42 Days / by Julie Platanias


The foundation of this series, a photo series that I shot from room 1668 in the Stem Cell Transplant Unit at Northwestern Hospital was initially to keep a pictorial diary of my daily experience while receiving a stem cell transplant.  I knew that I would be isolated.  I wanted to transcend the physical experience of being there and find a balance during that period of time by both creating art and documenting an important time in my life. For a period of 6 weeks, from January to February 2018, while I was sequestered in my hospital room awaiting the Stem Cells donated by my sister to engraft and become part of me, I had no immunity, and out of necessity I was confined to this space


I had the good fortune of being in the corner room on the 16thfloor with floor to ceiling windows on two sides and I was able to explore the city of Chicago and the perpetually evolving surface of Lake Michigan without venturing outside of my room. Throughout the many hours I spent watching from my window, my camera in hand, I was rewarded with the opportunity to capture many dawns and dusks, snowy evenings, foggy afternoons, and sunny winter days.  I also documented the process through photos I shot inside the room. These two groups of photos complement each other, showing both the freedom and hope of the outside and the fortitude and fear inside.  


This compilation reflects my many moods, my melancholia and my optimism, but above all my gratitude. These photos are a visual account of the time I spent in that room. This journey was a challenging one, inciting many emotions articulated in this series.  As the weeks passed, and the stem cells slowly engrafted, I increasingly looked forward to my future and I am delighted to be able to share my experience.