Posted in Having a Voice, Self-Nurture

When Life Throws You a Curve…Use Color

We are inspired everyday by our surroundings.  We hear stories of people who have faced difficult situations and triumphed.  We meet people whose spirit infuses us with hope and excitement.  What would happen to your work if you were thrown a curve ball?

Kevin O’Connell is a photographer with many credits to his resume.  The latest entry on his resume is cancer survivor.  Kevin was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2005 and went to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant in 2006.  Why is this background important?  Because the body of work showing at the O’Sullivan Art Center on the campus of Regis University has an exhibit influenced by his life events.

During his talk Kevin shared a PowerPoint presentation that demonstrated the evolution of his work.  He commented that many artists emulate the art that came before them.  That would make sense since we need to learn and what better way to learn than from those whose work we admire. 

It’s interesting that in the world we live in…the world of digital, Kevin chooses to use film cameras.  He believes when he changes cameras he experiences different sets of challenges and that adds excitement to the work.  It became evident during the presentation that his work has been almost exclusively black and white.  This show is in color.  When asked why the transition he shared that confronting mortality gave him the impetus to work with color representing life. 

There are two sets of photos in the show.  One set is during his time in the hospital while recovering from the bone marrow transplant.  The other show is once he was home, after experiencing some complications and taking large doses of steroids he experienced insomnia.  Kevin would go into his backyard in the middle of the night and take photographs…the progression in this series truly mirrors his process and his life in the moment.

We don’t know if he’ll continue on the color path or go back to black and white.  For now, he has a platform that affirms his photography, affirms his life and shows us that color speaks volumes.

In it for life…


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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