social documentary 4X5 - broadcast premiere of House Calls
I am a physician and large format photographer based in Toronto, Canada.
I take care of house-bound frail elderly patients, and I have been documenting their plight with my 4X5 camera. I use a traditional straight social documentary approach.
The National Film Board of Canada documentary film House Calls will have its national TV broadcast premiere on BRAVO! (Canada), Sunday January 15, 2006, at 8 pm.
This film follows three of my patients and takes you into the world of the house-bound elderly. It seeks to raise awareness about the needs of this hidden and neglected population.
As described by director Ian McLeod: "This NFB documentary is examining how Dr. Mark Nowaczynski is struggling to improve our home care delivery system so he can care for the frail elderly patients who desperately need him. His calling cards to effect change are the photos he takes of them. In the course of this film we follow Mark as he tries to make a difference. We see how he combines his passion for photography with his commitment to improve the lives of his patients. The film is designed to be like one of Mark’s photographs – an artistically powerful work in its own right, and useful in creating social change."
Further information about the film (and how to obtain a copy) can be found at: www.nfb.ca/housecalls
House Calls not only highlights a significant social issue, it also offers solutions. Making it possible for seniors to “age in place” by providing them with chronic supportive home care services integrated with the delivery of home-based primary medical care is a cost effective and sustainable alternative to institutional care.
It is my hope that this film will prove to be a useful tool in stimulating social and policy change.
Mark Nowaczynski PhD, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Thanks Mark, and welcome to APUG. It is good to see what you are doing, good to see that your work is impacting lives, in a positive way. Hope you can stop by the conference in Toronto in May.
**Ok but here is the best part**
Doctor Mark uses a 4x5 Linhoff sometimes hand held and others on tripod. He uses bare bulb flash set up for some of the portraits, The film is usually HP5 processed in Pyro or sometimes push process with Microphen.
He has carried this beast around with him over the years firing off film with a grafmatic 6 shot. Not only is he unique by doing housecalls in Canada, but documenting the hidden problem for our Elderly citizens who have a very hard time reaching a doctor, especially in the winter months when one slip on the ice can mean total disaster.
I think this documentary will make real social change in our Country and my hat is off to Mark for taking on this challange.
I urge all APUGers to try to see this Film, I am a bit biased as I dominate the first 15 seconds of this 1 hour documentary.** I believe an acadamy award is in order for my part**
Mark: Thanks for posting this; I'm scheduling it on my sat receiver and to record it to DVD so I can view it later. We'll have our living room pulled apart for painting, so may not be able to watch as it's broadcast.
More importantly, hurrah for your work ... both by using large format and for focusing on the stories of the elderly.
Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.
This is very exciting to hear. I will look to see if airs at a different time or date here in the US, but I will look to watch.
Thanks for your joining APUG.
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Dr. Mark, I am a RT and a Radiation Therapist who had an accident at the hospital where I had been working for over 20 years. After spinal surgery for nerve entrapment and a discectomy/lami I still need more surgery and a fusion. My wife is an RN and without her to provide me with some home care, i.e. a hospital bed on the first floor of our home, I would have been sleeping on the living room floor.
I congratulate you on your effort and compassion with your patients. I have been on both sides and understand the issue with elderly care and I'm only 54.
The most moving photographic series I have ever seen is W. Eugene Smiths "Country Doctor". I have not thought about it for years but it comes to mind tonight. I entered the medical field after two degrees in Photography and being in combat in Vietnam. I considered my medical service more important than my military service. I'm on board with any medical professional who makes a difference.
Thanks to all for your warm welcome and kind words.
I posted this notice here because this project is an example of contemporary social documentary photography that is actually effecting social change. Our medium has a venerable history as a tool for social change, and despite the proliferation of other media, traditional B & W photography still has the impact and power to move people.
I am humbled by the accomplishments of some of our forerunners in social documentary photography, and I am inspired by their dedication, vision, and commitment.
As Curt mentions, W. Eugene Smith was one of the giants, as were Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Lewis Hine (among others).
My good friend Bob Carnie, owner of Elevator and frequent poster on APUG, is a talented printer and the only person who has printed from my negatives. Last year he gave me a wonderful gift: a hand-pulled photogravure made from W. Eugene Smith's original print of the 1948 portrait of Dr. Ceriani as he "makes his way to call on a patient". This was the cover photo used in the "Country Doctor" photo-essay, and it hangs prominently in my library.
Mark: I have just finished watching this documentary. It was profoundly moving, and I thank you for your work as a physician, your campaign for making house calls fully funded by OHIP, and for your fine photographic work.
Has Minister Smitherman made any committments to at least increase the number of visits doctors can bill for house calls?
Again, a wonderful documentary; thanks for your work. If your work is hanging somewhere Toronto, I would make a trip to view them.
Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.
Mark, thanks very much for letting us know about this show. It was very powerful.
We can only hope that the powers that be see it, and make changes to the applicable health care codes to enable doctors like yourself to make more housecalls. As a child, I was always sick, and I can remember the family doctor coming to our house. That was 35 years ago....I don't know of *any* doctors that make house calls these days...
Your portraits, btw, are all windows into the people you photographed. Well done.
Thank-you Ken and Earl for your compliments about the film.
It is my hope that 'House Calls' will help to open the right doors in the Ministry of Health and influence how we care for our elderly.
I have a powerful incentive to keep on shooting...