In November 2014, my mum went through something life-changing; she got diagnosed with breast cancer in which she would have to have a mastectomy, altering my mum’s identity. I chose to photograph her as it would allow me to express the wave of emotions my mum had when going through this gruelling process of destroying the cancer.
I found that I could really make it intimate and show how beautiful my mum is, even after having this operation. The intention of this work is to make the personal political in the sense that these become photographs of any woman, or of every woman; and while dealing with the personal trauma, these photographs also discuss the aesthetics of femininity and the expectations we have as viewers of the female form and of the representation of the breast in images.
I found that photographing in our house would focus more on my mum and how she copes with this change in her daily life and how she perceives herself.
My tutor showed me two artists; Lee Friedlander and Jen Davis, who I found most inspiring. Davis uses the camera to deal with issues including beauty, identity and body image. Perhaps most interestingly, she also focuses on men, using them as a subject to explore the physical and psychological ideas of relationships.
I found one particular aspect of her photography interesting which was the lighting as it proposed serenity and angelic characterisation within a violent and traumatic context.
I wanted to explore the beauty of the individual within the devastation of cancer and to reveal the strength and bravery that this woman, my mum, who even though has had a mastectomy remains beautiful in my eyes.
Submission to our Youth Showcase is open to all 16-18 year olds whether they are studying photography formally or not.
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