The NY Professional Nurses Union and photo-documentarian Bruce Byers announce the publication of a powerful photo-illustrated salute to the Nurses NYPNU that served on the frontline at the epicenter of the New York City pandemic. The 118-page, 12 by 8 inch commemorative book tells the story of fighting the Covid-19 crisis from the perspective of the 1300 NYPNU nurses that served during the initial stages of the pandemic. According to Eileen Toback, Executive Director, New York Professional Nurses Union, “In the Spring of 2020 we faced our greatest threat. We stood together, reuniting as many families with their loved ones as we could, and were in solidarity with all of New York. We bent the curve.” Byers adds “When New York City erupted in cheers at 7:00 each night, I caught the nurses spontaneously on camera flooding out of the hospital during their shifts for relief from the ongoing level of stress and death. My intention was to photograph them as unique human beings swept into a global crisis. Their portraits are a tangible way to say ‘I see you. I appreciate you. You are valued.’”
The book illustrates the many facets of the nursing experience during the pandemic with commentary and photographs, including: “Always Essential, It Takes a Community, Behind the Mask,” We Weren’t Alone”, and “Eyes Have It.” Quotes from the nurses who battled the health crisis provide a compelling narrative: “I would like future generations to know that I, as well as every essential worker, looked past the challenge of risk to our own, as well as our families' safety, to come together and perform the job that we committed to in helping others…Nobody went into nursing thinking we would live through a global pandemic, however, we survived and continue to thrive. I am so proud of Lenox Hill and my fellow NYPNU nurses; after living through this, we can do anything! … Being a nurse is sometimes a thankless job. Thank you so much New York for caring for us and doing your part in this battle while we cared for others.”
To see the whole series, visit my Facebook Gallery.
A percentage of the profits from sales of this book will be donated to "Covid Survivors for Change", a non-partisan nationwide community of people who have been directly impacted by Covid. https://covidsurvivorsforchange.org
About Bruce Byers
Bruce Byers is a professional photographer with over 35 years of experience in commercial and artistic work. His early career was focused on advertising and fashion. That work led to travel photography and sparked his artistic wanderlust. Byers amassed a portfolio of stock images while traveling around the world -- from the Mississippi to the Nile. His recent work focuses on mission work for non-profit organizations, documenting relief and medical assistance missions focused on saving children and promoting their good health. Bruce Byers has spent over 35 years perfecting the art of observing. His images reflect a range of emotions, immersing the viewer in a world of private moments that most of us would otherwise miss. Unstaged and unstructured, these images reflect spontaneous moments of introspection, isolation, joy, serenity and playfulness. The genuine feelings communicated in Byers work represent the extraordinary in ordinary, everyday life.
About the New York Professional Nurses Union ( NYPNU )
We always knew nurses were the backbone of Lenox Hill Hospital, Lenox Health Greenwich Village, and Manhattan Eye, Ear, Throat Hospital, but now the world knows we are its lifeblood. The nurses that make up the New York Professional Nurses Union are a tight knit group that have a history of meeting every challenge. We were the first union in the country to incorporate nurse-to-patient ratios to ensure safe staffing and we eliminated mandatory overtime because we had proven ourselves to always be reliable – whether it was running to the hospitals on the morning of September 11th or sleeping on cots between shifts after Hurricane Sandy. The Spring of 2020, facing our greatest threat, we stood together, reuniting as many families with their loved ones as we could, and in solidarity with all of New York, we bent the curve. For our nurses, we hope these photos fill you with pride of your exceptionalism and remind you that you are never alone. We will always have each other’s backs.
We are indubitably #essential. Together, we are #unstoppable.