Photo Essay



This past Spring someone very close to me had to be hospitalized for weeks with a life-threatening issue (from which they've thankfully now fully recovered). Obviously I spent a lot of time at the hospital. The people who work there are, as a rule, highly dedicated and caring. The environment though is defined by illness - of course, but also by the ever-present risk of complications, and by the kafka-esque net of bureaucratic restrictions and regulations that results largely from the influence of insurance companies. Put this all together, and you've got a place which comes as close as I've encountered to a kind of limbo. It's about endlessly traversing hallways, and endlessly waiting for news, or to be called on to do something, all the time dealing with the anxiety and the ups and downs of your loved one's condition. I used photography as therapy to help me through it, and these are some of the resulting images.

My thanks and best wishes for continued good health to Rhio9, whose own photo projects during his hospital stays gave me the idea to do this.

And now, also huge thanks to Michael Risenhoover, to Paul Lavallee, and to Meggie Schwendemann for nominating this as Story of the Week.

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22 responses

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (13 Aug 2010):

    a wonderful series.....and, homage to R9. Thank you Alexis.

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (13 Aug 2010):

    Absolutely RAD !! What ah mess the health care industry has gotten into, Insurance companies, Lawyers, Doctors amazing anyone survives.

  • Al Stiegman

    Al Stiegman   gave props (13 Aug 2010):

    Who would have thought that peopleless images could say so much about people. Very well done Alexis.

  • Mary Ann Reilly

    Mary Ann Reilly gave props (13 Aug 2010):

    This moved me, made me think, and reminded me of the hospitals I have visited and the Kafka texts I've read. Well done, Alexis.

  • Rhio9 (Rhio9)

    Rhio9 (Rhio9) (Deleted) said (13 Aug 2010):

    youve done some amazing pieces of art, such brilliant expressions of that inner no-man's land, which i also know, and i can see it in your work, and i can feel it in you. personally, my ability to see anything at all and maybe photograph took huge leaps for me that i probably never would have been able to even perceive. i know the same thing has happened, and is happening, to you and thru you. i wish you well, all the best to you now and in the future. thank you for your sensitive mention.

  • Nicolette de Joncaire

    Nicolette de Joncaire   gave props (14 Aug 2010):

    The bareness of these images conveys tremendous emotion. Thank you Alexis for this pictures

  • Maria Mutch

    Maria Mutch (Deleted) gave props (14 Aug 2010):

    Love your words here, too, Alexis; wonderful images.

  • Lise Utne

    Lise Utne gave props (14 Aug 2010):

    Wonderful set of images -- so technically perfect, as always, and so perfectly conveying what you set out to describe. I am glad to learn that your loved one has recovered!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (14 Aug 2010):

    An amazingly accurate rendition of a hospital stay as patient/loved one, simply excellent my friend, I voted!

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (14 Aug 2010):

    YES YES...

  • claudia luthi

    claudia luthi gave props (15 Aug 2010):

    maravilloso foto-ensayo que trasciende el limbo del quehacer fotográfico a un estado iluminado

  • Simon Kossoff

    Simon Kossoff (Deleted) said (16 Aug 2010):

    Outstanding and incredible photo essay! Story of the year!

  • Gary Joseph Cohen כוהן

    Gary Joseph Cohen כוהן (Deleted) gave props (17 Aug 2010):

    What strikes me, as always about your work, is the emptiness that ironically fills your spaces. Like an empty stage, these photos discharge a shock to the core: anticipation of a theatrical experience, however rehearsed or off-the-cuff it may be. The anticipation for something to happen, while feeling like perhaps I arrived too late to the "show" makes me very uneasy. Brilliant work, Alexis.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (18 Aug 2010):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • Paul Lavallee

    Paul Lavallee gave props (19 Aug 2010):

    What an amazing collection of images!

  • Michele Randell

    Michele Randell gave props (19 Aug 2010):

    A truly brilliant essay about the empty voids we pass through as human beings....that sense of uneasiness of not knowing the outcome is so prevalent in this body of work..

  • Michele Randell

    Michele Randell gave props (19 Aug 2010):

    Voted for sure!!!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (23 Aug 2010):

    Great. Voted!

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt gave props (29 Sep 2010):

    Great essay and images!

  • Aaron Schwartz

    Aaron Schwartz gave props (5 Nov 2010):

    Somehow I missed this until now. Superb.

  • Jason Platt

    Jason Platt gave props (25 Nov 2010):

    how did I miss this..easy vote on more of your outstanding work!

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