“As I sit in a darkened room with no natural light to glare my computer screen, I edit hundreds of photographic images that document the recent (May 2017) mission to Myanmar with Kids Action for Kids (KAFK), their sponsors, and Operation Smile (Thailand and International) for cleft lip and palate surgeries. Face after face of babies, toddlers, young adults and their families appear vividly before me.
At first glance, I see varying degrees of affliction, some mild, others admittedly shockingly severe, and through these images, stories of vulnerability, hope, unconditional love, and the need for acceptance and relief from social ostracism emerge. In time, while editing and processing, the images speak not of cleft lip and palate deformity, but of the spirit within. Some souls leave an indelible mark: a mother tenderly spoon-feeding her infant who is unable to suck; the joy of young toddlers engaged in the magical play of bubbles; the unconditional love and support of a father with his teen son on a hospital bed awaiting surgery; and the ‘thumbs up’ signal from a young boy just out of surgery groggily checking himself in a mirror; and the tears of relief and gratitude as a mother stares at her baby’s repaired smile.
It is my sincere gratitude of thanks to Torgunn and KAFK for this beautiful experience as a volunteer photographer, and for their collaborative work in providing sponsorship through so many organizations to make a dream possible for so many. Years ago I was involved in fund-raising for Operation Smile through a photo exhibition titled ‘Beyond a Smile’–portraits from over 25 years of travel photography–with the intention that one person’s smile could benefit another’s. Following that same thread, it is my hope that this recent photographic collection becomes sutures of love, hope, care, and generosity that will stitch transformative smiles.”
www.ellieedelhoff.smugmug.com (photography website)
See Ellie’s promotion here:
Photographer Ellie Edelhoff has a promotion of her art images
Ellie has also joined KAFK for several medical missions:
Sisaket mission in Northeastern Thailand 2015
Naypyitaw Hospital in Myanmar, March 2015
Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, May 2017
Pyin Oo Lwin hospital, Myanmar, May 2018
Ellie Volunteers her Photographic Skills for Documenting Missions