Portraits of Hope:

Over the last five years I have been taking photographs of children for a book and a show I hope to put together one day called Portraits of Hope:

Meet Lily.

I met her on a dull, dreary, rainy day during a visit to a children’s hospital in Washington, DC.

It was one of those foggy mornings with a grey, uncomfortable, mist heavily draping itself around the shoulders of umbrella carry people wearing long dark coats and woolen scarves.

On the wet pavement, soggy, dead and dying autumn leaves lay depleted and silently spent, reflecting the last dying embers of the fall colors they were once admired for. Their day in the sun gone. Their existence now only acknowledged by the soles of city shoes.

Although I discarded my coat and umbrella at the entrance, I still carried the dull, grey weather into the hospital with me. It hung heavily on my shoulders. Its long, damp, sodden train dragged itself behind me. Pulling on me. Making me feel like I was walking in water.

I felt uninspired and quite melancholy.

Until I walked into Lily’s room.

I expected to find a sad child in the middle of chemotherapy.

Instead I found sunshine.

Bright, warm, enthusiastic, hopeful, sunshine. The light was emanating from Lily’s broad, infectious, grin.

What a sweet, happy kid.

“Why do you have such a big smile on your face?” I asked.

“Because I’m done with chemo today,” she said, chuckling.

She looked at me and her whole face lit up.

“Done!” She said. “No more until tomorrow.”

I am glad I had my camera with me to capture the moment that day. Because, to me, her smile is what hope looks like.

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