|Sometimes it is helpful to see ourselves through other peopleâ€™s eyes. Photographs freeze time and allow us to see who we are or who we used to be. By looking closely we can see the story around us.
In November, Robin Lewy and Fran Ricardo, of the Womenâ€™s Rural Health Project in Florida, returned to Lexington to work with the health promoters on photonovelas dealing with breast cancer and tuberculosis. Earlier in the year, the health promoters had helped Robin and Fran conduct hundreds of open-ended surveys about TB and breast cancer in the Latino community. Now those same community members will help them create the photos for the story, and in the end they will all become knowledgeable about the topics.
Robin and Fran have been using photographs to tell stories for the last 15 years. They make photonovelas to teach people about their health, their risk factors and the resources available to them.
â€śThe power of the photonovela is that people see themselves. And this idea of seeing yourself helps people to make the connection between the message and their risk,â€ť says Robin.
It can be so hard to see ourselves at risk, to see that a disease or an illness might change our life. Once we are ill, it is hard to look back and see what we could have done differently, how we might have prevented that sickness.
The images created by Robin, Fran and the health promoters, are images where everyday women and men, in their homes, workplaces and backyards discuss and learn about the diseases that can come to inhabit those same places. They are pictures of faces we recognize as similar to our own, in situations in which we find ourselves everyday: the living room couch where a daughter says she is pregnant, a dark bedroom where a child is coughing, a shower where a woman examines her breasts.
How useful would it be to be able to freeze time and see ourselves - see all of the things we do that makes life more difficult, things that could put us at risk or things that we could do to be healthier. Find a picture of yourself. Look at your surroundings; remember the day the picture was taken. What was happening that day? What were you feeling? What were your hopes, fears or disappointments? How have those changed? What would todayâ€™s picture look like?
Create a photo timeline for yourself
1.Pull out old photos and put them in chronological order.
2.See how you have changed over the years. When were you happiest? When were you the most afraid? When were you eating the healthiest or doing exercise?
3.Forgetting the details of your life, ask yourself what an outsider would think of the woman in those photos.
4.Now, have someone take a picture of you today. Donâ€™t get dressed up. Donâ€™t clean the house first. Keep this picture with the other pictures.
These pictures tell the story of you. What will be your next chapter?