Artist Spotlight: Joyce Pearson

Published: February 18th, 2015

Category: Featured

UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine is thrilled to showcase portraits from Joyce Pearson’s Hands Legacy Project.  Her work will be on display in the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital, Criser Cancer Resource Center, Room 1302 from March 2nd through March 30th, 2015, Monday-Friday 9 AM-5 PM. An artist reception will be held Thursday, March 12 from 5:00-7:00pm and everyone is welcome to attend.

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Hands Legacy Project
Joyce Pearson, Photographer

Hands have special meaning in our lives. They bring us comfort, express affection, enable creativity, and facilitate achievement. Hand photographs can provide lasting reminders of a loved one when images are captured in the hospice setting. Several years ago, I began the Hands Legacy Project, providing complimentary photographs for family and friends while a family member was receiving hospice services. By taking these images and giving the photographs to families, I am giving them an enduring reminder of all those positive associations with that person who is no longer present in their lives. Photography can play a key role in supporting families in the grief and healing process. The photos confirm the reality that families shared these gentle touches with their loved one, reflect the tenderness and affection they share for each other, and stand as a life-affirming marker of life’s journey. Some of the photos show a simple holding of hands, and still others contain rings, bracelets, or mementos that have sentimental importance. Each family is invited to take part in the creative design process to yield a result that is most meaningful to them. The photo session takes place at the bedside, and family members are encouraged to personalize these images in ways that symbolize the interests and talents of the patient. The digital black & white images are delivered to the family electronically following the session. These images have proved to be powerful bereavement tools that support families in their time of loss, while providing a lasting legacy of the life of that family member.

These photos are captured in many settings – palliative care centers, hospice centers, homes, comfort care facilities – wherever families are facing this imminent loss of a family member. There are several ways these legacy photos are shared with families. Families may express the desire to have the photos immediately after the time of death, to use on a story board at a memorial service, or on prayer cards or note cards. More often, the photo is sent to the family two or three weeks after their loss, at a time when a lasting remembrance is particularly meaningful. By volunteering with a local hospice agency or visiting nurse service, I have been able to touch and be touched by these moments of capturing images. It is a profound experience.

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Joyce Pearson Biographical Information
Joyce is an avid photographer. With thirty years of experience in human services and fourteen years in hospice work, she began the Hands Legacy Project in 2009 as a way of supporting families in bereavement. The project provides complimentary hand portraits for the loved one and their family while in hospice care. Her journey as a photographer began thirty-five years ago, with a predominant interest in macro images. When shooting with a macro lens, Joyce finds that appreciation for detail is enhanced, and observational skills are sharpened. Her favorite subject matter, in addition to the hand portraits, includes weathered objects and botanicals. She has carried this interest to five continents and more than twenty countries. Joyce has displayed her images at galleries in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Born in North Carolina, Joyce has lived in Baltimore, Upstate New York, and Gainesville, Florida.

For more information please contact UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine, 352/733.0880.