This body of work was made in a hospital in Harah, Ethiopia. The people photographed have walked long distances to visit a clinic providing free eye care treatment for those with cataracts.
Without this opportunity, these people would go on without treatment relying on family members to help them with day to day life.
Photographing in this location was hectic.
There were hundreds of people being screened and then if accepted as a viable candidate for cataract surgery sent through for surgery. And that ‘s where this series of portraits has come from.
The numbered tags are used to identify the patient to their paperwork and very simply and quickly let the doctor know which eye they are to treat.
As a humanitarian photographer even though I’m often in a situation where I can’t speak the language, this was the first time I was unable to communicate through sight and gestures.
The patients could often not see me and so to communicate I would touch hands or tap a seat or have a family member translate for me.
The hospital waiting room was a stressful area with people waiting for treatment that had in many cases never even seen a doctor before.