Photographer surprises 30 sick children with magical Christmas portraits

Award-winning photographer and digital artist Karen Alsop has pulled off an epic Christmas surprise for sick children and their parents in hospital with a magical photoshoot that brought tears and smiles.

Wanting to bring Christmas to children who couldn’t make it home for the festive season, the Melbourne- based photographer transformed an empty room at the Monash Children’s Hospital in Clayton, Victoria into a photo studio.

Children staying at Ward 41 for Christmas were invited into the pop-up studio to get what they thought was a traditional Santa photo with the big man himself. Together with her team of elves, Karen then spent the rest of the day madly transforming the photos into magical out-of-this-world Christmas scenes harnessing her creative skills and the power of Adobe Photoshop.

“Christmas is a joyful time, a time I love to celebrate with my family, but not everyone has that blessing.I’ve always felt for the children in particular who are unable to leave the hospital during this season because at a time when the world is joyful, their pain is even more evident,” Alsop said.

“I wanted to give them a gift that brings hope and I wanted to free them, at least in a creative sense, from their IV lines, monitors, from the confines of the hospital ward and the reality of their situation,” she added. “My main aim was to rekindle their faith of what the future holds for each of them.”

The digital artist, who runs her globally-successful photo compositing studio Story Art, spent over 100 hours creating magical Christmas scenes that the children were then “placed” into using Adobe Photoshop. The images were then printed, framed and wrapped up before being delivered in a series of surprise visits from Santa later that night.

One of the lucky patients to receive a portrait was Brittany, 17, in hospital after suddenly losing feeling in her hands and legs, said of her artwork: “My image transported me to a place far away from all the worries of everyday, it’s a very special memory for me and captures a good moment while in hospital, something for me to remember, rather than something I wish to forget.”

The 2016 Story Art Christmas Wish Project would not have been possible without the support of Adobe Australia and New Zealand and Kayell Australia as well as the wonderful staff and nurses at Monash Children’s Hospital.

To view a video recap of the project please visit:

To access hi-res images from the project, please visit:

For more information or to arrange an interview with Karen, please contact Adam Cubito at Hello PR on 0403 876 338 or email

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