In her series called “Black Women in Health Care“, Photographer Karene Isabelle Jean-Baptiste uses her Instagram account to share the stories of the courageous women of color, who fight to save lives every day. The first feature starts with Barbara Petit-Frere, one of the many health-care professionals who caught COVID-19 doing her job on the front lines.
When asked why she started the series, she responds: ” I would listen to these stories and tell myself, you’re basically buried at home, and these other women are, yes, scared, but still going to do their work treating patients,” she said. “It got me thinking: ‘Are we telling the story of these people who are, in a way, sacrificing themselves?’ There’s a human aspect of it that I really wanted to outline.”
“I was in lockdown at home, washing the produce, cleaning my hands obsessively, and my husband was still going to work. He was like, ‘You need to get out there. Wear your mask, be careful, but the germ is not outside waiting for you to contaminate you,'” said Jean-Baptiste, who is of Haitian heritage and knew there were many women in her community who could not stay home but were rather on the front lines working to keep people safe during the pandemic.
Karene’s Instagram wall exhibition features twelve nurses, with images being added on a regular basis. Each subject is photographed in their work uniform and “an outfit they feel fabulous in.”
“For the most part, they want to show me who they are,” said Jean-Baptiste. “When they wear their uniforms, there’s a lot of emotion that comes with that, so they show me that side, and when I ask them to go change and change their makeup, it’s something else. This is who they really are, and it’s their fun selves and how they interact with people they know.”
For more information and to follow this Instagram series, visit: @kareneisabelle