Category Archives: Beauty In Simple Things

New Gallery: Through the Infirmary

I’ve been working on some past projects that didn’t make it onto the website. Here is one from the Xamtai Hospital and health centers, in and around Xamtai, Laos. I was photographing on a project with MĂ©decins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders for the Americans). Link to portfolios here.

Also posted in Color Photography, Jon Witsell Photographic Arts Tagged , , |

Beauty In Simple Things, #2

I love the way the back rim of this bowl starts to blend into the background. I’m not sure what this particular bowl is used for, but I’ve seen them all through the hospital. One, holding bloody surgical instruments after a surgery; another holding water used to wipe the face of a woman in labor; and another, in a remote health center, again holding surgical instruments—instruments doused with alcohol and set afire to sterilize them. Such a simple item, so many uses, polished by so many hands.

This is the second post in my series Beauty In Simple Things. Take a look at the first post in the series here.

Photo Beauty In Simple Things

Also posted in Color Photography, Humanitarian Photography, Travel Tagged , |

Beauty In Simple Things, #1

I was photographing at a hospital in Laos with the team from Doctors Without Borders, and I turned around and noticed one of these sheets blowing in the wind. As usual, I had my camera preview set to black and white and the shape and motion really caught my eye. (Be careful with the volume level if you are using a laptop or tiny speakers—YouTube really beat up the audio!)

If you can’t see the video above, please click here.

I don’t know if anyone else finds it beautiful—or meditative—maybe I do as I simply have an emotional attachment to that experience in Laos. Sometimes I find it hard to separate the experience while photographing something and the actual thing being photographed. Maybe it’s the fact that I know this sheet was from the operating theater and people have lived and died on it. Maybe to most people it’s just a piece of fabric drying on a line someplace they’ll never see.

I could probably come up with a thoughtful metaphor for the sheet symbolizing how a person I knew moved gracefully on the earth and was as thin and weightless as that sheet when she left it. Maybe there is more there than meets the eye—but maybe not. Maybe one has to know the story behind the image to find meaning in it. Or better yet, can impart their story, their meaning to it.

Also posted in Humanitarian Photography, Travel, Videos Tagged , |