"This is an area of the hospital for underage girls—13 or 14-- who’ve just given birth. This girl looks like she’s daydreaming, maybe. But I remember when I saw her, I got the feeling from her that she was overwhelmed. I didn’t speak with her, but I spoke with the doctors who have a lot of concerns about underage girls with teenage pregnancies. They try to educate them—and get the babies healthy and with their families."

"These are not underage ladies, but they are women who did just have babies. It’s a beautiful moment in my opinion. This room was quiet, relaxed and had a reverent feel about it. These hospitals and clinics are very clean and up to date--but it is surprising to see twenty babies in one room. I got pretty excited about this shot because of the symmetry of the two beds, and the overall composition."

"This is one of my favorite photos. By the time I got to this woman, I was pretty pleased with the photos I’d taken. Then I see this woman and these twin babies. They are so beautiful--this woman and her heavenly face. We didn’t exchange any words, but I looked at her and she nodded to me that it was OK for me to take pictures and even arranged the babies for the photographs."

"This kid posed for me—he was very cute. It’s a pretty serious situation at the hospital but in the kids’ room, you got the feeling things were going to be okay. That in a few days, they’d all be outside playing ball. I’m not sure if he recognized me, but sometimes if I see a kid or two wearing a Batman shirt, I tell them who I am and that I was in the Dark Knight because it always gives them a thrill. It’s fun to have somebody from the movies to take pictures of them."

"This is one of my favorites. Look at this guy. He kept posing for me to take pictures—I could’ve had a fashion show with this kid. I couldn’t take enough pictures. I mean, look at this kid. He’s doing all right."

"This girl is in the same room as the previous photo. I spotted her, playing with a balloon with corn rows in her hair. When I started taking her picture, she put the ball down and started to pose. I communicated to her -- and her mom who was on the left--to keep playing and just keep doing what she’s doing. So this is the result."

"This is a photograph of a school for, what you might call, delinquent children, run by a Catholic priest. They rely on donations for textbooks and just about everything else. What I love about this photo are the lines. Photography is all about lines and composition and distinctions. Everybody is individuated in this photo, with our attention directed in a nice way. I had no idea I had taken this shot--so it was a pleasant surprise."

IMAGE 8: "This woman is a nurse in the pediatric HIV ward. I just loved her smile. This to me is what photography is all about. This photograph is genuine--and that smile is worth all I’ve ever spent on photography, which is a lot. I think she’s actually laughing at me because I’m the weird guy with the camera."

"This was a crazy thing. We went to an old folks home run by nuns, a fairly large facility. We were touring through and as everyone walked ahead, I saw this woman in a wheelchair at the end of the hall, looking out the window. The image was so intense for me as the photographer, I almost felt like I had to get out of there."

"When I started photographing this gentleman, he was asleep in his wheelchair. I thought, 'Is he alive? Am I taking a picture of a dead man?' I didn’t stop taking photos, because that’s the kind of guy I am, I guess. Then he slowly awoke and I learned he’s 99 years old, he’s the oldest guy there, and he’s the house favorite at this place. He let me take about ten photographs, then got up and walked away. Here’s a fun little detail: If you notice in the picture, he only has one lens in his glasses.It’s one of my favorite photographs I’ve ever taken."

Co.Create

The Two Faces Of Aaron Eckhart: Actor--And Photojournalist

Aaron Eckhart is known to audiences worldwide as Harvey "Two Face" Dent, Batman’s acid-faced nemesis in Dark Knight Returns. But Eckhart has a whole other side: He’s a photography obsessive who recently shot a series of pictures for the humanitarian medical aid organization AmeriCares. Here, Eckhart shares his favorite images from a recent tour of medical facilities in the Dominican Republic.

"Like honest acting, there’s nothing better than an honest picture," says Aaron Eckhart. "And everyone in these photos are all real people and real life—that’s why I cherish these images."

Eckhart recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic on behalf of AmeriCares, a U.S.-based humanitarian aid organization that specializes in the distribution of medical supplies and quality treatment in disaster areas. "I found out about them through Jennifer Aniston," Eckhart recalls. "She was doing a fundraiser and I happened to be in the building. They told me what they did and I said, 'What do you need me to do? I’ll go wherever you send me, and I’ll take pictures and maybe do a show or magazines--maybe make a book someday over the course of the year--whatever you need me to do."

Eckhart’s Dominican Republic images were all taken in the summer of 2011, over three days in various hospitals and clinics. "We visited cancer units, HIV units, children’s units and old folks homes," Eckhart says. "These images may look sad or grim to some people, but they’re not. When I was there, I saw happiness and hope. I think these images reflect the reality of people’s lives, but what’s captured is all beautiful to me."

And, apparently, eye-pleasing to fellow photography buffs. Several of these Dominican Republic images were auctioned off to the public by AmeriCares for thousands of dollars apiece. ("Somebody took pity on me," says Eckhart.)

In the slideshow above, Eckhart takes us through his selection of favorite photographs--and the compelling stories behind them.

Emiliano Larizza

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1 Comments

  • Dennis Felton

    Great story! I love still #3. The woman with the twins resonates
    with the joy of parenthood to me.