Medic: Jennifer B. Hudson

A good friend of mine wrote me last week and shared some grim news: Her mother was recently diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas. It came as a shock since we just saw each other nine months ago in Los Angeles and she looked well and at the prime of her life. As I was reflecting on this turn of events, I remember the book I bought last year which I've been meaning to write about.  It is Jennifer B. Hudson's book called Medic. I first saw the project through Photolucida and was instantly drawn to her work primarily because of the similarity to Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison's aesthetic. The sepia toned photographs are set in a sparse infirmary or laboratory with humans connected to or interacting with obsolete machines and unusual pieces of equipment through wires and suctions. The subjects appear tired with their bodies slumped over, heads bowed down, eyes closed-- others are lying on their backs peacefully asleep.  In between the photographs in the book are handwritten and typed notes containing vivid recollections of intimacy, feelings of regret and hopes for healing. There are no essays written about the work so I take it that these writings provide the cues and entry points to viewing her pictures. I do appreciate the open ended approach because there are so many questions when it comes to sickness and recovery. These carefully crafted photographs open up the conversation to these sensitive subjects. So as I peruse the book, I think about my friends mother and all those people I know who are battling an illness. It leaves me somber and reflective about life and mortality.