In August 2015, volunteering for Home Nursing Foundation, we set out on a simple mission – to gift the patients a nice portrait of themselves. Many of them are too poor to afford basic medical care, and we believe a beautiful portrait will warm the cold, empty walls of their homes.
But I didn’t want to just take a few nice shots. I wanted to make the portraits meaningful. I wanted them to feel beautiful, I wanted them to remember happy moments. I wanted a happy ending.
However, this was never about what I wanted.
When we finally delivered the portraits on Lunar New Year, things weren’t as perfect and rosy as I had imagined.
A patient had passed on just a few days earlier. Another had been warded in critical condition. Some looked even happier than before, while others were burdened by problems we have no right to intrude.
A man, so jovial when we first met, had turned almost blind. He couldn’t see the happiness I captured in his portrait. He couldn’t even see me when I sat beside him. Alone, his house was empty, the walls stripped bare, the mood cold as ice.
Would a beautiful portrait make any difference?
“This photographer takes soul-stirring portraits of patients and their caregivers”
Read the interview by SG Magazine
“40 years between photos for couple”
Kelvin Lim’s work for the elderly reviewed in The Straits Times
PORTRAITS OF LOVE