Lalgadh Leprosy Centre, Nepal 2009

Documentary

Man with leprosy

I have chosen two photographs to put in this blog. You can see a few more and read more about my experience in leprosy-affected areas at www.tom-bradley.com. For many of the photographs I took out there I wrote down a bit about the people… name, age, location and a few notes on the way getting it changed their life. Here I was called by one of the physicians to photograph a man who had noteable skin lesions on the side of his head, but this man was sitting to the side, waiting his turn to be seen. The simpleness of the frame struck me and I took two quick pictures before hurrying inside the physicians room. I’m not sure exactly what attracts me to it; it could very well be the simpleness of the image, the wall in two colours, with this old man’s head sitting atop a poor, frail body, one eye blind from leprosy. But then again maybe it’s because, unlike most of the patients I photographed this man I saw for less than 10 seconds and his identity is a mystery to me.

Ram Ishwor

One of the things that I really need to improve upon in my photographs is relationships. I came back from Nepal and picking out my favourite photographs I realised most of them were portraits. Though there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this, it’s the relationships in photographs (usually) between human beings that can really tell the story. This photo for me sums up what I saw of Lalgadh Leprosy Services Centre. Ram Ishwor was only 14 when this was taken. His body had been reacting to the Multi-Drug Therapy that kills the leprosy bacterium hence the very swollen cheeks. As a result he was also incredibly weak and confined to a bed for a few weeks. He is one of LLSC’s long-term residents and just three weeks previously he had been bouncing around the place with a giant grin, continually poking me to take ‘just one snap’ of him. Dr. Graeme Clugston is the man reaching over touching his head (the nurse touching his leg is Graeme’s wife, Meena). He’s in fact not one of the resident doctors, but instead works in the administrative section of LLSC. However none of the other doctors were available for rounds that day so he stepped in place. I think the staff’s fondness for Ram shows through in the photo and certainly reflects the feelings I had about Ram in the few weeks I’d got used to him.

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