Many Americans expect to receive health care when they need it. For those with health insurance provided by employers, the bulk of their health care needs are covered. The Affordable Care Act matched insurance plans with new patients every day, but that service is being undermined by the current administration in Washington, D.C.
Yet despite governmental intervention, there are still millions of Americans who go without health care. Some rely on hospital emergency rooms for their care, or must choose paying for food and lodging over taking care of their medical needs.
In Los Angeles, the non-profit organization Care Harbor runs a clinic that provides free dental, vision, women's and general health care. For four days, hundreds of doctors, dentists, optometrists and nurses vounteer their time and expertise to take care of nearly 4,000 patients.
Some patients are employed with health insurance, but don't have coverage for vision or dental. Others are unemployed and can't afford new glasses, mammograms, or new dentures. Still others are undocumented immigrants who live at or below the poverty line and for whom health care is financially out-of-reach.
Portraits are a powerful tool of visual storytelling. Whether classic or environmental, individual shots or a collection of images, these portraits reveal the personalities of those who graciously posed for my camera.
The images were all commissioned for various news outlets, private clients and organizations.
The congregants of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation come from neighborhoods throughout Chicago and it’s suburbs. Led by Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, the temple, which celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2016, is the oldest temple in Chicago serving the Israelite community.
Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken EHC stands in Chicago’s southwest side neighborhood of Marquette Park. Once the site of a march with the Chicago Freedom Movement led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Marquette Park has had a history of racism against people of color, including Neo-Nazi rallies in the 1970s.
Chicago is a diverse but segregated city, with the majority of African-American residents living on the city’s south side. Historically, Chicago’s white Jewish population has lived on the north side. Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken EHC’s presence in Marquette Park is a symbol of resilience and faith in a neighborhood that once openly spurned black people.
In Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic religion begun in ancient Persia that predates Christianity, fire symbolizes purity and a divine spark within every person. The number of Zoroastrians has dwindled to less than 300,000 worldwide due to intermarriage and the mobility of the followers. Approximately 300 Zoroastrian families live in the greater Chicagoland area, and attend services at the fire temple of the Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago.
On the north side of Milwaukee, evictions have become part of the community fabric. African-American women, especially single mothers, are hard hit when their income can't sustain the current housing prices.
The cycle of renting and eviction can easily become a pattern that is hard to break, similar to incarceration for poor African-American men. The court systems are clogged with cases between landlords and tenants, and many judges spend their days listening to disputes between the two groups.
For those who do break the cycle, having a regular place to stay creates a base from which to improve their lives.
The subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 began with a collapse of many financial institutions, and trickled down to affect families across the United States. Predatory lending practices by large financial institutions led to defaults on mortgages, foreclosures and severe devaluation of properties.
While homeowners struggled to stay in their homes, financial institutions were given governmental financial bailouts to keep their businesses afloat.
Many families simply walked away from the foreclosed properties, often leaving behind personal items. In many working-class neighborhoods around Chicago, boarded-up windows, overgrown yards and dilapidated buildings were tell-tale signs of the housing market collapse.
Fed up with what she considered inadequate care, Ellen Goode, 43, moved her mother, Frances Livermore, 87, out of a nursing home and into her Chicago living room. Frances suffered from paralysis due to Parkinson's disease and mini-strokes, diabetes and numerous other ailments, which required 24-hour monitoring.
While Ellen says she is happy with the decision to care for Frances, it did not come easily. Caregivers often deal with physical and emotional issues due to the overwhelming nature of the job, from which Ellen was not immune. Her long-term domestic partnership dissolved, and Ellen’s own health deteriorated due to stress, lack of sleep and poor nutrition.
These photographs follow Ellen as she nurses Frances through the last eleven months of her life. They were originally published through the Chicago News Cooperative in 2012. The story also appeared here.
The rising cost of farmland in the Midwest has prevented many upstart farmers from renting or buying land. According to a 2006 report from the USDA, the average farm in Illinois is just under 400 acres. With land selling as high as $10,000 an acre, young farmers are struggling to acquire the land needed to compete with larger, established farms.
Mixed martial arts fighter Fallon Fox is the first open transgender competitor who competes against other women. Fox underwent male to female gender reassignment surgery in 2006 in Thailand. After returning to the United States, she was introduced to MMA through an online video of a female fighter, and recognized a path she wanted to follow. She holds a perfect 3-0 record, and trains daily.
Michigan's west coast on Lake Michigan is home to charming beach towns. Visitors from around the country and overseas help to double the population of towns like Saugatuck, Grand Haven, Ludington and South Haven during the warm summer months.
The photographs here were commissioned by a variety of media outlets, including The New York Times and Saveur magazine.
Commissioned by Sinai Hospital to document the Mexican Independence Day parade in Chicago’s Little Village, or La Villita, neighborhood. Sinai is the primary hospital to serve this neighborhood.
Kingdom Lifeline Ministries is a year-long residency program for men struggling with addiction, ex-offenders and others who are looking for a direction in their lives.
These images were made as part of a project to document the neighborhoods that are served by Sinai Health System on Chicago’s west and south sides.