Friday, 8 May 2009

Jess - Showing it as it is!

I am writing this feeling tired out after a fantastic week but a busy one. Gifts of Life is a national project and involves travel. It is great fun travelling to new places and meeting people but fitting it in around the children and work is a challenge and one that demands I set off early in the morning. So today I was up again at 6am to get William's feeds and drugs and packed lunches for the girls ready before heading off for another photoshoot. It is worth it every time. Every time I meet amazing and inspirational person and family. It is an honour and a privilege to be invited to capture their stories in my photographs.

Today, I travelled across country to Westgate-on-Sea to meet Jess. Jess is an absolutely amazing person. She has been waiting 4 years for a double lung transplant and has had 7 false alarms!! She is so strong and determined to help raise awareness of organ donation. Her photo shoot was very different to Gabrysia's on Tuesday. At a first glance at Gabrysia you may see nothing out of the ordinary. It is only when you look more closely that you see the blue tinge on the lips and greyness in her face. It is not so subtle with Jess. She is attached to a machine or a tank providing her with oxygen every minute of every day and needs a machine to help her to breathe deeply enough to stay alive while she is asleep. Jess was keen that I captured exactly what life is like for her as she battles to beat end stage cystic fibrosis and stay well enough to have that transplant. Early on in the photo shoot, Jess had a big coughing fit. Naturally, I stopped shooting but she motioned to me to carry on and photograph her.

We carried on the shoot in the same way and the result is a powerful set of hard hitting images that show how life is for Jess and others like her battling cystic fibrosis and waiting for lung transplants. The more I got to know Jess and her Dad, the more I could see the spirit that has kept Jess on the winning side of that battle for 4 years. I hope that has been captured in the images as well. I think the very fact that Jess not only allowed, but encouraged the kind of pictures that were taken is testimony to that. Do have a look at them in the gallery. I am going to have a hard job deciding which of those to use in the exhibition.