Sunday, 16 August 2009

Three Beautiful Girls

Bethany, six months after her liver transplant

Bethany and her sister, Eloise, enjoying art and crafts at The National Railway Museum

Eloise in the spotlight

The last couple of days were supposed to bring a whistle stop tour of Manchester, after first stopping of at York to meet another family whose child has recently had a life saving liver transplant. It didn't all go completely to plan. The blog title should have been four beautiful girls but the fourth, someone waiting for a transplant, was unwell with an infection and, potentially a stomach bug. As William was travelling with me, it meant that shoot had to be postponed as infection, especially stomach bugs can be dangerous for him.

We still had a good couple of days and captured some great images. We started off at The National Railway Museum in York where we spent the day with Bethany and her family. Bethany had a liver transplant early this year. You can read about her life before transplant here The difference Bethany's transplant has made to her is clear to see as soon as you look at her pink, healthy face and watch her endlessly run and dance around with boundless energy. William adored her and Eloise. Eloise has been an important part of Bethany's transplant journey. The family were able to stay together in a flat near the hospital while Bethany was recovering. Siblings often get left out and marginalised when there is a sick child in he family. This was something I explored in the pictures I took of them. Overall, the pictures reflect two very happy and healthy little girls, full of love and energy. There are a lot of them too. I will have a hard job chosing which to use in the exhibition and book.
From York, William and I travelelled to Manchester, staying over night in a Travelodge, which was an interesting experience. William refused to sleep! I was somewhat tired when I met Holly the next morning.
Holly received a kidney transplant at the end of last year. Many people will know her face as she is a tireless campaigner for organ donation. She was featured on Channel 4's Battlefront programme and has been on TV and in the media a lot with her 'Gift of Life' campaign. Holly is also an advocate for Life Life Then Give Life and you can read more about her here

I had originally thought of capturing Holly doing her campaigning but many a photographer before me has done that for the numerous articles about her. Instead, we wondered around Manchester, enjoying some of the things that were impossible for Holly to do before her transplant. We were thrown out of 'Harvey Nics' where we tried to take some shots of Holly lusting over Jimmy Choos and sequened gowns. Apparently, Jimmy Choos may not want to be associated with this! We should have applied for a permit to find out. Another practical lesson learned. Holly was keen to be pictured with ice-cream, something she wasn't allowed when on dialysis. In true British tradition, the heavens opened as soon as we had bought some. Our plans for shots of Holly enjoying a summer ice-cream beside The Windmill were scuppered and we had to head for shelter. Thanks to Selfridges and Marks for the under cover walkway we sheltered in and the interesting back drop we took advantage of. No-one stopped us in there and we got our shots.

Holly enjoying her ice-cream and remembering the days when it was strictly off the menu.


  1. These are lovely yet striking images to depict the true benefits of organ donation. Fab stuff as always! :-) xx

  2. How lucky am I? Lucky to have the first two in my life and lucky to have the third campaigning for organ donation after being given the gift of life herself. How wonderful that they are here to be photographed.