From the Publisher: Mar 19 1990

The extraordinary pictures illustrating this week's cover story are the work of a remarkable photographer, Ruven Afanador, 31. What Colombian-born Afanador describes as "luminously toned" portraits are not the usual stuff of our full-color magazine. "I had admired his portfolio and had been looking for several months for the right assignment for him," says MaryAnne Golon, TIME's assistant picture editor for special projects. "I knew immediately that this was the one. Because Ruven is as calm and tasteful as his pictures, he was able to work with the families of our subjects without being intrusive."

To meet his deadline, Afanador had...

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