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.

The Empathy Project #30

In many of my patient interviews I have asked people that are older what they remember of World War II or the Korean War. These are wars I know well from studying history but I obviously have no first hand knowledge of the events. The first war that I remember, and which surely defined my youth, was the Vietnam War. I distinctly remember watching it on the news every night and being quite scared about the possibility of being drafted, though I was too young to actually be drafted at the  time. Of course, nobody knew how long the war might go on for. Vietnam, and the social changes surrounding it, were the defining events of my generation. And so, for the first time as part of this project, I had the opportunity to talk to someone who served his country in Vietnam. It wasn't an easy interview and I believe you can tell quite a bit not only from what this gentlemen says, but also from the tone of his voice.

© Howard GRill

© Howard GRill


Back in September, I had introduced my Empathy Project. The idea behind this 'humanism in medicine' 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.

If you receive my posts by email, the audio won't come along with the, if you would like to listen, check it out on the blog itself at