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Editor’s Note: Dr. Jeffery M. Levine was recently featured in the New York Times article, “The Elderly, Through the Eyes of a Geriatrician.” Levine (a liveBooks customer) discusses geriatrics and the combination of art and medicine on his healthcare blog, www.jmlevinemd.com.
As a young doctor starting out in my profession I wanted to stake a claim in academia – doing research and teaching about human aging. What I achieved is something different from what I originally intended when I began my project of visually documenting the process of growing old.
Initially I tried to catalog the physical manifestations of aging. Using Kodachrome slide film and flash, I captured changes of the skin and musculoskeletal system, supplementing my portfolio with x-rays that enhanced understanding of the physiology of growing old. One day out of curiosity I switched to black and white film, turned off the flash, and stepped back to photograph my patients in their natural environment and captured the interactions between me and my subject.