The Operating Room
While I was going through the images I have shot during the last 2 years, I found a peculiar set of images that drew my attention. I don’t know why I didn’t take notice before, but I’ve decided to publish them under one of the portfolios that I’m currently building up, based on portraiture. I think that this set of photographs is very interesting in the sense that I’m sharing a very intimate and important moment with each person pictured here. These are the kind of profoundly personal moments when you don’t want to be interrupted, and you don’t want to be distracted, but for some reason that eludes me today, we all agreed to make it happen.
These images were made in a heart surgery facility in Iraq, where I followed these surgeons and assistants, who were running for twelve straight days in order to save lives of children with congenital heart diseases. This was a first attempt to fight back at the lack of help available for Iraqi children born with these heart conditions (for more information see, Preemptive Love Coalition). If I’m not wrong on this, three of those little guys died during the campaign, which added tension of the situation.
For some reason I decided to make portraits of the people working there, either on their way in or out of the operating room.
I remember there was the OR, then a small corridor and an office where the medical staff could go to try to relax and perhaps smoke, before going back to fight between life and death. I used that corridor, with a window and curtain as the background, and taped my softbox to a tripod and a reflector (on the other side of the corridor) to the wall. That was it. Done in 5 minutes, and with not much time to finesse the settings to deal with the poor lighting there.
I remember the faces of doctors and assistants who could not believe that I was setting up a studio in a place like that. Maybe I was wrong in my intention, I don’t know, but I knew I had to give it a shot. And so I did.
These are some of the photographs from that day. As you can see, they are an abstraction from what was really happening in those long, tense hours where children were fighting for their lives, where parents were praying to God and where this group of doctors were trying to do what they have been prepared for…