A new perspective

An emotion-filled photo project depicts good days, hard days, and everything in between for hospitalized children and their families
By Nicole Endres

What is it like to have a severely ill child? Or a chronically ill child? A terminally ill child?

Through a project called “Perspectives: A Visual Journey of Patients and Families from University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital,” Twin Cities photographer Jim Bovin invited families to document their hospital stays through photography and show others what they experience.

With a donation from the Margaret Hagen Smaby Fund for Innovation in Arts and Healing, Bovin provided cameras and photography training last year to six families with children experiencing a severe or chronic illness. 

“I said to the parents, ‘There are going to be some days you don’t feel like talking. Pick up the camera,’” Bovin recalls.

And they did. Together the families took 7,151 photos. They took photos in the operating room, during painful procedures, and while simply passing time in a hospital room. They also took joyful selfies. 

Bovin and the families worked with the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing as well as University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital’s Child-Family Life Services and Integrative Health and Wellbeing Program to make the project happen.

It was so well received that Bovin is paving the way for a second — and third — round of patients and families to take part in it. “We want everybody to have a chance with this,” he says.

Ashley


Taytem


Griffin


Grace