Children and the Experience of Illness



About the Project

Each year for the last 11 years, Duke Pediatrician John Moses teaches a class called “Children and the Experience of Illness.” For this class, Duke undergraduates work closely with a child to teach them how to use a camera as a means of exploring illness — which either the child themselves or another family member is experiencing.

Students also conduct their own documentary work. By simultaneously examining the photographs of children and their student mentors, important understandings of the experience of illness can be realized. Dr. Moses is currently collaborating with CDS to produce a book about the work generated from this class.

About the Photographer

John Moses, MD is a primary care pediatrician and a documentary photographer based at Duke University. He has been interested in using documentary photography to explore the intersection of social and medical issues. His photographs of adolescent parents in North Carolina were included in the book The Youngest Parents (Norton Press). He also contributed photographs to Big Doctoring in America: Profiles in Primary Care (UC Press) which presents oral histories of fifteen pioneering primary care clinicians. In addition to maintaining a busy clinical practice, Dr. Moses teaches photography at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. His courses include Medicine and the Vision of Documentary Photography and Children and the Experience of Illness wherein children with chronic illness are paired up with student mentors and taught how to use a camera as a means of expression. His current projects include a series of portraits of gun crime victims and a book that will showcase the photographs of children coping with illness.

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