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It all started with a heart

At only 23, struggling with cystic fibrosis, Eva started blogging on LiveJournal as she waited on the list for a double lung transplant. After her transplant, Eva and then medical student and photographer Cyrus McEachern, collaborated on an image for a heart-themed photo contest his cardiology professor was hosting. These stunning images, born from Eva’s artwork (with herself as the canvas) and Cyrus’ photos, are the heart of our campaign.Through her story and her art, Eva’s campaign continues, #4Eva. (Which means forever in Twitterverse!)

This first photo series also inspired a further collaboration with BC Transplant commissioning the pair to do a “Live Life. Pass it On” photo series – Eva with her lungs, and other transplant recipients with the organs they had received painted on their bodies. We also collaborated with BC Transplant to create their 2012 Live Life Pass It On PSA using footage from the film. 

Cyrus on Photographing Eva

by Cyrus McEachern

I’ve been known to change hobbies and interests almost as frequently as my underwear, but photography’s been a favourite of mine for the past few years. I made the switch from point-and-shoots to an SLR about 3 years ago, took an intro to photoshop class at a community college, and have spent thousands of hours toying on photoshop since. In my first year of medical school, one of the cardiology professors hosted an annual heart-themed photo contest titled ‘Heartfelt images’.

One of my ideas was to do a portrait and overlay an x-ray of a heart over the chest. I had gotten to know Eva over some lunches at UBC and I knew she liked photography and modelling, so I asked her to be my model – she enthusiastically obliged. When she showed up to my place she realized she had her face-paints in her car, and we figured we could use them somehow. Without much of an idea of what we were doing (it was my first-ever portrait shoot), Eva painted a heart on her chest in the mirror with an image from google as her guide. I took hundreds of photos that afternoon, but the one with her arms over her head stood out to me like none other. I stayed up all night editing it, and came up with the image that has been featured in many newspapers, magazines, and of course Eva’s blog.

We were so happy with how it turned out that we did a series of images in the same style: organ transplant recipients with their new organs painted on their bodies (including Eva and her second pair of lungs). These images also turned out very well, and are going to be used in an ad campaign by BC Transplant, aimed at recruiting as many new organ donors as possible. This whole experience has given me hope that I can combine my love of photography and training as a physician to create a unique career in which I can make large-scale changes in health care issues through art. That is my dream.

peace and love,
~cy