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Data journalist @seattletimes | Former @MarshallProj | Former @neo4j data fellow @ICIJorg | @ColumbiaJourn alumni

Part 1: An unusual path into adulthood

By Manuel Villa

1992 was a symbolic year for Frederick Eberstadt. Having graduated from the masters program in social work at Columbia University, he eagerly looked forward to his dream career as a psychotherapist. It was also the year he received his first social security check.

Born in 1926, age was one contrast he had with his mostly younger fellow students, but by far not the only one. Although the majority belonged to a different generation, in all likelihood they all knew who Audrey Hepburn was; unlike Eberstadt however, probably none of them had ever met her, let alone posed…


Part 1: An unusual path into adulthood

By Manuel Villa

1992 was a symbolic year for Frederick Eberstadt. Having graduated from the masters program in social work at Columbia University, he eagerly looked forward to his dream career as a psychotherapist. It was also the year he received his first social security check.

Born in 1926, age was one contrast he had with his mostly younger fellow students, but by far not the only one. Although the majority belonged to a different generation, in all likelihood they all knew who Audrey Hepburn was; unlike Eberstadt however, probably none of them had ever met her, let alone posed…


Part 3: The Abyss

(Read Part 1 & Part 2)

In 2020, the World Health Organization estimated that about a quarter billion people around the world suffer from depression.

Theories about the roots of the illness are vast, but the most accepted ones consider it a brain disorder caused by the interrelation of genetic, neurochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. Brain images from people suffering depression look different from those otherwise healthy. How all those factors interact to produce the illness, however, appears to be an eternal work in progress.

People suffering from depression not only altogether lose interest in anything they once found joyful…


Part 2: Behind the lens

By Manuel Villa

(Read Part 1)

I was sure he paid no attention to it

The American sense of fashion would arguably be vastly different today had Richard Avedon never held a camera in his hands. Recognized as one of the most transformative figures of fashion photography, his career developed hand-in-hand with the post-war massive popularization of fashion. Not only his work, but his very persona — wiry frame, chaotically unkempt hairstyle — was ingrained in the industry. Dick Avery, the fashion photographer character played by Fred Astaire in the 1957 film Funny Face, was based on Avedon.

The Eberstadts were not strangers to the legendary photographer. Frederick’s job…

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