Caitlin Tobias sent me an invitation to the opening of ‘A Stand for Hope Photography Exhibition,’ which included an exhibition of SL photographs taken of cancer survivors and carergivers. Both sides of this are salient in my family right now, as I imagine they are for many. The images were revealed about an hour into the event. Photographers featured include Tempest Rosca, Addison Summerwind, Catalina Staheli, Grazia Horwitz, Calypso Applewhyte, Wendz Tempest, Isa Messioptra, AlexAvion, Roxi Richez, Polly Elan, Pam Astonia, Mysterr, Lam Erin, Roy Mildor, Cubito Smit, Annie1111, Kaelyn Alecto, Wildstar Beaumont, WrenNoir Cerise, PinkRayne, Reya Darkstone and Caitlin. Each of these artists has also contributed an item to a silent auction, which will run until 16 April.
How does one go about capturing in a virtual world photograph in some way the essence of a cancer sufferer or caregiver? I don’t envy any of these photographers this task, and the exhibits on display have taken a variety of approaches to it. Isa Messioptra, for example, depicts her survivor Renee pushing a boulder in the form of a planet up a hill; Mysterr has used high contrast black and white images to show both his survivor LadyKay and caregiver Vix. Birds feature in a number of the pictures, with caregiver Catalysis releasing doves in Lam Erin’s piece and caregiver Sedusak dancing with them in Calypso Applewhyte’s work. CiaoBella Mirabella is shown as a winged warrior in Reya Darstone’s image of her, whilst survivor Lizzy is shown falling towards water and surrounded by a flock of paper birds in a piece by Tempest Rosca. Water is also a theme in several pictures: both LouLou and Thalia are both survivors and caregivers, and both are depicted as mermaids in underwater scenes by their photographers Roxi Richez and Catalina Staheli respectively.
But I have to say I’m very drawn to Caitlin’s depiction of caregiver Argus, shown at the top of the page: three portraits depicting just the person and not the illness which has invaded her life. I was able to talk to Caitlin a little about these at the opening and she shared a very personal story about someone very dear to her who was able to escape some of the confines of his illness through a life in SL.
Every display is accompanied by a stand giving the SL name of the survivor/caregiver: touch these to receive notecards of their stories. They make for hard but very worthwhile reading.
Bids can be made at the auction boards outside of the exhibition building. There are Relay for life donation kiosks located at various points around the sim.