As a photographer I find my self spending a lot of time waiting. Waiting for models to respond to my casting calls, waiting for them to show up, waiting for the right light, waiting for the right moment to click the shutter. Waiting, waiting waiting.
When all the things in the universe align – shazam – magic can happen! Some painstakingly thought out and sought after, others as unexpected welcomed surprises.
In 2010, a woman out of the blue contacted me after coming upon my photos of another woman I had shot with breast cancer. Well aware of the 3 hour driving distance, she was hoping that I would come to her home and photograph her and her family. Mary had just finished what was to be her first round of radiation treatments. She wanted to know what my fee would be given the 6 hour round trip drive that I was willing to do. I’m sorry but I could not find it in my heart to charge for this service. All I wanted to do was capture her strength and beauty. In the spring of 2011, one of the images was selected by the renown photojournalist Peter Turnley for a gallery’s themed exhibit “A True Story”. I was elated to say the least.
This past week I was contacted by the photo editor of a German Magazine – FOCUS Gesundheit. The editor found 5 of my images that they were interested in using. Even though I have a model release, I respect privacy, I contacted Mary. She gave me full consent to use the images for this purpose. And so here’s hoping (fingers crossed that I’m not jinxing myself). The upcoming issue is dedicated to breast cancer, new treatments and therapies.
The magazine has my lo-res color images for a test layout and I am sitting a waiting. Waiting to hear if and which image will grace the COVER, waiting for the contract (hope it’s in english) and waiting for publication.
But my waiting is nothing compare to those of others. Over the years, I have followed Mary’s journey through a blog she writes. Her new blog: c is for cure. It’s been a roller coaster ride, emotionally and physically for years. Mary is an eloquent writer, filled with hope, interlaced with a sense of humor and smattered with a large heap of faith. She is a warrior. One who is willing to share her story. A story that many women and their families suffer through.
The real weight of waiting lies with this beautiful family that I photographed. They are waiting for a cure, waiting for tumors that pop up in all sorts of places to shrink, waiting for life not to include trips to the hospital for treatments, waiting to move on with their lives. And in the meantime, they live their interrupted lives with as much normalcy as possible. She is an inspiration.
This is one of my favorite images. I can feel the love, the bond they share, the support and strength that pulses through them when their bodies touch.
I’ve thought about them often over the years, quietly sending prayers and positive thoughts since the day they touched my heart. Waiting – waiting for the CURE.
(This image was taken before I legally changed my surname from my ex’s to my husbands so that’s why the © name is wehrhahn and not Durante-Youtt).