This holiday season, kids in a hospital in Australia were able to see Santa and hang out in a winter wonderland without having to leave the building.
In one day, photographer Karen Alsop took photos of 30 kids with Santa and a green screen at Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. During their photo shoots, the patients expected a typical Santa photo. They had no idea Alsop had plans to edit the photos to show them hanging and spreading holiday cheer with jolly old St. Nick.
Alsop worked on the photo series through an initiative she helped create called The heART Project, which uses photography as a way to help others around the world. For the background scenes, she used several photos she had taken around Australia and put them together with Photoshop. She also worked with her “team of elves” (and Santa, of course) to print, frame, wrap and deliver the photos to the families in the hospital. Alsop told The Huffington Post she wanted to make sure they had “a true keepsake” for the holidays.
“The families did not expect the magical images and there were many happy tears when they opened their special gift,” she said.
The photographer said she was moved every step of her project, from taking the photos to interacting with the patients to preparing their gifts. She described the process as “tiring and intense” for her team, but explained that they put those feelings aside once they saw what the kids were going through. Alsop thought her project might not make a difference, but the responses from patients and their families proved her wrong.
“Seeing those smiles, even through the photo shoot with our incredible Santa, was all that mattered,” she said. “When we delivered the photos to the families that night, their reactions made it all worth it.”
See more before-and-after photos from the series below.