John Ranard first recognized the potential HIV epidemic in Russia during the summer of 1995 when he photographed Moscow university students home-cook and then inject their own chemistry. At the time there were less than 1,000 people registered with HIV inside Russia. With financial support from Open Society Institute - New York he was able to continue this photographic documentary. Today 85% of new infections are drug related. This is the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world according to UN-AIDS.
His photographic essays on this subject emphasize and encourage humane solutions to help stem the problem. "Inside a High-Risk Community" won First Place - Issue Reporting Photo Story by the University of Missouri School of Journalism 55th Pictures of Year award after being published in the New York Times Week in Review, November 1997.
Medecins Sans Frontieres published "The Fire Within" in collaboration with AIDS Foundation East / West as a policy statement explaining the rational for harm reduction inside Eastern Europe. The photographs have been exhibited at the Andrei Sakharov Museum in Moscow; the Center for Contemporary Art in Kiev; the Old Church in Amsterdam; The Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville - Kentucky; OK Harris Gallery, New York; The New York Camera Club; and the International Harm Reduction Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Ranard's photo-documentary "The Brutal Aesthetic" won the Kentucky State Arts Grant - Al Smith Fellowship. Doubleday published a selection of these photographs in "ON BOXING" by Joyce Carol Oates with photographs by John Ranard. The photographs were exhibited at the International Center for Photography - New York exhibition "Best Photography Books - 1987."
Ranard is collected by the University of Louisville Photographic Archives - Fine Print Collection, the Andrei Sakharov Museum, Open Society Institute, the Graham Nash Photography Collection, and the Brooklyn Museum.