Chrysler Museum Displays Caregiver Portraits by Local Physician



Rosa, caregiver for Olivia, her mother, and for other family before her, from the Caregiver Series

D. Michael Geller

Dr. D. Michael Geller combines medicine, intimacy and an adolescent love for photography to create his newest exhibition A Labor of Love: The Caregiver Portraits at Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum of Art. The 25-piece showcase highlights the often-overlooked caregiver and their journey in caring for and supporting their ailing loved ones.

Geller is a former geriatric medicine physician at Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology. Geller spent years in the hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine focusing intently on his patients, but never failed to recognize the loved ones at their sides. The immeasurable devotion these caregivers—spouses, parents, children, dotting professionals—expressed for his patients seemed to him worthy of exposure.

Geller first discovered photography when an asthma diagnosis deemed him ill-equipped for high-energy sports played by his brothers. He took to the sideline with a lens, and despite his asthma, became an active participant on the field, stealing shots of victory and loss.

Caregiver exhibit, Chrysler Museum
Adrianne, caregiver for Liana, her daughter, dances with her in their den, from the
Caregiver Series

Caregiver Portraits at the Chrysler Museum
Michelle helps Bernice, her mother and herself a former caregiver, into bed, from the
Caregiver Series

Caregiver portraits at Chrysler Museum of Art
Amos lies in a hospital bed in his den while Allena, his wife and caregiver, stands off
to his side, from the Caregiver Series

He returned to a metaphorical sideline after his retirement from the hospital in 2011 and began capturing the victories and losses felt in Coastal Virginia’s caregiving community. As displayed in the exhibit, Geller exposes a host of emotion, tenderness, defeat, happiness and the like, of 21 local caregivers. On display are wives caring for ailing husbands, disabled children dancing with mothers and an array of affectionate relationships that honor the sacrifices, be it physical, financial or emotional, these caregivers make for the ones they love every day.

A Labor of Love: The Caregivers Portraits can be viewed in the museum’s Focus Gallery now until June 23.

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