After participating in the Great Stride National Walk Event for Cystic Fibrosis, Los Angeles-based portrait photographer Kyle Monk knew he had to do more to help. A close friend of Kyle’s has a nephew with cystic fibrosis—a disease that causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and throughout the body—and had gotten him involved in the walk. After the event, armed with a greater understanding of cystic fibrosis and how it affects people’s lives, he got an idea of how to contribute to the cause: create engaging/striking portraits of those suffering from CF.
Knowing that great pictures can move people and incite action, Kyle approached the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with a proposal of photographing real people with CF. He wanted the photographs to help bring awareness and support to the fight against the disease. Liking his enthusiasm and ideas, The Foundation gave Kyle the go-ahead along with creative control of the project. So he quickly started working closely with the director of operations for the Southern California Chapter of the Foundation to refine his ideas and start producing the shoot.
Most of Kyle’s portraits are of younger children with CF, but he also photographed a few teenagers and adults as well. He says that the subjects and their families were “extremely kind and willing to help.” The shoot made him feel, “part of a close community. I knew that I was a part of something special.” He continues,
This sounds cliche, but interacting with these kids, teens and adults made me realize how fragile life is. Sometimes I take it for granted and get caught up with day-to-day things only to lose track of the big picture. The CF community made me realize I need to slow down and appreciate what I have. These individuals’ health may be delicate, but their spirits are strong, something we should all strive for.
Kyle plans to continue working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They were thrilled with the photos and the families were moved by the arresting images. He now hopes to raise funds and awareness with the photos at an art show and the Foundation plans to use the images in their marketing and promotional materials.
This project has been a wonderful, moving experience and one that will stay with me forever.