AHS photographer documents pandemic in new book

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An Alberta Health Services photojournalist has documented two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in a new black-and-white picture book.

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Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay, by Leah Hennel, illustrates how Alberta citizens, doctors, nurses and patients have adapted and found safe new ways to celebrate, socialize and work during the crisis global public health.

Hennel, whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world, captures images from the front lines of the AHS COVID-19 response from the early days of the pandemic. Her photographs show how people have adapted and found safe new ways to celebrate special occasions and accomplishments. But they also show how Albertans have coped with the tragedies, deaths and disabilities that the pandemic has brought.

“I’ve covered a lot in my career, but never anything so heavy, so important,” said the award-winning photographer, who joined AHS in March 2019 – a year before the first confirmed case of COVID- 19 in the province.

“Other stories I’ve followed have been brief – a day or two, maybe a week. I cover them, then move on to the next task. This one, however, has been relentless. Over the last two years, i have witnessed a lot of death and sadness, and a lot of grief.but i have also witnessed many happy times and have experienced first hand the kindness in people .

Throughout the pandemic, many photos of Hennel have been shared with the public, via the AHS website, as well as with AHS staff and physicians, and the media.

“None of us fully appreciated the lasting impact COVID-19 would have on our healthcare system,” said Tanya Harvey, a registered nurse at Foothills Medical Center who is pictured in the book. “Leah’s images are honest, real, and capture the shared experiences of patients, families, and healthcare workers as we navigate – and continue to navigate – the unprecedented demands COVID-19 has placed on our system.”

The 240-page book is published by Rocky Mountain Books. It is now for sale online and in bookstores, and available as an e-book. Proceeds from sales of Alone Together will go to health foundations that support the work of AHS.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services to more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-centered, accessible and sustainable quality health care system for all Albertans..

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