Annabel Clark, "Handstand", 2008, from the Carmen and Lupita series, C-print, 20x24

Annabel Clark, “Handstand”, 2008, from the Carmen and Lupita series, C-print, 20×24

Annabel Clark

My camera gives me courage. It allows me to look at things that scare me, to speak to strangers who donít share my language, and to connect with people whose daily experiences are the opposite of my own. My camera guides me through difficult times in my own life and reveals the challenges that others may face each day. As a photographer, I am here to tell their story.

I began photographing 11-year-old conjoined twins Carmen and Lupita Andrade in 2008. Born in Veracruz, Mexico, they came to the United States on a medical visa at age two with their parents and older sister Abigail. After meeting with various surgeons about separation it was determined that the chance of survival for the twins was too low to go forth with the surgery. Despite the setback, Carmen and Lupita have spent the last 9 years growing and thriving with the support of neighbors and members of their school and local Connecticut community. Years of physical therapy have given them the ability to live active lives, in which they run, jump, dance, play the piano and act in school plays with their friends and classmates. With humor and charm, Carmen and Lupita challenge us to redefine ìnormalî and leave pity at the door.

Annabel Clark (Brooklyn, New York) received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Parson School of Design in New York in 2003. She is currently a teacher at the Creative Center, a non-profit organization that provides free art workshops to people living with cancer and other chronic illnesses. Her work has been exhibited at the Minnesota Center for Photography (Minneapolis, MN), Michael Mazzeo Gallery (NYC) and the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, FL) as well as at hospitals and medical schools across the country. She has had her work published in The New York Times Magazine, The Observer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Redbook and Proto Magazine. She published an artist book in 2004 titled Journal: A Mother and Daughterís Recovery from Breast Cancer.