©2015 David Aschkenas




The photographs in this short series came about due to an unexpected stay in the hospital by my wife.  She entered the emergency room with a sharp abdominal pain, diagnosed after many tests and scans as gallstones.  One of the stones had moved and was blocking a bile duct. 


She was scheduled to have an endoscopic procedure to remove the stone, then the following day, surgery to remove her gall bladder.  A complication arose after the first procedure, pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas.  Treatment for pancreatitis is allowing the pancreas to rest, meaning no food or water, and opioids for the pain.  She was not allowed to eat or drink for 11 days.


The photographs were made the day before she was released from the hospital.  Things were so uncomfortable until then; I was unable to photograph a loved one in that condition.  Sitting in the hospital with her for two weeks became a blur.  The sound of the continuous whooshing of the ventilation system, the dull glow of the fluorescent lighting, the smell of inedible food.


You get the picture.


In the photos, I tried to convey the sickly feeling of all of these things.  I felt keeping things a bit soft and out of focus worked best to portray “feelings” rather than sharp description.


I used a Nikon D810 with a Lensbaby, first edition circa 2004.


The Hospital series…


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All photos ©2015 David Aschkenas. Used with permission.



About the Photographer

David Aschkenas is recognized as a fine art photographer and is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant. A freelance photographer for over 30 years, he is doing Annual Reports, Advertising, and Editorial photography for clients worldwide.

See Aschkenas’ other photographs published in Ragazine, and at his website