In The Midst

Posted 5/12/2010 by fotoloka in Labels: , , ,

In 2004 my friend, and employer, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her office manager and I continued our daily jobs in the office which was located on the top floor of the house. During the time of her chemotherapy, I had no thoughts of photographing her intense journey, but for one day, when she came upstairs, dressed to go to go somewhere special. Her dog, Curious, was laying down in the office when she arrived, and immediately jumped up to greet her. Shari lowered her shaved head as she bent over to hug him. Instinctually I reached for the camera in my bag and asking her to not move, capturing the moment. Later, I converted it to black and white and with Photoshop took out the messy distractions of the office wall, replacing it with a painterly plain backround. A few months later, when Shari returned from her first radiation follow up appointment and showed us the marks made on her chest to be used in the treatment, I asked if she was interested and willing to allow me to document what this was about. At that moment we did the first of the series that continued for a month or so......the checkered shirt image. Most photos, of which there were not too many, were done spontaneously, but for a set up photo shoot we did in the living room of her nude. I have included only the one from the back, out of respect for her privacy on the internet.

Later year I entered 3 of the images, including the one with the dog, and the checkered shirt into the NC Biennial Phototography Juried Competition and won Best of Show with this series entitled "In the Midst."

Happily, Shari recovered
her energy and health and is living her life normally. Interestingly, a few years after the ordeal, she told me that she was grateful we did the photos during that time in her life; that they are the only reference she has to that period; while she lived it, she said, everything was a blur.

The reason I'm thinking about these images and posting some of them now, is that a few months ago I entered a competition for women photographers world wide, The Julia W. Cameron Awards, having entered the photo of Shari and the dog, and just received notice that I am a finalist. News of winners will be awhile, but I'm really happy that this photo has been again recognized.

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