Images Through the Emotional Impact of Cancer

by Diane Leopard (UK)

I am 55 years of age and live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.  I am a clinical complementary therapist working with cancer patients and people with long term illnesses. I am also a breast cancer survivor. I started photography as I was presented with a national Prize for Excellence in Practice by the Federation of Holistic Therapists and I wanted to buy a keepsake with the prize money.  This collection not only represents my emotions but also emotions and feelings that have been shared by other cancer patients and my family.

I deliver the talk and exhibition to health care professionals, cancer patients, work colleagues and the general public because I want people to understand the devastating emotional impact a cancer diagnosis has on lives.  If more people can understand our emotions I am convinced that cancer patients will have a better quality recovery.  Cancer changes lives but that’s not always a bad thing.  I now see the beauty that surrounds us all yet many of us take for granted.

All the photos are my own work, not edited and not staged it is very important to me that they are completely natural.  I am a novice photographer and this project is not about quality but about the stories.”

Here are two links that explain the project in more detail.

Images Through the Emotional Impact of Cancer

Diagnosis – This picture of a crumbling castle represents how I felt when the consultant told me that I had breast cancer. In the foreground of this picture you can see people going about life as normal whilst my life came tumbling down

Denial – This photograph is a statue in the beautiful Trentham Gardens called the 50p man.  This reminds me how I felt in the first few months when I wanted to hide away and pretend that breast cancer wasn’t happening.  In the background you can see people going about everyday life and I longed to be one of those ‘normal’ people.

Tears – Taken in our garden with the early morning dew after the frost had left the nasturtiums limp and lifeless.  This represents the tears that I cried. Tears of sadness, confusion, uncertainty and pain.

1. Tunnel of treatment
Tunnel of treatment, this is a beautiful although poisonous laburnum arch with stunning purple allium flowers standing tall and strong below. The laburnum represents chemotherapy and the allium are the medical staff who care for us during treatment. The light at the end is where we all hope to be when we have gone through treatment.
2. Brain Fog
Brain Fog this represents the fog that comes over us both as a result of treatment and the stress that a cancer diagnosis brings.
3. Horse muck
Horse muck (S – – T) – this needs no explanation, it is how many people tell me they feel during treatment.
4. End of Treatment
End of Treatment – Empty beach represents the feeling of loneliness and emptiness that the end of treatment often brings. The blue sky represents a happiness that others think you should be feeling. Just like the beach life was busy and full and as the tide has gone out treatment stops and it can bring feelings of loneliness.
5. New beginning from tears
From Tears come new beginnings – This is the early morning dew in our garden on the hazel tree. The beautiful dew drop represents the tears we cry and the new bud inside is the new person developing.
6. scarred tree - surgery
Scarred Tree – On this photograph you can see where branches have been removed and how overtime healing begins to take place, leaving scars both physical and emotional.

12 thoughts on “Images Through the Emotional Impact of Cancer

Add yours

  1. wow, I had a breast cancer removed two years ago so can relate to some of these pics, luckily i didn’t have chemo so I can’t relate to the laburnum. I love to take pics , I’m just a “happy snapper” but I can see what these pics mean to you. Very well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is great I love the use of photographic imagery to help understand and talk about what people are feeling.

    I find nature’s images so powerful and moves us in a unique way . Love this project Thankyou for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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