Conveying the intangible through photography

A few months ago, I sat down with my communications team to discuss ways to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Wesley Nurse program. Naturally, my inclination was towards incorporating video or photography, and after some brainstorming, we landed on the concept of a portrait series.

Now, the work of a Wesley Nurse can be described on a page through a string of words like faith-based, community and holistic, but there aren't words that I've found that effectively capture the spirit of the Wesley Nurse. While no two Wesley Nurses are the same, their faith and commitment to serving the least served in their communities is evident in everything they do. I've been blessed to have had opportunities to work with many of our nurses, and after every encounter, I'm left in awe and inspired by the influence they each have on countless lives. My challenge was to find a way to capture that feeling while conveying their work.

With these hands is a series of 10 photos that I created to bring together the words used to describe the Wesley Nurse program with the intangible, indescribable feeling of care that every one of them brings to their communities. I chose to focus on the hands of the nurses in this series because like our Nurses, describing hands on paper is easy. Five fingers each (usually), a palm, attached to a wrist. But if you look closely at hands, they are as nuanced as each one of our 83 nurses. They are capable of doing amazing things. They represent so much more than phalanges and metacarpals, muscles and tendons. They're how we experience the world through our sense of touch and feel. My hope is that these photos will impart a sense of feeling and emotion in viewers that words fail to communicate.

I'd like to thank Jennifer Knoulton, vice president of regional operations, nursing, and Catalina Schultze-Kraft, director of regional nursing & wellness programs, for their support and insight with this project. I'd also like to thank my wonderful hand models for their help. Thank you to Pam Castles, Danna Dyess, Yvonne Trevino, Kathy Bates, Sonia Cavazos, Kathy Jimenez, Pat Stepherson, Dawn Gonzales, Celeste Reid and Yvonne Garcia. Please return the favor and give them a hand. Thanks to everyone of our Wesley Nurses for living out our mission of "Serving Humanity to Honor God."

Dustin Wenger is the multimedia production coordinator for Methodist Healthcare Ministries, where he manages all aspects of video production from conceptualization to distribution across various channels. He also oversees all photography for the organization as well as provides graphic design support.