My portfolio, depicting a boy named Liam, came from an assignment where I was asked to produce a cohesive piece of work within the theme "The Other Side." Here, I had an unique opportunity to portray a very special boy who has struggled with illness almost his entire life. When Liam was three years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia. As a side effect from the chemotherapy, Liam’s lungs turned into scar tissue. By the age of ten, Liam was dependent on oxygen, with as his only hope of survival a double lung transplant.
I met Liam in the hospital before his transplant, where I was his primary nurse. After his lung transplant in 2010, I had the opportunity to follow Liam as a photographer as well. In documenting his life, I have seen him struggle with pain and I have witnessed his vulnerability and his frustrations. I have also experienced "his other side"; his happy moments and small victories.
Liam passed away in March of 2012 at only 12 years of age and has now literally entered "the other side." He was the bravest boy I have ever known, so strong and fragile at the same time. The very personal opportunity I was given behind the camera, made this a monumental-impact moment in my life, which I mean to convey in my photographs.
Of course, this portfolio could have never been done without Liam and his parents' acceptance of me in my dual role as his care-taker and photographer.
© Mette Thellefsen