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Martha's Vineyard Hospital
I’ve been hired to photograph the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s annual report at least fifteen times over the years. The first time I shot their annual report was in 1977, and it was published as an advertising supplement to the Vineyard Gazette. I shot it with black and white Tri-X film, using a 35mm Nikkormat which I had received as my high school graduation present.

When photographing for the annual report, I work closely with the hospital’s development director to develop a shot list and to make sure I am striking the right chord with my photos. I am very comfortable roaming the halls, as well as exploring the inner workings of the hospital with my camera. I know the staff, many of whom I photographed back in that first annual report over thirty-five years ago. I know their names, I have their trust, we have a mutual respect for one another, and therefore they are very helpful in giving me access and helping me do my job.

One challenge is to capture events, both big and small, that demonstrate how important the hospital is to our island community – whether it be a fisherman coming into the emerency room with an on-the-job injury, the birth of a baby, or the compassionate care of one of the island’s elders. In each case I try to make a connection between the patient and caregiver, which emphasizes the human aspect of health care.

Another challenge is walking a thin line between shooting candid “photojournalistic” photos, and needing to do a minimal amount of staging to get the right shot. I always work with the hospital staff to make sure the photographs are honest and yet not intrusive or insensitive in any way. Many hospital annual reports are shot by commercial photographers and are entirely staged. But I want my photos to be as real as possible. My instinct is to stay in the background and document what's happening as much as possible, a result of 25 years covering news and feature assignments for a weekly newspaper.

Clients hire Alison for her unique photographic vision – strong graphics, vivid colors, simple bold compositions, and a beautiful use of available light. She works hard to capture her subjects in ideal light, under the best weather conditions available to her. She also does her research, often getting access to areas that aren't easily found, which brings unusual perspectives on her subjects.

We're happy to discuss all commissions – especially those where clients are hiring Alison to shoot with her own instinctive style. Alison retains all rights to her photos, sometimes selling them as fine art prints in our gallery.

For more information, please email Alison, or call us at the studio 508-693-4429.