CD ROM: A Bronx Family Album

A Bronx Family Album
Scalo (for Macintosh and Windows)

Named for its portrait of a Puerto Rican couple living in the South Bronx, this photo-journal CD-ROM is shaped by a few immediate facts. Sensa and Ralph are HIV-positive and struggling to raise four daughters on welfare. Sensa is hooked on crack, and when her addiction compels her to turn to prostitution, she becomes pregnant again. She dies a short time later due to complications from her pregnancy and her HIV. Several months later, Ralph begins another relationship with a woman named Lucy, who, along with her two children, moves in with Ralph's family. Despite Ralph's illness, Lucy is determined to have his child, although the new family is broken up when Lucy is arrested for abusing one of Sensa's children.

Photographer Steve Hart spent six years photographing Ralph, Sensa, Lucy, and the children affected by their relationships. At the outset, Hart's purpose was to illustrate the impact of AIDS on the lives of everyday people. But the final product accomplishes much more than this: It makes painfully tangible the political realities of how AIDS and poverty transform the lives of children, demonstrating how the process of creating awareness can be facilitated by giving names and faces to the statistics. In addition to video footage of interviews with health-care experts, this humane work of art includes a national database of organizations that assist families dealing with HIV and AIDS.

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