Milan chose a special blouse for her photo shoot. She’s only four, but has an air of wisdom about her.
I recently had an incredible experience volunteering for Flashes of Hope, a national organization devoted to creating portraits of children battling life-threatening diseases. Photographing these children and their families was emotional, challenging, and a lot of fun. Here is Thalianny and her gorgeous family. Her little grin was infectious! (see photo #2)
Why am I drawn to photograph people who have been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness? I have no easy answer. Perhaps it’s because I feel that I can draw strength from someone who is living with a condition that I hope I don’t have to face. It’s as if, in the process of meeting and photographing these remarkable people, I’m gathering ways to help me cope with the eventualities of illness or misfortune.
Here is Arthur, who over the years survived three different types of cancer (of the colon, bladder and lung). He passed away last year at the age of 83, leaving a legacy of meeting life, and his illness, straight on. The last two photos show him with his wife, Claire.
Julian, an avid guitarist, gets inspiration from Jimi Hendrix. He was first diagnosed with rhabdomysarcoma when he was 10, and just completed another round of chemotherapy and radiation when a localized tumor reappeared in 2006. His laid-back attitude and gentle manner won me over during the photography session. I loved when his little sister decided to join the shoot! Julian is now completing college plans. This image is now on the MGH Wall of Hope.
Eight-year-old Michael is celebrating four years of remission from a brain tumor. After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, this energetic and engaging little guy now loves Karate and hanging out with his family. Photographing them all was a joy! The third image is now hanging on the Wall of Hope exhibition at Massachusetts General Hospital.