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03/28/2013

The story of cancer, in pictures

Squarespace (7 of 30)

All photos by Angelo Merendino (http://mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com)

The above photo is from an incredibly moving photo essay that has been making the rounds online, entitled "The Battle We Did Not Choose: My Wife's Fight with Breast Cancer." Captured by Angelo Merendino, the photos document his wife Jennifer's journey from good health:

Picture1

To cancer diagnosis:

Picture3

To death.

Picture2

The photo essay has been posted on Angelo Merendino's website and is a testament to how powerfully images can tell a story. Merendino writes:

"My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love.  These photographs do not define us, but they are us.

Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern."

You can read press interviews with Merendino about his wife and photographs here.

Today, Susan Gubar, who writes the Living With Cancer column for the New York Times' Well blog, points out another poignant collection of photographs that also capture the ruinous effects of cancer. In The Scar Project, fashion photographer David Jay takes unflinching portraits of young women and the jagged scars left behind by their battles with breast cancer.

Gubar writes:

"Bravery resides there, beauty elsewhere, in these shots of topless women in their 20s and 30s — in a wary smile, a cocked hat and suspenders, the branching veins of an inner arm, a mystic tattoo on a lower back, resolute hands on hips, smudged make-up smeared by a tear, an abundantly pregnant belly. Often beauty radiates from the eyes of the subject whose proud gaze conveys a steadfast determination to confront a grotesque turn of events with fortitude.

The ones that grip me stare at the photographer — at me — defiant. They want to live. I want them to live."

Jennifer Yang is the Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

Comments

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Brave. Admiration is well deserved by her. But we'd rather not to get admiration just because we are fighting the battle we did not choose.

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