The exhibition catalogue for Tracey Derrick’s 1 in 9 project begins with these words:
“One in nine women contract breast cancer in South Africa. This statistic takes
into account the high prevalence of HIV and TB.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2008 and this project was undertaken
in response to my illness, its treatment and my survival. I am ‘one in nine’ and
as the active subject of my own investigation, it helped me understand my own
condition and integrate it into my life.”
How do you feel about photographs of yourself taken before your diagnosis?
Amidst October’s frantic flurry of *P I N K* in all its well-intentioned glory, we’ve instead chosen to unleash the provocative power of portraiture to get all sorts of balls rolling — whether in the arena of self-therapy or advocacy & awareness!
Selfies aside, the digital era is perfectly poised to make self-portraiture accessible to anyone with a phone — empowering us to make art from our lives, stripping away the need for formal fine art training or an expensive camera!
Check out Australia’s The SCAR Project here! What do YOU think a South African version would look like — and would you participate?
The Self Portrait, a Powerful Tool for Self-Therapy*
“Facing the camera lens and releasing the shutter immediately takes us to our first essential process of the definition of the self: the recognition of our image in the mirror.
By objectifying our ‘dark side’ in a photograph, we can separate ourselves from what we dislike and open up a space for catharsis or renewal.
During a self-portrait session we can start a dialogue between our thinking mind and our ‘gut’ to draw from an inexhaustible source of meanings, which must be expressed. The self-portrait can be incredibly empowering.
By forcing us into the Now, it can help us perceive and express our essential humanity in a photograph. The decision to represent oneself can provide what is termed here a ‘state of grace’: the feeling of centeredness that occurs in moments of creative work in which the emotions are naturally retained because our higher self is in command.”
APERTURES & ADVOCACY!
Additionally, self-portraiture holds incredible power to transform entire societies — making it an extremely effective breast cancer advocacy tool!
“The outcome implies that a reflective practice of self-portraiture focused on imagination is a valuable method of assessing the present and past, FREEing one up to reclaim a desired future, which is a powerful tool that can promote transformation in our society.” ~ Luciana Vasques Barbosa
(*wink* Yes! We have something up our advocacy-sleeve! Are you keen to know what it could be?)
*~ by Cristina Nuñez : European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling Volume 11, 2009 – Issue 1 | Phototheraphy and Therapeutic Photography
Our one blogger, Lisa wrote:
I was supposed to write a post for today about diagnosis – and how it affects our partners… And though I discovered many incredibly useful articles and began jotting down key points for today’s post, I stumbled upon this video of a man telling the love story of him and his wife, and how her breast cancer diagnosis changed their lives… As I type, (tears; I try to blink them away before anyone walks into my office) I have decided to abandon the very practical blog post I’d mapped out and rather post it tomorrow — because right now, this man’s story will give you so much more than my blog post ever could.
TAKEAWAY: (Maybe worth sharing with your loved ones?) Read Angelo’s blog: The Battle We Didn’t Choose and see how he photographed their cancer journey. He says: ‘I created to suvive.’