After graduating from nursing school, I spent a summer working in a public health organization in Tamil Nadu. Travelling through rural south India allowed me to observe and catalog some of the very real challenges faced by India's public health system: Shortages of staff, lack of adequate supplies, and a heavy burden of both chronic and infectious disease borne by the population which local public health clinics were meant to serve.
Photography and nursing may seem like disparate career paths at first glance, but consider the similarities: Both photography and nursing require a great deal of technical skill, and the ability to establish an often profound level of intimacy with others - while at the same time maintaining a degree of clinical objectivity, so that the patient may be cared for, so that the photograph can be taken.
My photographs have always been documentary style, attempting to capture the spontaneity and authenticity of a moment before it passes. But photographing as a nurse, I have found my work becoming more intimate, portrait-like. Learning to be a better clinician and establishing those bonds with patients has also helped me to connect with the subjects of my photographs in a more intimate way.
For me, becoming a better nurse means becoming a better photographer, and vice-versa.
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