"Images of Hospice"

"Images of Hospice" on Display at Lakewood Public Library

A group of Notre Dame College photography students spent much of the spring 2010 semester on a unique project capturing the joy and sorrow of seriously ill patients, and their families, as they received end-of-life care at Hospice of the Western Reserve.

Their photographs moved many people at several exhibits in the Cleveland area. If you haven’t had a chance to visit any of these exhibits, here’s your final chance. “Images of Hospice” is on display at the Lakewood Public Library until Jan. 26.

Photo by Aurelia NuberFree and open to the public, a portion of the photographs will hang on the second floor of the main library at 15425 Detroit Avenue during regular library hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m.

Led by Professor Malinda Smyth, four students in the College's advanced photography class immersed themselves in hospice care, shadowing patients who were approaching the end of their lives. Photographing them alone as well as with their families, their pets or their most precious possessions, the students - Sarah Nank, Aurelia Nuber, Ralph D'Alessio, and Dominic Schiavoni - celebrated the patients’ lives and helped preserve precious memories.

“For me, the purpose of the project has been to bring patients who are dying back to life,” Nank said. “We are helping them remember the parts of themselves that make their lives meaningful.”

The project was originally dreamed up by NDC Professor Tony Zupancic’s daughter, Grace, who completed an internship in Hospice’s communications department. She went on to write a project proposal and Hospice decided to approach NDC as its collaborative partner. Associate Professor of Art Rachel Morris joined Smyth in working to bring the idea to life.

“The four students involved embraced this project wholeheartedly,” Smyth said, “and produced a mature body of work that reflects the compassion and care Hospice provides at the end of life.”.

Read a story of the students’ experiences at Hospice in the most recent edition of Notre Dame Today.