I started this project in 2019, a year before the COVID-19 pandemic transformed American life. At that time, I was frustrated by the limitations of my practice as a mental health nurse practitioner. I wanted to show the inadequacies of our for-profit healthcare system, which puts providers in a position of promoting health amid structural violence, in particular racism but also classism and ageism. I wanted to explore my role - including my own complicity - in this environment.
Is it “good” or “right” to keep practicing medicine while feeling so compromised? And if it is, how can healthcare providers promote a more equitable system? To what degree has the American for-profit healthcare industry delegitimized actual healthcare? And is the narcissism of the “Wellness” and anti-vaccination movements a direct result of a healthcare system that doesn’t promote health? The people in this series are taken out of healthcare pamphlets used to teach patients how to safely stand, move a muscle, or move a limb after undergoing surgery or breaking a bone. At first, I thought the images of the people in these pamphlets were comically ethereal- they seemed happy and at peace, belying the structural violence of for-profit healthcare and the pain of recovering in these environments. “Just follow these directions,” the pamphlets enjoin, “and you too will get better.“ But the eerie, airy lightness of the pamphlets does not reflect what I see on a daily basis. This series situates these patients in a place of abandonment to intervene in the narrative that our healthcare system - and related for-profit sectors like the wellness industry – promote actual health.