Elaine by Jennifer Willis
from the series Seen to be Heard
Often Breast Cancer is represented in the media with images of women celebrating ‘a battle won’. However, the women I photograph are all living with Secondary (Metastatic/Stage 4) Breast Cancer. Tragically, none of them will win this battle. This project will become part of their legacy.
Building a close and trusting relationship with the women I photograph is essential before I even lift my camera.
In the intimacy of the studio, which becomes a safe space where they bare their physical scars and confide in me their pain, their emotions, their hopes and fears, often for the first time. We become friends.
These raw, dignified yet sensitive portraits capture the physical and emotional cost of living with this devastating diagnosis and the treatments and surgeries that they simply cannot live without.
‘Seen to be Heard’ has empowered the women to share their stories and it has become a campaign to effect change in the provision of cancer services in Northern Ireland.
As the project is evolving, we continue to use this work to ensure that women are not only seen but are also heard.