When you have to look at your own mortality with a cancer diagnosis, you create a bucket list whether you acknowledge it or not. Because that is a defining moment in your life- you literally have to decide and very short order whether you want to fight to live or give it all up. I chose life. It sounds like I’m being overly dramatic but it’s kind of how it is. It’s very daunting to be told you have cancer.
And the oddest thing about having gone through breast cancer and breast cancer treatment is that it freed me to do things I only dreamed about.
The other truth of the matter is is that I am also very lucky and very blessed to have a man and life partner who loves me and supports me for who I am. I didn’t have that before. Before him and before breast-cancer, the version of “supportive” I lived with was having a person who put me down and put my dreams down. And as long as I towed their defined line and existed where they were comfortable everything was fine.
But life is a precious gift and it is too short to be held back by those who are in essence people who lead very sad and uncomfortable lives. Life is about growing and changing, and sometimes people have a hard time with that. I get it. But I’m really glad that as I got a second chance at life post breast cancer that I have taken that chance to try new things and grow as a person with the support of an amazing love and the support of my family and friends as well.
When I started to take photos it was with a tiny point and shoot camera that was very basic. Eventually I moved up to larger and more grown-up cameras. I started seconding occasionally for a professional photographer when she needed help and she taught me a lot and encouraged me to keep shooting.
Along with this apprenticeship of sorts, through the years I did the publicity and photography for First Friday Main Line, the Executive Director Sherry Tillman (who is also a dear and close friend as well as an artist in her own right and owner of a wonderful shop called Past*Present*Future) was the first person who encouraged me to show my work and enter photography contests.
So my love for photography has grown, and it ties into the things I love in life. I don’t pretend to be an Annie Liebovitz, I am just me. I love taking my photos of Chester County and elsewhere, ordinary moments of everyday life that I find magical – farms, nature, gardens,everyday people, animals, pets.
And on my bucket list as a somewhat improbable item was having a solo photography show and as of yesterday I kind of checked that item off my list. I am the local artist of the month at Christopher’s in Malvern. Yes, it is a restaurant, but those are my photos on the wall and it is just a really cool feeling and such a positive milestone as we hung them up on the 4th anniversary of me being cancer – free. So maybe it’s not some fancy art gallery with the champagne and caviar reception, but it suits me just fine.
I am thrilled to have been asked to do this! I love the restaurant and the owners are super nice and so is the staff.
If you want to see my photography and live in Pennsylvania, the images will hang the month of June at Christopher’s A Neighborhood Place on King Street in the Borough of Malvern. Go have a cocktail or a meal and I hope you like the photos!
Four years. Here I am looking forward. Get your mammograms ladies.
Have a great day!