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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Empathy Project Opening

I have completed sharing the Empathy Project portraits and audio that I have processed thus far, and will return to posting them when I have then next group of five ready.

I am very pleased that the hospital I work for decided to make this project public. They recently renovated the lobby of one of the three hospitals in the system and chose to display the first five portraits in the project there and, to make it even better, mounted audio bars beneath each portrait so that visitors can listen to the stories. In a few months, they are opening another outpatient facility and the second group of five will be displayed there, also with the audio!

For the opening of the renovated lobby, we invited the patients whose portraits appeared and I had the opportunity to give them each an 8x10 of their photo. To conclude this second group of five portraits, I thought I would share a few snapshots from the opening.

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The Empathy Project - X

Back in September, I had introduced my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

As I make these posts the portraits and audio will be added to my Empathy Project Portfolio, where all the entries can be seen and listened to in a group.

 
empathy 10.jpg
 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, the audio will not come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it, at www.howardgrill.com/blog)

The Empathy Project - IX

Back in September I had introduced my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

This particular interview was perhaps the most difficult one I have had to edit. We spoke for about 15 minutes and, frankly, there was very little I felt compelled to edit out.....but I had to to get it down to a reasonable listening time to go with one photo.

This gentleman is 95 years old and speaks truly eloquently about the many events he has witnessed in his life, from living through the depression to watching history unfold as a guard at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials at the end of World War II. He has truly led a remarkable life!

As I make these posts, the portraits and audio will be added to my Empathy Project Portfolio, where all the entries can be seen and listened to as a group.

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, the audio will not come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it, at www.howardgrill.com/blog)

The Empathy Project - VIII

Back in September I had introduced my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

As I make these posts the portraits and audio will be added to my Empathy Project Portfolio, where all the entries can be seen and listened to as a group.

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 
 
 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, the audio will not come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it at www.howardgrill.com/blog)

The Empathy Project - VII

Back in September I had introduced my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

I have previously posted my portraits and audio interviews for the first five patients in the project. I have now processed the portraits and edited the audio for the next five and will be posting them sequentially in this blog. I hope you will take the time to listen to their stories.

As I make these posts the portraits and audio will be added to my Empathy Project Portfolio, where all the entries can be seen and listened to in a group.

 
empathy 7.jpg
 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, the audio will not come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it at www.howardgrill.com/blog)

The Empathy Project - VI

Back in September I had introduced my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

I have previously posted my portraits and audio interviews for the first five patients in the project. I have now processed the portraits and edited the audio for the next five and will be posting them sequentially in this blog. I hope you will take the time to listen to their stories.

As I make these posts the portraits and audio will be added to my Empathy Project Portfolio, where all the entries can be seen and listened to in a group.

I find the story that accompanies this portrait particularly interesting, as it ends up touching on ideas regarding art and the process of creating.

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, the audio will not come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it.).

The Empathy Project V

In my last few posts, I had the opportunity to introduce my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

Today I am posting the fifth entry in the project.  I like the idea of doing five at a time and then going back to work on more. For this reason, after this post I will go back to my more usual blog posts of varied subjects and images, and, after I have five more patients in the Empathy Project completed, plan to post the next five in sequence. I suspect this will take several weeks at least. I do hope that those of you that may have subscribed specifically because of this project will find continued interest in my posts until the next group of five patients has been prepared.

Today's 'patient' really isn't a patient of mine at all (though she is a patient).....she is my mother :)  She was a very devoted teacher in an inner city school. For those who are old enough to remember the show "Welcome Back Kotter", she too was a teacher at the school she had attended as a child.

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, I don't believe the audio will come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it.).

Click here to listen to view and listen to the entire Empathy Project to date.

The Empathy Project IV

In my last few posts, I had the opportunity to introduce my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs, and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

Today I offer the fourth installment of the project. I plan to post a series of five and then return to other, non-Empathy Project blog posts as I prepare the next five, which will likely take several weeks to complete.

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, the audio will not come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it.).

Click here to listen to view and listen to the entire Empathy Project to date.

The Empathy Project III

In my last few posts, I had the opportunity to introduce my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

Today I offer the third installment of the project. I plan to post a series of five and then return to other, non-Empathy Project blog posts as I prepare the next five, which will likely take a few weeks.

 
 Copyright Howard Grill

 Copyright Howard Grill

 
 
 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, I don't believe the audio will come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it.).

Click here to listen to view and listen to the entire Empathy Project to date.

The Empathy Project II

In my last post, I had the opportunity to introduce my Empathy Project. The idea behind the project is that doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. This is particularly true in this era of the electronic medical record. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people' by having me take their portrait and record their stories at the end of their visit to my office.

Today I offer the second installment of the project. I plan to post a series of five and then take a break as I prepare the next five.

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, I don't believe the audio will come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post if you would like to hear it.)

The Empathy Project

I would like to introduce a new project that I have been working on that really means quite a bit to me. As many readers may know, my 'real job' is as a cardiologist, and I have often thought about how I might integrate photography with my job as a physician. Recently, that integration has become a reality.

The idea for this project has been mulling in my mind for quite some time. The motivation to finally initiate it was based partly on a Brooks Jensen podcast (#962), where Brooks discussed the importance of going out of one's comfort zone and, instead of photographing things that are easily available, ASKING to photograph things that require permission to shoot. I decided it was time to do some asking.

The genesis of my idea was as follows:

Doctors often see patients without nearly as much time as they would like to have in order to get to know them  as 'people'. It's easy for doctors to lose sight of the fact that patients have the same types of lives as they do, with the same ups and downs and with interesting events that they have either witnessed or lived through. This project is an attempt to recognize 'patients as people'. That's the idea....of course, moving forward, I will write a more formal 'Artist's Statement', but I wanted to share the project as it was coming together.

But on to the specifics. What I wanted to do was to take several (or more) minutes at the end of some of my office visits to talk to patients about themselves and their stories, not just their symptoms and diseases. I wanted to ask if I might take their portrait with a camera I brought in (nothing fancy, no time for big setups or flash, just the overhead office lighting and adjustments made in Photoshop) and record some of our conversation that I would then edit to 1-3 minutes in length to accompany their portrait in order to let people 'know who they were'. I really had no idea how people would react. The fact is that very nearly all the folks that I asked were very willing, and often excited, about participating.

Of course, in order to do this I had to do some asking. I had to both ask the hospital for permission to do the project and also ask the patients, if they said yes, to also sign consents. To my surprise, the hospital administration totally loved the idea. In fact, if everything went well, they wanted me to print the portraits large and display then in the main lobby of two outpatient facilities.  They even wanted to install permanent speakers into the lobby walls so that visitors could not only see the portraits, but also hear the audio that went with them. So, just by asking, I received not only permission, but also a more or less permanent display with plans to change the portraits and audio once or twice a year at two separate locations. Like Brooks said, just ask!

 
© Howard Grill

© Howard Grill

 
 
 

With some help from our media department, I have decided to call the project "The Empathy Project". I was initially against this name because, though I liked its conciseness, I thought empathy implied 'pity'.  Turns out that isn't the meaning of empathy at all. It means "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, with a desire to help", and that just seems very fitting.

I have completed the first grouping of five portraits, and this is the first of the images and audio. The next four posts will complete this first series, and I plan on posting further series of five as I complete them. I hope you find the project and the portraits/audio interesting and meaningful! If you do,  please feel free to share it!

(If you are an email subscriber to the blog, I don't believe the audio will come along with the email.....so please visit the on-line blog post here if you would like to hear it.)