The exhibit 28 Days traces my course of radiation for prostate cancer. A cancer diagnosis quickly directs your attention to your mortality. Fortunately, my diagnosis occurred early in the disease’s progression. Even though I had been assiduously monitoring increasing scores, the reality of an actual diagnosis was unsettling, bringing into focus issues and emotions of longevity, trauma, malignancy, self, love, loss, family, and the future.
Inspired by Mary Farmilant’s series, See You On the Other Side, which followed her through surgery and radiation therapy for breast cancer, I pondered how to cope with and process my journey through radiation therapy. Thus, was born my project 28 Days.
Lake Michigan has been a focal point in my life. Having grown up near, lived by, sailed on, and photographed Lake Michigan, I am intimately aware of its variability, its moods, its challenges, and its colors. Calm one day, stormy the next, sometimes all in one day, the lake is a source of life but also takes life. It is beautiful, treacherous, mystical, spacious, and intimate.
Each day of radiation started with a visit to South Beach in Evanston. Here I marked my time, my progress, and my life as I explored what the morning sunrise on the lake offered. Using a fixed location anchored my route through therapy, giving me strength while reminding me of life’s fragility. Each day, I made an image.
On Day 19 I photographed myself during my radiation treatment. Using these images and planning X-rays taken prior to initiating treatment, I created multi-layered, complex collages reflecting on advanced medical technology and human health. My project, 28 Days, includes my daily landscape images and my constructed collages. Join me on this quest to confront illness and, hopefully, move toward wholeness.
© Nelson W Armour - fine art photography