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Art of Medicine

Kashmir Herd

By Spencer James ('16)

The most rewarding part of photography, says Spencer James ('16) is being "mindful of your surroundings," just like being mindful in practicing medicine. "You tune into details and subtleties that might otherwise escape your attention," he says.

Seeing poverty, disease, and war has shaped my interests in medicine and global health.

"Kashmir Herd" was shot in the Kashmir area of northern India on a dirt road winding between India and Pakistan, specifically between the Indian towns of Srinagar and Leh. James was on a Bonderman Travel Fellowship while a student at the University of Washington. "The scenery was stunning (this is where the Himalayas become the Karakoram range as they extend into Pakistan) and it was also incredible to see the cultural change from the more Muslim town of Srinagar to the very Buddhist town of Leh," says James.

He finds inspiration in photographers who support causes. One example is Frank Bruynbroek, who shoots photos of rescued dogs and uses proceeds from book sales to help support humane societies. James has traveled in about 50 countries around the world, many of which face serious challenges with poverty, health, and human rights. "Seeing poverty, disease, and war has shaped my interests in medicine and global health," he says. "As a photographer, it's natural to try to share these experiences with people back home, because I think it's important for people and society in general to see how other people around the world live. Yet, it's difficult to share these photos without feeling voyeuristic. For me, the value of photographing someone else's life in this context is that it can make others aware of what people around the world experience, and it can also dispel misconceptions."


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