In 2013, my parents were in treatment for cancer – my mom for breast cancer and my dad for pancreatic cancer. This series documents the pain and challenges of treatment, but also focuses on their bravery in the face of mortality. With compassion and respect, I aspire to capture the full range of their experience – from the daily banter they shared as husband and wife to their shifting dynamic as patient and caregiver. While my father passed away in December, I see this project as a way to immortalize my parents, their strength in the face of illness, and their love for each other.
Cancer gave my family a harsh, yet valuable gift: an awareness of time. My mother has been battling her disease for almost twenty years, and as a family we have not taken any of those years for granted. My father had only one year with his disease. From his first diagnosis, we knew our time together would be short. By photographing my parents, I have been able to document their story and capture their essence, remembering the good moments and the bad, as well as the silly moments and the sad. The project has become our shared history.
This story strengthened my belief in the notion that to tell a powerful and honest story, one must seek true intimacy and humility with the subject. Photographing my family and my life has been one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever had, despite the fact that access to my subjects has been unlimited. I constantly struggle with my ever-changing roles as photographer, daughter, and caretaker. Learning this balance, I believe, has helped me grow both as a photographer and as a storyteller.