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Chad Stevens November 5, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.

Victoria, nursing home resident, Kentucky

During the past five years, Chad A. Stevens has been a faculty member in the photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University, a nomadic photographer and multimedia producer in Africa. He is currently director and  multimedia producer at Mediastorm and working on a documentary about mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. While teaching at Western Kentucky University, Stevens created an annual documentary photography workshop, the Appalachian Cultural Project, and won the University Faculty Award for Public Service in 2006. He has won awards in the POYI, NPPA, and is currently nominated for an Emmy in the 2008 Awards for News & Documentary. Chad graduated from Western Kentucky University and Ohio University, and he interned at National Geographic, The Hartford Courant, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Jackson Hole Guide. During his time at Western, he traveled to Palestine and other Middle East countries, followed by some blind wandering of the Mediterranean coast of Spain. He was named 1997 College Photographer of the Year.

About the Photograph:

“For my final project as an undergraduate photojournalism student, I worked on a photo essay on loneliness, trying to define it, see it, and, in the end, feel it. Loneliness is one of those universal truths that all of us feel at least at some point during our lives. In this project I photographed many people all experiencing loneliness in their way. Some were brought to loneliness by mental illness. Some had chosen it. Others had love taken from them. And then Victoria, a resident of a nursing home in rural Kentucky, found the cure to her loneliness in a child’s doll. In this moment I saw the parallels of the beginning of life and the end of life, between death and birth.”


1. Tanya - November 12, 2008

Incredibly poignant image.

2. Eva - November 17, 2008


3. Rosemary - February 1, 2009

Every now and then I see a photo that I know I will never forget. Usually because it strikes some emotional chord in me or I find it really visually appealing. This is one of those photos.

This photo is beautifully framed with enough detail in the background to complement the foreground without overpowering it. The bottom of the photo is cropped in a way that cuts right through Victoria’s ring finger.

The ring finger is the finger that is believed to be directly linked to the heart; thus a symbol of love. Also in many cultures this same finger is believed to have magical and healing powers.

With this being said (and from your description) I see this photo as a magical and healing moment. One in which an aged woman is utilizing all that she may have left by cradling and loving an object
that somehow has become something more that a plastic doll.

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