This work is about peoples stories with healthcare. Whether patients or their family members, doctors or nurses, other healthcare workers or those who know little of its practice, these images and words-their words- create not just a portrait of them but a picture of their own complex relationship to illness.
These portraits, made by the repeated writing of each person's story, line by line on the page, writing their words over and on top of each other, bring out the person's face. They serve as a testament to their story as well as a reminder of the tedious and unremitting nature of being sick and taking care of those who are.
Even though these portraits are vague, in part to maintain the anonymity and dignity of each person, the images' lack of definition also represents the flawed and fragile part of ourselves that we desperately do not want to see: that illness is something that can obscure and cloud our sense of self.
The stories told in these works are of depression, wisdom, and love, chronic illness, joy, and confusion, lives on the verge of being thrown away, those who attempt to hold onto them, and those who can only sit by and watch. The roles these people play are multiple; sometimes both patient and parent, sometimes both doctor and depressed. But in all cases these people reveal a complicated humanity in dialog with illness.
These stories and images illustrate, with their illegibility, the incomprehensibility of illness in our culture. For the people in these portraits, their stories challenge the notion of being defined by their own medical history -professional, patient or otherwise- and declare them as powerful authors their own experience.