Moments later the door opens and out walks another patient and doctor, each with a broad smile. Behind them photographer David Ken steps forward to welcome his next subjects to their LOL Project photo session.
Conceived by Ken and creative director William Lafarge, the LOL Project is dedicated to a belief in the power of laughter to make people feel good – and to do good. The photographer works by joking with his subjects and taking their pictures during the ensuing laughter. The desired moment is one Ken calls l’instant magique, the magic moment when his subjects really let go and laugh, forgetting themselves and perhaps also revealing something of themselves in the process.
Visiting with patients in hospitals is an area of specialty for the LOL Project, a chance to “do good for those who need it most,” according to Ken. Levity can be hard to find in such settings, especially for people facing serious illness or disease. The moments of laughter during the photo sessions, and the keepsake pictures patients take from them, provide a welcome diversion from health concerns and hospital routines.
Thanks to Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), the LOL Project will be able to work its magique for more patients with serious diseases like cancer or cardiovascular disease this summer. The LOL Project Tour, sponsored by BMS, is sending the LOL team to photograph patients, together with their caregivers whenever possible, at eight hospitals across France.
“What I remember most is the smile of each patient leaving the room,” said Anis Rezigue a BMS marketing manager who witnessed one of the events. “I also remember the friendly looks patients and their caregivers exchanged afterward. The experience seemed to have created a connection.”