24 May 2012

Image Empathy

If Image Empathy is a new term, remember that you first heard it here.

Portrait photographers know that the most important element for success is "making a connection".

This connection is between subject and photographer but a third person is invariably involved - the one who views the image.

When the photograph is of a person with a painful rheumatic condition, the negative impact of the condition can be lessened considerably when the photographer puts a uniquely human face to suffering.

The powerful portrayal of empathy (which we decided to call “Image Empathy”) goes a long way towards lessening the stigmatization that many chronic pain sufferers experience in our society.

Mr Ric Forlano, CEO of Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA, has been a key person in the development of this portrait competition. He well knows that "arthritis" has a negative connotation for many in the community but through his day to day contact with sufferers, and listening to their inspirational stories of hope, he knows that the very opposite can be the case.

Ben Horgan’s story has been a source of inspiration to so many families of children with Juvenile Chronic Arthritis. It has been told many times over the years, but few people know of the pain he has endured and the many operations that have just about made him into Australia's version of the "bionic man". We wish him great success in his latest job as Arthritis and Community Engagement Project Officer with Perth NorthMetro Medicare Local.

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