The Unseen – County Home Portraits, Part XIII

ShareShare on Facebook0

This year-long personal project is nearing its conclusion. Last week, I visited the nursing home for the next-to-last time. Driving home, I tend to reflect on the visits. The way I work there has evolved. I no longer bring in big lighting setups and backdrops. I spend longer with each resident than when I started. I listen more and ask more questions. If someone can’t talk, I may hold their hand. I help fix hair and straighten a necklace. I tell her she looks beautiful. This time, one thing someone said made me realize the most important thing about this project.
Joan: “I feel so important. I feel so special!”
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0004.jpg
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0005.jpg
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0006.jpg
Some of the residents here may not even remember any of this tomorrow, but what I learned is that the most important thing I can do is to make someone feel important and special. And in the process, I make a portrait of her for all of time.

Walking the halls of the nursing home, you often see people in their rooms, like this. But this isn’t who they are. You can only find that out by entering the room and connecting with the person in some way.
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0001.jpg
Althea worked at Laconia City Hall. She writes poetry. She told me about her children and grandchildren.
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0002.jpg
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0003.jpg

Mary: “My daughter brought me this pumpkin.”
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0008.jpg
Mary: “Do you mind if I tell you a dirty joke?”
Me: “Okay.”
Mary: “A white horse fell in the mud!”
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0009.jpg
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0011.jpg
Marjorie: “I’m a part of The Pothole Group. Five of us started it. We’re all here together. We get together to remind ourselves that being forgetful is just a bump in the road…well, until it becomes a sinkhole!”
The Unseen - County Home Portraits © 2015 Maundy Mitchell_0013.jpg

To read how this project got started, click here:
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits/
To see parts II through XII, click the links below:
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-ii/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-country-home-portraits-part-iii/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-iv/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-v/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-vi/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-vii/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-viii/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-ix/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-x/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-xi/
http://maundymitchell.com/the-unseen-county-home-portraits-part-xii/