Saving Sight

I started photography school wanting to be a documentary photographer. Growing up in the 1960's I had the idealistic belief that I could use my camera to, if not change the world, at least help a small portion of it with my photographs. LIFE magazine, for me the pinnacle of in-depth documentary photography, ceased publication as I was entering school. Video cameras with satellite uplinks from virtually anywhere in the world, provided instant information that we previously had to wait weeks or months to read in magazines. 

I took all this as a sign that maybe I should look for some other way to use my camera to help people. Out of school, I first found medical photography at a major teaching hospital and after a few shorts years, ophthalmic photography, where I used my imaging skills to help people save their eyesight. What better way for me to help people than through my ophthalmic imaging.

While I did ophthalmic photography as my "profession", I did not abandon my passion for documentary work. I continued working on personal documentary projects, at times spending as much time on that work as I did on my ophthalmic imaging. When asked what I did as a photographer, I always explained that my photographic life was divided equally between ophthalmology and my documentary photography. In 2010 I was offered the opportunity to combine both halves of my life by participating in ORBIS missions. ORBIS is the Flying Eye Hospital and, along with partner hospitals all over the world, provides ophthalmology skill transfers through a network of volunteer faculty. Through my knowledge of ophthalmology and my documentary skills, I have explored the process of "saving sight" through missions in Nigeria, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines and Ghana.