Volunteering at the Sree Narayana Mission. November 2017.
Ever since being plonked back to the corporate workspace, I've been raring to find opportunities that keep my camera-craft supple and ready. When the *ahem* Fable-d creative designer informed me of a pro-bono portraiture gig for the Sree Narayana Mission nursing home, I leapt at the chance to wield megapixels for good.
The afternoon's work was a pretty basic portraiture session for the nursing home residents, many of whom do not have have any decent photos to call their own. What breaks my heart most is the fact that some of these photos would be part of their afterlife ceremonies. The luckier residents, those who are still remembered by friends and family, would have copies that can be printed for their loved ones. For those who are alone, my heart hangs heavy even as I put on a happy face and hold my subjects' hands, for an all-too-brief moment, to give ourselves a moment of human connection. I spoke to them, some of whom have obvious difficulties understanding my patchwork Mandarin, or who were simply too hard-of-hearing. Despite that, a good dose of enthusiasm, smiles and generous gestures articulated for the mind what language cannot. The kind volunteers and make-up artists assisted where they could to save us photographers from dashing between our subjects and our cameras.
These black and white series were selected for their candidness and whimsical feel - I wanted to project the sense of playfulness and energy that they still possessed behind their grey eyes and frail bodies.
I used the camera to hold onto what the flesh finds difficult.
Special thanks to: The Sree Narayana Mission, the volunteers who organised the event, make-up artists, the guitar hero who serenaded us for the afternoon, and of course the fellow photographers. Everyone offered their precious time and invaluable skills, all had a part in making the session such a wholesome way to spend a weekend afternoon. If you are reading this an would like to volunteer for the next event, please contact me via the About page and I'll hook you up with the organisers!