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January 17, 2014
Kathleen Paice 315 464-4839

Photojournalist highlights Upstate University Hospital in series of films

Three powerful and poignant stories of patients, their families and caregivers at Upstate University Hospital have been captured on video by Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist Ross Taylor, who is currently serving as a fellow the Multimedia Photography and Design Department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Through a partnership with Upstate, working with Kathleen Paice Froio from Public and Media Relations, Taylor spent many days at the hospital last fall talking with patients, family and staff who graciously allowed him to be present during many personal and emotional moments to help tell their stories.

His work has culminated in three pieces:

Music Therapy, which features the work of Clare Arezina, board certified music therapist at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Arezina uses music as a tool to help reach, connect with and heal pediatric patients. “Working with Ross was an absolute pleasure. He is incredibly thoughtful, judicious, and generous in his work, and his passion to tell stories well shines through in his devastatingly beautiful videos,” said Arezina.

This Changes Everything, which tells the story of Aiden Erwin, a four-year-old patient at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, and his parents, Melanie Overy and Glen Erwin, as they cope with their son’s diagnosis with brain cancer.

A New Beginning, which follows a brother and sister through the gift of life, a living kidney donation. A New Beginning was made with the help of many, including the pre-operative and operating room team, the entire Transplant Program team and new transplant director, J. Keith Melancon, MD.

Of his work at Upstate, Taylor says, “Film is much more difficult to do, and even harder to do well. It takes much more time and investment on both my part, but also the hospital and the patients who are willing to share their story. I believe though that in the end, it’s a very powerful way to share someone’s story, and it’s worth the extra work.

“I long to make connections with people. I feel life is more rewarding this way, and telling stories of others not only helps me connect with people, but also helps others connect with them as well. It’s helping build a sense of community and understanding of each other that drives me in my craft,” he continued.

Ultimately, he hopes these films will make an impact and is grateful for the time and energy our patients and hospital staff have made for him. “My experience at the hospital has renewed my enthusiasm for telling stories in this new medium, and I’m grateful for those who have opened up and shared their lives with me. It’s made my time in Syracuse exponentially better,” said Taylor.

Taylor’s strength lies in telling deeply personal, intimate stories. He has shot on assignment in six countries and is co-creator of The Image Deconstructed – a nationally recognized blog that highlights an image and asks the photographer to deconstruct the creation of the image, and the psychology and emotion behind the photograph.

Taylor, a photojournalist for 20 years, has been honored numerous times. He was nominated for a Pulitzer for his documentary work in trauma hospital in Afghanistan, won the prestigious National Photojournalist of the Year award, Northern Photographer of the Year and New England Photographer of the year.

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