The pandemic doesn’t stop Christmas Wish project from making sick children happy through photography

Tips & Techniques

Australian photographer Karen Alsop and her team have used photography for years to bring a smile back to the faces of sick children. They’re well-known for the heartwarming project Christmas Wish, and they managed to pull it off this year despite the pandemic and lockdowns.

I believe most of us need some extra magic during holidays. And Christmas is extra-challenging for families that have very sick children in hospital. So, Karen teamed up with a bunch of lovely volunteers again to bring joy and hope to these families through powerful and stunning artworks.

You may have heard that Australia has been under very long lockdowns over 2020 and 2021. In October 2017, when another lockdown was brought to an end, Melbourne had been under six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March 2020. So, you can probably imagine how challenging it was to take photos for this year’s Christmas Wish project.

Still, Karen and her team managed to pull it off, just like they did last year. And needless to say, they took all the safety precautions. Due to them, Aussie Santa couldn’t come and take photos with the children himself. Still, the team found a way to get him into the photos. It just took some magic. Photoshop magic.

Karen took photos of Santa separately, and the children were photographed in front of a green screen at the hospital. Or, if they can’t leave their bed, the photographers went into the wards. Finally, the editors expertly converted the photos into artworks that look like magical Christmas cards. Needless to say, Santa was in them too.

Perhaps you remember Christmas Wish from before. It started back in 2016, and it was local to Australia. However, since then it has expanded globally, with volunteers from New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.

Teddy’s Story

Karen has shared an incredibly moving story and the card she and her team made for the family of little Teddy, a baby boy who was born at 25 weeks.

“When we visited Kasey in NICU she shared with us her heartbreaking story. In 2020 they lost their firstborn, Bodhi, after he was born at 24 weeks. He survived in NICU for 4 months and sadly passed away in November 27th at 4 and a half months.” In 2021 Kasey fell pregnant again. Teddy is her second son, and he arrived early at 27 weeks. He is still in NICU at Monash Children’s Hospital.

Kasey asked Karen if Bodhi could be included in Teddy’s Santa artwork in some way. I feel like there’s no idea Karen couldn’t turn into reality. She used a photo Kasey sent her to composite Bohdi into the other arm of Santa with his brother Teddy. She even removed Santa’s n95 mask in Photoshop! You can watch Teddy’s story in the video below, but be warned – you’ll need some tissues.


Edited by Karen Alsop

Take a look at the photos from this year’s Christmas Wish project. You can find out more on Behance, where you’ll also find full credits of Karen’s team. And make sure to follow Karen for more amazing work on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Edited by Samantha Vandeyar

Edited by Cristina Menor

Edited by Erin Michalski

Edited by Kate Mudge

Edited by Charm Hauraki

Edited by Rowena Cherry

Edited by Callie Crawley

Edited by Jesus Ramirez

Edited by Karen Alsop

Edited by Kelly McDonald

Edited by Angela Scarano

Edited by Angelo Van Der Klift

Edited by Rowena Cherry


Edited by Melissa Helland

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