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