1ST PLACE, "The Letter" by Melinda Gribko
With the quarantine restricting family, residents like John, eagerly await cards in the mail- reading and rereading them, as they become a cherished reminder of love and family.
In 2018, I started "The Quiet World of Aging," a collection of portraits and personal narratives that conveys the many faces of aging: the beauty, sorrow, joy, and despair. This project took shape through my work as a psychiatric clinician in Boston, where I was entering spaces older adults lived and witnessed them disappearing into the background of society. As Covid-19 began infiltrating nursing homes and elderly complexes across the country, I felt compelled to create this new project as an extension of my current series. "Inside the Walls: An intimate look at our elderly during Covid-19" looks at the lives of the elderly who are suddenly facing a new reality in quarantine, as well as an uncertain fate. Many have become ill and perished as a result of the virus, and they are more than just a number or statistic- their lives and stories hold incredible value. Being on the front lines has had a powerful effect on me personally. It became paramount to me to share the truths I saw and experienced and to honor each precious life by embracing their identities, sharing their courage, and to make those who feel invisible, visible.