Portraits of American’s Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Danish photographer Thilde Jensen came to New York City in 1997. Six years later her life and career was cut short by a sudden development of severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS).The urban life she had previously navigated with ease transformed into a toxic war zone. Her immune system crashed, forcing her unto a survivalistic journey, unravelling the comfort and construct of her previous life.
The ensuing years were a lesson in basic survival – Retreating to the woods for sanctuary, Jensen would have to wear a respirator when entering supermarkets, doctors’ offices, and banks. To her surprise an otherwise invisible subculture of people who shared this isolated existence began to emerge.
“The Canaries” by Thilde Jensen, is an intimate journey through a hypersensitive dimension of reality, where old cars, aluminum foil, masks and home-made phones become key necessities for survival. The book is an authentic photographic documentation of life on the edge of modern civilization.
Thilde writes: ‘Since World War II the production and use of synthetic chemicals has exploded. During the course of an average day, people come in contact with a host of chemicals – just walking into a supermarket one might be breathing as many as 20,000 different synthetic compounds. As a result of the prevalence of these synthetic chemicals, it is believed that more than ten million Americans have developed a disabling condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, (MCS).
Many people with MCS are forced to live in remote areas in tents, cars, or trailers. Others are prisoners of their homes, with advanced air filter systems to keep outside air from contaminating their breathing space’.
The Canaries, by Thilde Jensen, 2013: the book is hardbound, 156 pages with 71 images and 4 inserts. It comes hand-wrapped in aluminum foil with handwritten label. It costs $65.
To purchase the book, click here