Philippe – Crisis

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When I think about crisis, I think about Philippe, my son. Philippe is an energetic 9-year-old boy, always singing, very curious, crazy about sports and candy, and always wanting more out of life. He is happy, most of the time. He is like any other 9-year-old boy, except that he has Cystic Fibrosis, a degenerative disease that affects the lungs and pancreas.

The treatments for his illness mean a different way of life for Philippe and for us, his family. Every day, he has 45 minutes of physiotherapy and has to swallow over 26 pills—and that is when everything is going well. Added to this daily regimen are the days spent in hospitals being treated with antibiotics that happen throughout the year.

This illness has changed everything. For me, it has changed my relationship to life, to love, to the universe. It changed my heart. It hit me like a tsunami, and I had to rebuild everything from scratch.

For him, it is a way of life. He is only beginning to realize that his life is very different from his sister’s or his friends’. He is trying his best to live his life like a ‘normal’ kid but sometimes it hits him too. And then come the questions that have no answers.

In our family, crisis is ever-present. We try to keep it buried, to live our lives, but we are conscious it is always around the corner. We never know when it will hit, but we know that it will.

As a mother and photographer, I wanted to look at Philippe’s life in our home. It is the point of view of a mother observing her son. This series is a reflection on quiet battles, on strength, and also on hope. It is a reflection on life.

Julie Morel obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University in 2011. Through contemporary photography and environmental portraits, she deals with themes related to identity, privacy, and familiarity. Since 2006, Morel ‘s work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions, and appeared in the publication Silver. She lives and works in the Montreal area.