Immersed in Living Water
Project info

Immersed in Living Water

While working as a Pediatric Emergency Physician, I carried a camera to document ill patients. These images were used for teaching and documentation. Photography combined the grief associated with sufferings and sometimes deaths. It also dealt with the wave of despair which can be overwhelming. In order to maintain professionalism and composure, separating self from distressing emotions was unknowingly interwoven into photographs.

I had to leave medicine while in my mid thirties due to severe arthritis and a connective tissue disease. Although I missed caring for my patients and working in medicine, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could not care for both my family and my patients due to my limitations. Because of this realization, my leave of absence was no longer such sadness for me for being disabled but instead it became an opportunity to become a mother with freedom to express love and joy. However, I began to find that I was bound by the physical limits of my debilitating disease. Simple tasks such as laundry became increasingly difficult as my joints deteriorated, needing reconstruction and replacement one by one. Photography, though, was less burdensome, even therapeutic as it diverted and refocused my attention.

As a mother, I brought a camera back into my life to capture my own children. To perform some of the activities of daily living, an occupational therapist suggested I bathe with my young children since I could not lift them into the tub. Eventually, I brought my camera to the tub. When I looked through the lens this time, life and death looked different to me. Through the lens, I remembered my world of medicine, I remembered the children who were sick and had died in my care,the children who had been born and who had healed, the children whom I barely had time to mourn or to celebrate their lives while working as a physician. Overwhelming feelings sealed away in my subconscious began to emerge.

Water has become my medium of choice by chance. It has become a medium for physical and emotional healing.

© Wendy Sacks