Creative Associates: Photo reporting of pulmonary rehabilitation

Maria: A General Practitioner, At-Bashi, Naryn District, Krygyzstan. Image: Carey Marks

Dr Rupert Jones is leading a team of University of Plymouth researchers within an international programme of research addressing the problem of chronic lung disease in resource-poor settings.

The FRESH AIR programme is carried out in Uganda, the Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India and Greece. These low-resource settings have high levels of lung disease related to tobacco consumption and household /outdoor air pollution.

The studies include pulmonary rehabilitation in Crete, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam, and midwife project in Uganda - an education programme aiming to educate mothers and local communities in Jinja about reducing the risks of biomass smoke exposure to mothers and children.

Creative Associate and photojournalist, Carey Marks, accompanied the team on a visit to Kyrgyzstan where they were working in the implementation of pulmonary rehabilitation.

Tuberculosis patients resting on the broken bench outside Bishkek Tuberculosis sanatorium. Image: Carey Marks

Carey Marks said:

“A visit to Kyrgyzstan is a stark contrast to our lifestyle in the West. Many rural people largely enjoy an outdoor life – particularly during the summer months when the weather is extremely favourable. Many families decamp from their normal dwellings and spend the whole summer living in yurts on the mountainside – however relatively few of them still live permanently in yurts. Winter temperatures can reach -25.

Yet city folk still live beneath the shadow of the Soviet system, and the legacy of industrial hard labour and smoking is still reflected within the faces of the older generation.”

Patient at Krygyz Research Institute of Balneology and Recovery Treatment. This patient has dedicated his treatment to using rehab in an effort to overcome his disease. Image: Carey Marks

Carey added:

“I was very keen to capture the everyday lifestyles and culture of the people that live here. But there is a stark contrast between the bustling urban capital of Bishkek, and the hugely open, rustic landscape that the main population enjoy.

It is hard to convey the pristine nature of the landscape and the fact that it is so sparsely populated. But I’ve tried to capture the faces of everyday people going about their lives within context of this fascinating country.”

Patient at Krygyz Research Institute of Balneology and Recovery Treatment. Interestingly, it doesn’t take much to move people from the formal expressions in portraits into a much warmer mood. Image: Carey Marks

The group worked with doctors, nurses, patients and communities to consider how the rehab could be adapted to the people and cultures of Kyrgyzstan. 

An exhibition of photographs shows the people involved in the cities, towns and even mountain villages and yurt dwelling communities.

The photojournalist approach taken for this project not only acts as a record for the project team of their journey but also brings to life the huge value of rehabilitation to ordinary people.

We will be showcasing Carey’s photojournalism at the University’s Research Festival.

Carey Marks Photography

Carey Marks is a portrait, research and documentary photographer who has a passionate interest in portraits and photo-journalism: particularly 'communities and people in context'. He is also an established art director and graphic designer, with over twenty years experience in London and the US.

His recent work for the University of Plymouth's Jali Ardhi, or ‘care for the land’ project, has been featured in the Guardian, and he has developed branding for Vivienne Westwood’s 'MAN', designed invitations for her Majesty the Queen, and designed various campaigns for organisations such as the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery, Channel 4 Sitcom Comedy Festival and the London Underground.

Read more about Carey on his website

Addressing the problem of chronic lung disease in resource-poor settings

Lung damage from the air we breathe is a growing global problem and one of the leading causes of death worldwide

Rupert and his team are working with communities in Uganda, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan to reduce the exposure to those at risk.

Read more about Rupert's work

Creative Associates

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Image: Carey Marks/Creative Associates

Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

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