about Rainier School

This project was

included in Invisible Solitudes-Life at the Edge of Mental Health, Milan 2012

featured in Dodho, July 2014

featured in Russian Esquire (print and online) March 2013

featured in L’espresso, February 2013

on SocialDocumentary.net

about Rainier School (DSHS)

Rainier-2The Rainier School is a state operated institution for the developmentally disabled, not far from Seattle at the base of beautiful Mount Rainier. The school at the Rainier School disappeared years ago. There are no young people. Many of its residents have lived there for their entire lives. They have been betrayed by their minds, and many cases, their bodies. Most of its residents are now elderly, and this extensive campus (complete with pool, bowling alley, restaurant and its own farm) is now home to only about 370 people, about 20% of its peak capacity.

My objective was to document the final days of a school-turned rest home. In a sense, it is a carefully monitored prison. In another, it is a charming country club. Nowadays, as we avoid the institutionalization of the developmentally disabled, the Rainier School and many similar facilities are the victims of our social progress. These images represent the end of a major public commitment, and the unique culture it created. 

-Steve Davis 2007

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