“Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot…”

"Sophia"
“Sophia”

Day 200

Back in January, I found a volunteer opportunity with a Long-term care facility here in Denver.  They were looking for a photographer to go on-site and take portraits of the seniors’ who called the facility home with the intent of decorating the walls with the portraits.  After months and months of waiting, today was the day…

I guess I hadn’t spent an enormous amount of time thinking about how folks would be, or if they would be well enough for photos/interactions, etc.  I had spent days studying, reading, practicing and preparing on the technical side so that I would be ready to provide the highest level of technical expertise.

"Gloria"
“Gloria”

I arrived early, nervous and sweaty with excitement and anticipation.  I was relieved when the receptionist greeted me with a big smile, she had me sign in on a clipboard, pinned a badge to my shirt, and whisked me away to a large sun-filled room with a smell that reminded me of my grandpa’s bathroom; a nostalgic mixture of Listerine, Allspice and Colgate toothpaste.  One by one the residents were wheeled in, and with each new face I felt more and more excited to get started, and more and more sure that I really have found my calling….

"Sophia II"
“Sophia II”

Nearly all of the residents were dealing with some form of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or post-stroke rehabilitation.  Only a few could tell me their name, but it really didn’t matter to me that we couldn’t speak with words, not one bit.  You see, as I started taking their portraits I started telling my story, silly times and stories about my niece, how I met my husband, my joys – dumb things I’ve done.  I tried to capture smiles, but more than that I tried to capture that moment when recognition flashed from distant eyes, that brief flicker I could only hope was one of awareness.  My hope was that maybe something from my goofy stories and ramblings had helped to create a moment of recognition that they were still here, still beautiful, and still worthy of love, attention and a beautiful photo.

The staff thanked me as I left, but it is I who felt grateful, and I who feels the need to humbly thank them too.  I chose to post only a handful of photos today, and so I chose my favorite captures from a highly emotional and deeply moving experience…

"John"
“John”

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

14 thoughts on ““Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot…”

      1. janelily7

        Yes they do. They each hold such character in their faces.
        I’m on a photography learning curve and I value your work.

        Like

  1. spearfruit

    I have to say, I enjoy viewing every photo you take – but I think these are my favorites! As you mentioned in your comment, they capture a real moment in time – sometimes we just need to stop and view these folks and think about the lives they lived! Amazing, truly amazing! 🙂

    Like

  2. Dave

    The photo’s of Sophia, Gloria and John are moving and caused me to pause and really look at them. I feel you captured them with depth, respect and sincerity and feel that these are among your best photos. I am amazed at watching you grow in your art and am so excited to see whats coming. Awesome photos!

    Like

  3. Jamie Price

    I like the pictures, it makes my mind drift to imagining when they were 10 – or 12, 29, 35, 40, 50. I like to imagine what they were doing, what they were living. It will be great to see more of your shots!

    Like

  4. Susan Berzac

    How wonderful, Molly. I can only imagine the stories behind those faces. There are so many things I never asked my parents. Now, it’s lost. I hope that these beautiful pictures will remind folks to ask while they can.

    Like

    1. The Photo Enthusiast

      Thanks Susan, I’m so happy to ‘see’ you here! I’ve been trying with each visit with my own parents to get them to share a memory or a funny story – I want to soak up all that I can…:)

      Like

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