity."
-- Kevin Davis, curator of photography, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA