Tag: transplant

Image of a Transplant Man: Laura Cuch

Image of a Transplant Man: Laura Cuch

In the Winter of 2010, I was approached by a photographer who was making a study of ‘Hidden Lives’. She was taking images of people who had confronted some kind of ‘body problem’. As I recall the three main groups were transplant patients, insomniacs, and women who had not been able to have children.

She came to my home and interveiwed me for a number of hours about my eperiences. She then went away and pondered what I had said; and came back to me with a  number fo suggestions for  a photography session….

Her work has now been presented at a number of exhibitions, in a limited edition book  (Sleeplesee, No Ma, Trans) and on her web site. You may like to look at it in more detail via:


Not unusually I suspect, this is not an image that I see of myself! It is a fine image but I don’t like it! I look so much more confident than I usually feel.

About Trans

Trans is a photographic portrait project about people who have had an organ transplant and how this experience becomes woven into their personal and biographical narratives. The possibility of living thanks to another person’s organ somehow transgresses the Western essentialist view of individuality and subjectivity – the notion of a unified, self-contained body. As such, Trans aims to look at how organ transplantation can affect people’s sense of self-identity.

Individuals have experienced taste, personality or behavioral changes after an organ transplant, which they sometimes relate to the traits of their donor. Recent biomedical research in the USA suggests that the brain does not have an exclusive role in ‘data processing’ and that it may be possible for a transplanted organ to connect a recipient with the donor’s memories. Despite such research, the theory of cellular memory has not been scientifically proven and changes to donor recipients are currently explained as a result of improving health, medication or psychological shock.

There is no question that an organ transplant is a life-changing experience, full of emotional, embodied and social complexities. Often these translate into certain fears and desires regarding, for example, the acceptance or rejection of the organ; the integrity of one’s identity; mixed feelings towards the donor’s family, such as gratitude, guilt, health responsibility or debt; the variable levels of anonymity between donor families and recipients and; an urge to make sense of what may be perceived as a second chance at life.

The photographs and texts that make up Trans were created using a combination of interview and portraiture. Participants were interviewed first in order to evoke their experience of transplantation as well as to agree to the location, setting and approach for the portraits. During the photographic sessions, the focus was placed on the affective and emotional aspects that had emerged in conversation.

I would like to thank the participants of this project for their collaboration and trust.

If you would like to know about how to register as an organ donor, please visitwww.uktransplant.org.uk

However, if you wish to become and organ donor, the most effective way is to tell your relatives.

About the trilogy

Trans is the third part of a trilogy that aims to question what it is to be human by exploring issues of subjectivity in relation to health and disease; the imaginary around the body and its control; and ‘lack’ as a corporeal condition. The first project of this trilogy, Sleepless, looks at people who sleep very little. The second project, No Ma, is about women who are not mothers and are certain they will never be. One of the key themes of the trilogy is to visually explore aspects of the human condition that are not visible.

The motivation behind this trilogy is to address vital experiences that somehow transgress the notion of a ‘normal’ human subject (established and defined by social norms through scientific/cultural discourse) in order to challenge conventional understandings of the human subject.

Giving Up Drink: on alcohol, livers and transplants

Giving Up Drink: on alcohol, livers and transplants Illness is an opportunity, though a dangerous one. To seize this opportunity I need to  remain with illness a little longer and share what I have learned through it. Arthur W.Frank : At the Will of the Body (2002: p1) As many seasoned researchers through the years…


How long is a man’s life finally?

Cyril E Power: Whence and Whither

A thousand days or only one?

One week or a few centuries?

How long does a man’s death last?

And what do we mean when we say, “gone forever”?

-Brian Patten, So Many Different Lengths of Time (2007:154)

If you need cheering up, you can see Brian Patten speak this poem wandering around a graveyard!  Link to Brian Patten here

My most recent work has been concerned with worrying about time and generations. You can find some of this writing  in the Generational section of Selected Articles

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present,
All time is unredeemable.

T.S.Eliot Burnt Norton

CyrilPower (1872-1951) : Whence and Whither

Article: My Multiple Sick Bodies

Below is my most recent article published in April 2012. It is my first published piece based on my illness. MY MULTIPLE SICK BODIES: SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM, AUTOETHNOGRAPHY AND EMBODIMENT   Ken Plummer   Published in Bryan S Turner ed.  Routledge Handbook of Body Studies 2012: Routledge p75-93   What happens when my body breaks down…

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