My Heart Versus the Real World

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The Book

My Heart vs. the Real World is a photo documentary volume that explores the lives of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) through striking black-and-white photographs and interviews with subjects and their families. Ten chapters each spotlight a single child and in an additional chapter, the author writes about his own experience of growing up and living with CHD. The images and personal accounts reveal how, compared with someone healthy, a chronically ill child develops adult attitudes in a much different way. These are stories of how CHD patients and their families cope with and overcome extraordinary obstacles and learn about themselves during the process. My Heart vs. the Real World is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always thought-provoking, and altogether human.

”Several of Gerber’s photographs are haunting depictions of the children in their toughest moments- in immense pain just after surgery, for example. But because Gerber has shared the children’s experiences- he was born with bradycardia and has a pacemaker- the photographs feel intimate rather than voyeuristic…The way Gerber manages to convey a complex whirl of emotions and qualities, such as determination, vulnerability, and sorrow, in a single frame is partly due to this shared intimacy with his subjects, but it is also down to his innate skill for portraiture.” –The Lancet

The Photographer

Max S. Gerber is a professional photographer. Born three months premature with bradycardia (an abnormally low heart rate), he has had a pacemaker since the age of eight. His pictures have been published in more than a dozen countries, and in prominent periodicals such as TimeNewsweekThe Village Voice,L.A. WeeklyThe Sunday Telegraph ReviewDoubleTake Magazineand Los Angeles Magazine.

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