May 5, 2017- Manhattan, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy Kowal views some of her classmates artwork at The Arts Students League of New York in Midtown Manhattan. Rendy suffered a brain injury from a car accident in 1987. It took three years before she was diagnosed as a brain injury survivor, after which point she began intensive occupational therapy that has since helped her cope with the mental difficulties of a brain injury such as trouble organizing and reading social cues.
May 5, 2017- Manhattan, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy paints in her ceramics class at The Arts Students League of New York.
May 5, 2017- Manhattan, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy's walker sits in a basement locker area of The Arts Students League of New York. Rendy spends most of her time attending classes and helping out at The League and has done so for several years.
Mar 4, 2017- New York, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy goes on her biweekly walk through Central Park with Achilles International, an organization that advocates and facilitates physical outings for people with disabilities throughout New York City.
Mar 25, 2017- New York, N.Y., U.S.A.- Photos of Rendy's family members, some of whom have passed away, in her apartment in midtown Manhattan.
April 27, 2017- New York, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy rests near the window in her home in midtown Manhattan. Everyday she sits near the window and thanks the universe. She says, “Because of the brain injury, I have to be grateful. I can't just look back at what I had, I have to go with what is”.
April 27, 2017- New York, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy's calendar and reminder list in on her bathroom wall. Rendy writes herself reminders of how to manage the effects of her brain injury and keeps a detailed calendar so she does not forget social engagements.
April 27, 2017- New York, N.Y., U.S.A.- Rendy in her bedroom in her apartment where she lives alone in Midtown Manhattan. She refers to her bedroom as her “safe space”, where all her comforting possessions and family keepsakes are on display. Rendy often leaves most of her objects out where they can be seen so that she does not forget about them.
Feb 21, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Frankie Bowen walks from his home to Campaign Against Hunger, a community center in the Bed-Stuyvesant neighbourhood that offers free groceries for low-income citizens. Frankie was randomly attacked in 1997 by a group of men in Brooklyn, NY. He was beaten severely with a car club which put him into a coma for thirty days. As a result, Frankie continues to struggle with short and long term memory loss, slowness, mood swings and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression.
May 5, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Frankie in his home in the Ocean Hill neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Frankie resides in a government subsidized halfway house. He has his own private bedroom and shares the rest of the house with other disabled people and recovering drug addicts.
Feb 21, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Photos of Frankie's family members and clippings from magazines on his bedroom wall.
May 5, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Frankie leaves his home to visit his neighbour Anthony Hampton.
May 5, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Frankie spends time with his neighbour Anthony Hampton and his caregiver Aurelia Pinkard in Anthony's home.
May 5, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Frankie socializes at Wonderful Life, an adult day care center in the Ocean Hill neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Frankie Bowen describes the center as a welcoming place that has made him feel included in his community and kept him away from drinking as a result of his depression.
Feb 21, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Wonderful Life after everyone has left for the day.
May 5, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Frankie outside his home in the Ocean Hill neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Traumatic brain injury survivor Sherry Grant in her home in Sheepshead Bay. Sherry was hit by a car in 1983 as she walked on the sidewalk to the school where she worked as a teacher in Queens. The brain injury resulted in partial paralysis, slowness and memory loss. In the years immediately following the injury she was able to maintain her independence; walking with a limp, cooking and engaging in social activities. As she has aged she has developed dementia that combined with the brain injury symptoms, has left her with severe short-term memory loss. Her caregiver, Angela Hoilett rests behind her.
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- A portrait of a young Sherry on the far left hangs on her living room wall.
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Sherry and her husband, Larry Grant.
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Sherry and Larry's bedroom.
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Larry rests at the dining room table, he says "without the caregivers, I couldn't do all this".
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- One of the rooms in Sherry's home.
Mar 3, 2017- Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.- Sherry's reflection in a framed certificate awarded to her husband Larry for his leadership involvement and support given to the Brain Injury Association of New York.
Approximately 2 million people in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) annually. Despite this staggering statistic, TBI survivors largely go unnoticed by society and many people are unaware of the physical, emotional, and cognitive struggles that they experience as a result of their brain injuries. Such functional challenges can include seizures, memory loss, mood swings as well as difficulty with language, learning, reading, visualization and sensation. These changes often compromise the survivor’s ability to maintain employment and greatly impact their social relationships. As a result, many TBI survivors are socially isolated and struggle to meet their basic needs.
Absolute Transition tells the stories of Rendy Kowal, Frankie Bowen, and Sherry Grant, three brain injury survivors living in New York City. Inspired by the photographer’s own experience growing up as a caregiver for her single mother who sustained a severe brain injury, Absolute Transition aims to highlight the complex experience of living with a largely invisible disability and the urgent need among survivors for support.
 Pearson, W., Sugerman, D., Mcguire, L., & Coronado, V. (2012). Emergency Department Visits for Traumatic Brain Injury in Older Adults in the United States: 2006-08. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine,13(3), 289-293. doi:10.5811/westjem.2012.3.11559