Archives for October 2020

12/10/2020

Sandra – Winner, Portrait of Britain Award

Sandra is a winning image in this years Portrait of Britain award and exhibition.

Sandra had has recently been diagnosed with heart failure, a little-understood condition that affects millions of people across the UK. She now has to manage her life carefully day to day to cope with the exhaustion of living with the disease.

I was asked to photograph Sandra for an awareness campaign, and we spent the day together to capture moments from her everyday routine.

She made me a lovely lunch and we went to the supermarket together, I met her family, and the photo included here is of Sandra at her Aunts house. Sandra and her family are very active with their local church, and we were visiting her Aunt to discuss matters to do with its running. Her Aunt was also unwell and needed help around the house, which Sandra was more than happy to provide despite her own condition. This image captures a moment of tenderness between them that is indicative of the love and care that was shown between each other despite their respective illnesses. And reflects the general kindness that I witnessed having spent time with Sandra. Having the time and freedom to get to know them allowed me to witness and capture some intimate moments, and it was a pleasure and an honour to be allowed into their lives and homes.

Heart failure means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. It usually occurs because the heart has become too weak or stiff. Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working. It just needs some support to help it work better. The word failure is misleading as people who suffer from the disease are often survivors, having to adjust their lives to cope with a debilitating condition that can affect anyone. It can occur at any age, but is most common in older people.

Heart failure is a long-term condition that tends to get gradually worse over time. It cannot usually be cured, but the symptoms can often be controlled for many years.