Known in Detroit as ‘Grandma Techno,’ photographer Patricia Lay-Dorsey turns her iPhone camera toward the often unacknowledged heroes of the healthcare industry in “Grandma Techno Checks In,” an exhibition curated from a series of images first shared on her Instagram feed while she was hospitalized in early 2018.
Featuring: Patricia Lay-Dorsey
United Photo Industries
Some projects we choose, and others choose us. “Grandma Techno Checks In” tells the story of three weeks in early 2018 when I was hospitalized for flu-related problems exacerbated by the chronic progressive MS I have lived with since 1988. Once the infection was under control, I was transferred to an inpatient physical rehabilitation center for extensive physical and occupational therapy to help me regain my strength and mobility. This was my first hospitalization since 1966.
The only thing I felt I had any control over was taking iPhone photos and posting them on Instagram with text that told the story of what I was experiencing. From the start, it was the people that I wanted to photograph – those medical professionals and health care workers who receive little thanks or recognition for doing jobs that are often difficult and sometimes downright unpleasant. Every interaction I had and each individual I encountered made me feel like they really cared about me, and wanted to see me get better. I only hope this exhibition will help others see these people through my eyes and appreciate the difference they make in people’s lives in times of pain, stress and sickness, because they have certainly made a difference in mine.
Patricia Lay-Dorsey is a Detroit-based humanist photographer. She is the 2015 Critical Mass Rauschenberg Residency award winner and has had her self-portraits of living with multiple sclerosis published in the 2013 book “Falling Into Place.” She was chosen by Time.com as the Michigan representative in their feature ‘Instagram Photographers to Follow in All 50 States,’ and has had solo exhibitions around the US and China. But she will probably be remembered less as a photographer than as ‘Grandma Techno,’ the name that she was first given by fans at Movement Detroit 2007 and—thanks to social media and the internet—has become famous among electronic music lovers across the globe.