Photography is a powerful tool. One image can stand in isolation and graphically illustrate the raw emotion and frailty of human life. Many of my photographs portray people enduring hardship at a vulnerable period of their lives. I have always possessed an innate obligation to depict sensitivity in a compassionate and respectful way. Now that I have reached a defining moment in my life, I don’t intend to apply double standards when it comes to depicting my own vulnerability.
My journey in battling cancer has been a roller coaster, with all the uncertainty that goes with such a diagnosis. During this period I have never witnessed fear, self pity or anger; just acceptance.
However I have experienced doubt and I’ve questioned my very contribution to society and reflected on what legacy I will leave behind for my grandchildren. I made this photograph when I was in severe pain and in a reflective mood. My memories came cascading back and many questions quickly followed. This photograph and poem illustrates the emotion and doubt I experienced while going through that self evaluating process. Both expose the vulnerable state I was in at that moment in time but they chronicle a fundamental part of my story. As I re-evaluate my life and focus on my battle for survival, I must remain true to my core principles and overcome my inclination to suppress such thoughts and feelings. I must drop my protective shroud and reveal my own vulnerability. Only then can I face my inner demons with honesty and courage and record the true extent of my journey in a meaningful way.
My Life – A Reflection
What mark have I achieved in my transitory life?
By diminishing strength my frailty has been unmasked
My infirmity is etched upon a brow new to pain
Through solitary thoughts, I reflect on my mortality
With the wisdom of a sage.
Have I enriched another’s life or influenced a soul?
What benefits have I rendered to those who sought my help?
What overarching creed has been my navigator through tempest?
My intellect seeks peace, my faith seeks reassurance
What words should I entrust to the children of my son?
What deeds should I discharge before my final chapter’s done?
What memories will unfold when future tales are told?
What attributes will mark my presence on this earth?
What measure should apply when reflecting on the past?
A tranquil heart, an inner calm, serenity of mind
If such is the degree and the magnitude of my virtue
If God is love and love is all there is
Then my life has been fulfilled.