Multimedia director Danny Fulgencio shot Jennifer Griffin’s photo in May 2012 for the Advocate story “Learning to live again.”
“I volunteered for this assignment. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I wanted the challenge of photographing someone seemingly incomplete in a dignified way. How do you communicate illness and amputation without coming off as exploitative? That was the challenge. My solution was a traditional portrait: a sitter, a backdrop, an eager photographer,” Fulgencio says.
Fulgencio says he immediately was drawn toward a piece of artwork Griffin and her husband created with paint cans as templates against a blue background, “which happened to match Jen’s eyes.”
“After dialing in a couple off-camera flash units, we sat at her dining room table and talked… for nearly two hours,” he says. “We spoke of her battle with and recovery from sepsis, the infection that put her in a coma for three months and resulted in her losing both hands, both feet. We also spoke of life experiences, philosophy and overcoming adversity.”
“I’ll leave it to the viewer to decide if the photo succeeds in representing someone who appears anatomically incomplete, but incredibly whole in spirit,” he says.
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