While Facing Light has initiated projects on Aging and Schizophrenia, another exhibit in the works is focused on blindness. While there are so many sight challenged individuals out there with amazing stories and accomplishments, this exhibit is focused not on their stories, but on them, the individual, the faces of blindness. The aim is to force the viewer to see blindness, to see the individual – not what they have done in the face of challenges they have overcome, but to see the person. Hearing about the strength against adversity stories, it is easy for a sighted person to look past the individual and focus on the accomplishment, the end instead the journey. With Seeing Blindness, the Facing Light Foundation aims to refocus the viewer to the person, the face of blindness.
We hear stories about people meeting online, sharing similar interests, fighting similar causes, maybe even meeting their next partner. The world is vast and yet the internet enables us to experience places, people and communities we might never have known. For cancer patients the internet provides a wealth of resources, not the least of which are online support groups where people can chat, share experiences, laugh, and cry, and support one another both in difficult times and in good. Sometimes you just want someone who can relate to what you’re feeling, someone who just gets it.
One of the most rewarding elements of the Facing Chemo project has been watching the friendships that evolve as a result. The connections that occur because of this common thread called cancer, can be powerful beyond explanation. I’ll never forget an experience I had at the show’s initial opening. I was standing with one woman, a participant who had gone through treatment for ovarian cancer, a vicious aggressive disease, and this woman was a true warrior. Another participant approached us, weaving her way through the crowded room, looked at the woman beside me with wells of tears in her wearied eyes, and quietly asked, “ovarian cancer?” and with outstretched arms whispered, “me too.” Those women had never spoken, but they knew of each other from the project, and stood in that room amidst nearly 300 people, hugging and crying for what seemed like an infinite period of time. It’s one of my most favorite experiences from that extremely emotional night.
Those connections are the ones that I think back upon when sharing the story of these two beautiful women pictured both above and below. Bob had the pleasure of shooting them in his studio just a few weeks ago. They met online, their connection so strong that they currently talk every day – chemo buddies for life. While they didn’t actually meet through the Facing Chemo project, they did meet for the first time, in person, for a photo shoot in Bob’s studio – and what a wonderful experience it was to capture these now lifelong friends!
A selection of images from the Facing Chemo Before & After exhibit will be on display at a gallery in Switzerland this summer as part of a larger exhibit on the human condition. WER BIN ICH? WHO AM I?
WER BIN ICH?
Was kann ich wissen, was soll ich tun, was darf ich hoffen?
WHO AM I?
What can I know what should I do, what I should hope?
Trying to understand our Identity has preoccupied mankind since time immemorial. Each and every one of us grapples with the issue throughout our lifetime. Nevertheless, none of us can clearly or definitively answer the question: What makes us the person we are today? What impact does our environment have on our sense of self and what is predetermined by our genetic makeup? The Exhibition invites you to delve into the complexity of your Identity, to engage with your own unique personality, to question its assumptions and educate it further. Thoughts and insights of the curators are illustrated through artworks, new media and exhibits from every day life and assist the visitor to playfully explore who they are, what motivates them and what they still may want to become.
Vögele Kultur Zentrum
CH – 8808 Pfäffikon SZ
For more information [in German]
Last month, images from Facing Light’s project, Facing Chemo Before & After, hung at a symposium put on at Brown University focused on using art in the healing process. The Symposium, hosted by Artists and Scientists as Partners, was entitled Designing the Next Steps – Art, Health & Design. The work that they do centers around advocating for persons with Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders and using dance as a healing tool.
“Brown’s initiative (in the intersection of art and science) will send a message to the arts and science communities throughout academic and research institutions and lend credibility to a burgeoning field of study. It will also add to Brown’s reputation for innovative and collaborative research. With new information and research supporting the benefits of the arts on people with Parkinson’s and Autism, doctors, educators, and artists will have new approaches to offer. Possible outcomes could be reduced need for medications and medical care. At the least, there will be evidence that there are effective options to current approaches.” [Brown-ASaP site]
Given the synergy with ASaP and Facing Light’s work, we were thrilled to be invited to collaborate with the event.
We are honored to have been recognized by the 2015 International Photography Awards for Social Cause!
New pages were added to our Facing Light website. Information regarding news and upcoming press can be found in the ‘about’ drop-down menu. Check it out!