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21 Weeks: Caregiver Documentary Photography

And just like that our world changed. Some of you are caring for family members in isolation, many are suddenly working from home with kids underfoot, many more have been laid off and are uncertain of what the future holds, others are on the front lines in healthcare roles and essential services working everyday to keep people safe and supported. Everyone is grieving what their life was like and adjusting to a new normal.

The sudden changes in our lives brought about by the global pandemic are similar to the upheaval a family may feel when a child is born prematurely…when there are serious concerns about a child’s development…when a child if first diagnosed with a disease or condition. There is uncertainty. There is grief. But there are also new connections and growth, as families adapt to these new and unexpected circumstances. I’m here to tell you that you can do it. There will be difficult days. There will be days you just need to remember to breathe. There will be days when you will cry or scream or hide. But you can do this.

As a photographer, it is my goal to make documentary family photography accessible for all medical, special needs, and palliative families. It’s important that families facing challenges, particularly the caregivers, see themselves in their story. Right now, we are all facing challenges. The 21 Weeks photography project tells the beautiful story of one resilient family.

We are 14 weeks into this project and this past week our assignment was to submit our “new” set of ten captioned images to our 21 Weeks photography mentor, Kristine Nyborg, where she again critiqued the story. The image above is actually just one image in a slideshow – swipe left or click the arrows to see the rest of the images.

I spent hours agonizing over which photos to submit and since our video critique session I have second guessed more than half of them. I’m not quite sure how this project will continue in the current situation. Like many things, we will have to wait and see. Though I know the next time I post about it I will probably have a different set of images.

But the best part to come out of this project is the connection Melanie and I have. When one or the other of us is having a challenging day we will be able to talk it out over a glass of wine and a chat, whether that means over the phone, the computer or one day, in hopefully the not too future, over coffee.

This Zoom conversation with Alisa Foster of Empowering Special Needs Parents, touches on some of the background for the 21 Weeks project, as well as all things parenting during a pandemic.

If storytelling through documentary photography is of interest to you, for either your family or your organization, please connect with me.

PS Kristine has set up a free online class called Corona Stories if you are interested in learning with her. There is one for photographers and one for non-photographers. Highly recommended!

Published by Kristy Wolfe Stories

Kristy is an engaging, open, and honest Common Language DST trained digital storytelling facilitator. She has been speaking and teaching workshops on both photography & digital storytelling for 5 years. With a background in the education, healthcare, and non-profit sectors, she works with diverse audiences, prioritizing ethics in storytelling and storyteller wellbeing.

2 thoughts on “21 Weeks: Caregiver Documentary Photography

  1. The photos are excellent. You have captured the love, the warmth, the joy and the hard work that is involved. I found the pictures moving, and I am so proud of Melanie in the way she handles her own journey with my darling grandchild.

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