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Helping eyes photo project

Last holiday season, local photographer Marc Mintz brought his mobile photo studio to a well-lit office in the Valliant building. There, health care providers, administrative staff and environmental services workers lined up for the opportunity to have their portrait taken to recognize and honor health care workers and first responders in Juneau. Seventy-two Bartlett employees showed up in everything from surgical masks to full personal protective equipment for photo sessions with the Helping Eyes project.

"I'd been seeing these projects across the country, some even made by doctors themselves," says Marc. "The idea is not unique, but the people are."

The project, funded in part by a CBJ COVID-19 Juneau ARTWorks Grant, was inspired by Marc's partner, who is a hospitalist at Bartlett, and his friend, who is a first responder. The setup is simple—a black background with soft lighting—but the effect is dramatic, drawing the viewer to the eyes of the subject.

Marc made 126 portraits and framed 20 for exhibit. "The hardest part of being a photographer is having to make those selections," he says. A little time helps. "If I give it some distance, it is much easier for those little things to pop out," he says. The choices were also narrowed by the need to represent as many groups as possible. Representatives of Capital City Fire Rescue, the Juneau Police Department and Valley Medical Clinic were also captured by Marc's intrepid lens.

The 20 framed, 16x20 portraits are displayed across from the infection prevention office in the main hospital building in coordination with the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. An online gallery of all Helping Eyes portraits will also be shared on Marc's website, www.marcallenmintz.com.

Marc has been posting one portrait per day on Instagram: @helpingeyesjuneau.

"I'm hoping by the time I post that last portrait, things are going to be a lot better in our community," he says.

Want to see more?

Visit www.marcallenmintz.com to view the entire Helping Eyes photo project. Or follow the project on Instagram: @helpingeyesjuneau.

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