In terms of logistics, I am planning to set aside a few studio days in a Manhattan location once I have sufficient number of potential participants lined up. I am hoping to produce this work within the next couple of months, and am flexible when it comes to scheduling appointments for the portrait sessions, which could happen in the evenings or on weekends. In some cases where people might have difficulties coming to the studio, I could potentially set up a backdrop at their house. The participants' surgeries do not necessarily have to have happened recently. In fact, I think it would add an interesting dimension to include the time aspect of how long some recipients have lived with the donated organ as part of the biographical information that will accompany the photographs.
I am a Brooklyn-based photojournalist who specializes in public health issues, working regularly with a number of national and international magazines, such as People Magazine, Time, US News & World Report, Stern, Der Spiegel, as well as a host of women's magazines. Topics
I have covered in the past include pediatric and geriatric HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, down syndrome, ADHD and other behavioral disorders, autism, recovering anorexics and polytrauma in an Iraq war veteran, to name a few.
I am currently researching the production of a studio portrait
series that would show pairs of New York City tri-state area organ donors and their recipients. The pairings would illustrate the various
relationships that living donors have to their recipients, from family ties over married couples to strangers who found each other ... I am envisioning a series of posed portraits that are paired in diptychs, so I would want to photograph each person individually. Photographing donor and recipient separately would also make scheduling the portrait sessions easier - a pair could choose to come to a photo shoot together, or separately, if they prefer. I would work with each subject on figuring out how they want to pose, making this a collaborative
process. The variation from pair to pair would completely depend on the individuals: maybe a donor is proud to show off their scar, while a recipient would want to show only their face in the picture, or vice versa...... The project would show at least some of the donors' or recipients' scars, as this is after all about the human body.
For logistical reasons, l am looking for volunteers who will be able to be photographed in the NYC tri-state area, and as part of a pair of organ donor & recipient. As an exception, if someone wanted to participate even though their organ recipient or living donor may have passed away since the donation, I might be able to integrate those cases into the project as well.
I am planning on producing this series independently, and will distribute the final essay (which would combine the images with quotes
and brief stories and background information of the people involved) to
magazines or newspapers via my agency, Aurora Select. My motivation behind this series is the recurring theme of organ shortages that has cropped up in recent news articles. Creating compelling portraits would, I believe, call extra attention to this pressing issue. Participants would, of course, receive copies of their portraits.