Cuba Libre

Yenny and Eddie, Havana, Cuba, 2010Yenny and Eddie, Havana, Cuba, 2010 ©Annabel Clark

Five years ago, my husband and I spent an emotional honeymoon in Cuba in search of his father’s family whom he had never met. Upon arrival at his grandmother’s house, we found out that she had died two years earlier. But instead we got to know his two aunts and cousins, who struggle every day to make ends meet. “No es facil / It’s not easy” are words we heard on a daily basis. Words that Obama quoted in his speech this morning on restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. Thinking of my Miami and Cuban in-laws today and hoping politics can be put aside for the sake of families who have been divided for too long.

To see more images from my two trips to Cuba, see here.

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Showgirls for Nido Magazine

Nido Magazine October 2014Last winter I spent a day with beauty pageant queen and child star of TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” Isabella Barrett.  With her mother Susanna at the helm, the 7 year old self-proclaimed millionaire has her hands in many business ventures from her “Glitzy Girl” clothing and jewelry line to music videos for her songs “LOL” and “I Am Just a Kid“.  I followed Isabella and her mother as they debuted her new clothing line at New York Fashion Week.  The story focuses on their relationship and how Isabella handles being in the spotlight at such a young age.

The assignment was just published in the October issue of Germany’s Nido Magazine.

You can view more images from the assignment here.

 

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Behind the Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS  for Money MagazineSteve West and Pam LearnedChesnut Hill, PA
Anyone with a social media account (or a computer for that matter) has seen it: friends and celebrities dumping buckets of ice over their heads in the name of raising awareness for ALS.  The Ice Bucket Challenge has been making the rounds since the end of July and in that time has led to $41 million in donations to the ALS Association (and counting).  People post videos of themselves shrieking from the cold splash of ice water and then nominate friends to do the same or donate $100.  The charity stunt has received quite a bit of criticism.  Will Oremus at Slate argues that “few of the videos I’ve seen contain any substantive information about the disease, why the money is needed, or how it will be used. More than anything else, the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt.”  He encourages people to skip the ice and “just donate the damn money”.

Whether you think its a narcissistic stunt or a valid approach to raising awareness, the fact is that its working.  People who never heard of the disease are talking about it and a ton of money is being raised.  And for that reason, I say go for it.

My understanding of the rare disease came a couple of years ago when I was assigned by Money Magazine to spend 2 days photographing Steve West, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2009, and his wife Pam at their home in Philadelphia.  His first symptom was feeling weakness and tingling sensations in his left leg while jogging.  Within 6 months he was given the devastating prognosis: there is no cure for ALS and is usually fatal within 5 years.  While nerve cells slowly shut down throughout the body, the mind remains sharp as a tack.  By the time I met Steve, he had lost the use of his legs and arms and needed to use a respirator several times a day to help with his breathing.  I was struck by his kindness and positive attitude.  Pam became his full time caregiver with support from visiting nurses, social workers and neighbors.  She tries to keep their routine normal, taking him out on neighborhood walks and for lunch at the local pub.  It is now over 5 years since Steve’s diagnosis.  The muscles in his torso have stopped working so needs the ventilator full time.  Speech and eating have become more difficult.  He receives in-home hospice care.  But his spirits have been lifted each time another friend or family member takes the ice bucket challenge in his name.  Steve and Pam have been directly impacted by the services offered by the ALS Association’s Philadelphia Chapter as well as Team Gleason and encourage people to give what they can.

How you can help:

Donate to the ALS Philadelphia Chapter

According to a 2013 study by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, ALS costs a family an average of $65,000 per year.  The ALS Association’s Philadelphia Chapter works seamlessly with the Pennsylvania Hospital ALS Clinic—working with team clinicians at the clinic and making important in-home visits. Their home care and respite program provides essential relief to caregivers.  Counselors and social workers visit at home and a loaner closet defrays the costs of pricey patient lifts, wheelchairs, and other equipment.  In addition, the chapter’s assistive technology resources are a national resource.

Donate to Team Gleason

Team Gleason helps to provide patients with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases with leading edge technology, equipment and other services.

ALS  for Money MagazineSteve West and Pam LearnedChesnut Hill, PA

Steve spends mornings with his granddaughter Grace, 2, who has learned to hug him even though he can’t hug her back

ALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

A home health aide comes 4 hours per day to help get Steve ready, a routine that includes bathing him, brushing his teeth, getting him dressed and physical therapy
ALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Steve uses voice-recognition software to read the news and stay in touch with family and friends via email

ALS  for Money MagazineSteve West and Pam LearnedChesnut Hill, PA

Steve makes his way downstairs in an elevator, which the couple had to install for $24,000

ALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Pam drives Steve in a minivan that has been custom fit to transport his wheelchair
ALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Pam takes Steve for walks in the park where he used to jogALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Steve needs a respirator throughout the day to help with breathing.  Pam gets him ready for an afternoon nap.ALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Pam feeds Steve his dinner – Thai takeout
ALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Steve says good night to his daughter and granddaughter who live in the neighborhoodALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Steve’s neighbors come over several nights a week to help get him into bed with the use of a liftALS  for Money Magazine Steve West and Pam Learned Chesnut Hill, PA

Steve and Pam have spent thousands of dollars on medical equipment including a hospital bed, wheelchair, lift and elevator.  House renovations cost the couple over $50,000 to make it wheelchair accessible.

All photos ©Annabel Clark 2012

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From prey to predator


©Annabel Clark

I recently photographed Kathleen Hale, who wrote a harrowing account of sexual assault in college and the long road to her assailant’s conviction.  It is a chilling but beautifully written piece.  The Guardian Weekend Magazine ran the story and two of my portraits of Hale in their July 19th issue.

Read her powerful essay here.

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The Uncounted for CNN

I recently covered a story about the uncounted suicides in military families.  While it is known that 22 veterans kill themselves every day, it is not known how many military spouses, siblings and parents are also committing suicide.

I spent two days in November with a couple whose son was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2008. Two years later, their grieving daughter killed herself. My series of photographs of Bill and Christine Koch were published last week as part of an interactive feature on CNN.com called “The Uncounted” which explores this topic through the stories of military families: The Spouse, The Parents, The Teenager and The Sibling. The images and stories written by Ashley Fantz can be viewed here.


Photos ©Annabel Clark

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NYPH Journal

My project on Carmen and Lupita, which was the Documentary Series category winner in the 2012 New York Photo Awards, is featured in the NYPH Journal published by Powerhouse Books.  You can purchase the journal for $10 here.

NYPH Journal is a portal into the vast visual landscape that is contemporary photography. The journal focuses on the remarkable talents of photographers included in the The New York Photo Awards and features those artists alongside commissioned essays and articles from taste-makers in contemporary fine art and documentary photography, photobooks, and beyond.

Hard-hitting visual essays on pandemic obesity, gritty depictions of drug abuse in South Asia, and an intimate portrait of conjoined twins are just a handful of the documentary projects that characterize the expanse covered in NYPH Journal. These essays are published alongside innovative portfolios from up-and-comers, placing equal importance on each and ensuring important visual perspectives are recognized. With a design that focuses primarily on the photograph, each image has room to breathe, compelling the viewer to ponder the matters contained within.

Photographers featured include: I-Hsuen Chen, Annabel Clark, Christopher Dawson, Benedicte Desrus, Rami Hanafi, Adam Hinton, Acacia Johnson, Ryan Koopmans, Raul Krebs, Alexander Kreher, Kai Löffelbein, Benjamin Lowy, Steph Martyniuk, Robert Rutoed, Maria Sturm, and many, many more.

NYPH Journal is a clean and focused look at what the New York Photo Festival has always set out to showcase: “The Future of Contemporary Photography.”

 

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Eve Ensler in the Guardian


©Annabel Clark

My portrait of playwright and activist Eve Ensler appeared in the February 8th edition of the Guardian Weekend Magazine.  She discusses her global campaign to end violence against women One Billion Rising for Justice.  Read the full interview here.

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Holiday Print Sale

Two prints from my series on Carmen and Lupita are available for purchase on Visura Exchange.

Each image is available as an 8 x 10 inch digital c-print, signed by myself and the twins.  They are available in editions of 15 for $300 each and come with a personal essay written by Carmen and Lupita.

1/3 of all proceeds go directly to Carmen and Lupita to help provide for their medical and education expenses.

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Tell Me Something


©Annabel Clark

This past July, I was commissioned to shoot a portrait of the filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, who made the documentaries Trouble the Water and Citizen Koch.  Their portrait and advice appears amongst those of 60 documentary filmmakers, including Albert Maysles, Martin Scorsese, Errol Morris and Barbara Kopple in a new book titled Tell Me Something.  If you are looking for a holiday gift for a young filmmaker or cinephile, this just might be the ticket.  You can purchase a copy here.

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More Magazine September 2013

Two photographs from the Caregivers project appeared in the September issue of More Magazine.  They were used to illustrate an article about the results of a nationwide survey on what we think we owe our aging parents.  You can read the article here and watch a discussion of the survey on the Today Show here.

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