Documentary Photographer Gili Benita is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From his project ‘Heart Skipped a Beat’. To see Gili’s body of work click on any image.
The photographic series ‘Heart Skipped a Beat‘ tries tell the story of ‘Save a Child’s Heart’, an Israeli humanitarian organization that works in Wolfson hospital in Hulon. SACH offers lifesaving heart surgeries and medical treatment for children from developing countries who suffers from congenital heart disease. The series follows a number of children, such as Leila, a six year old Zanzibarian girl that has Down syndrome, who came to Israel, with her mother Rahma, to receive a lifesaving heart surgery.
Since the first day I met Leila, she radiated her uniqueness that pulled my attention. Naturally and intuitively I began to follow her journey. Quickly it came to my understanding that her case was unique and different. At first, the doctors had doubts and a concern arose that her cardiac condition is too complicated for surgery. After several additional tests, her condition became clear, the odds overcome the risks, and nevertheless it became possible to operate. At last, the surgery succeeded, and after additional time in the intensive care unit, Leila was released for recovery in the children’s house, and later then she returned with her mother back to Zanzibar.
The relationship with Leila and the other children was unexpected. They accepted me with open arms and expressed no fear of the camera, and even asked for its presence. The camera became a part of the view in the children’s house and in the hospital. I decided to take a clear moral decision, to approach the photograph of the series from the perspective of the observer while not intervening clearly. It was important to me to reflect the story of ‘Save a child’s heart’, from the point of view of observation, because my photographic approach prefers visual honesty. The series tries to present the contrast between the incessant dramas that took place in the space of the medical staff and the children, the operating room, in the hospital, in the face of the quiet that prevailed in the children’s home. The passages that reflect the joy of life and faith of mothers in the face of life-threatening situations, the children in the shadow of their illness, their adaptation to the place and reality of a new life. The photographic series ‘Heart Skipped a Beat‘ leads into the world of the children from a personal and humane point of view. The series was created to allow the viewer to enter and experience the world of the children, which involves a cycle of life and death. The bridge I found within this polarized volatility is the understanding that the great fact that Leila and thousands of other children, whose fate was sealed in advance, have been given the opportunity to win life.
By Gili Benita