Children of the World: Photographs by Laurence Cole

Start: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 2:00 am

End: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 10:00 am

Laurence Cole is the Howard and Friedman Foundation Distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and also Chief of Women’s Health Research at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Dr. Cole was born and raised in the United Kingdom where he went to medical school and worked towards becoming a practicing physician. In 1976 a sudden, devastating stroke left him comatose for 2 months. After recovery he was declared “mentally incompetent” by British medical authorities and not able to train further or practice medicine.

Instead, Laurence Cole took a job with a local photography studio in his hometown of Bournemouth, England. There he went door to door for 2 years, photographing children and selling the prints back to their parents. Three decades later, he very much remembers the call signals and means of catching a smiles and catching a child by surprise.

Then he met his first wife Linda, an American woman, and moved to Wisconsin where he was accepted into the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Initially he found himself unable to learn anything, but eventually retrained the other side of his brain and regained his academic potential. In 1983 he received his PhD in Biochemistry. From Wisconsin he moved on to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and then Yale University where he specialized in gestational trophoblastic disease, an extremely rare oddity of pregnancy in the United States. In 2000 Dr. Cole moved to Albuquerque to take up his present position as Chief of Women’s Health Research at UNM. Rare as they may be here, such maladies are relatively common in tribal areas of Southeast Asia and Africa where Laurence Cole travels several times every year to lecture about management of gestational trophoblastic diseases.

As he began traveling to these places, he saw beautiful smiles on poverty-ridden and tribal children and remembered his photography training and photography tricks.

This series of photographs connects Dr. Cole and his medical specialty with the art form that helped him heal himself. His work is available at

The works currently exhibited are part of the permanent collection of The UNM Health Sciences Center.