The Photographer, In His Own Words
I began a journey in 2014 to show the varied faces of Duke Cancer Center’s patients and survivors. Through this photo essay, I wanted to give hope and inspiration to those newly diagnosed. Over the next three years I criss-crossed the state to photograph and interview 14 brave individuals doing what they love, and in many cases, enjoying a new lease on life.
I soon realized, however, that those I had been documenting were in fact inspiring me — giving me hope and courage — especially two summers ago, when a large tumor was discovered in my 12-year-old daughter’s abdomen. Fortunately, the tumor was found to be benign, though not before it crushed her ovary. The experience enabled me to understand, if even a little, the emotions families experience when faced with a diagnosis of cancer.
When I look at the portraits, united to become a stirring mosaic, I see grit, faith, and determination. The recordings speak to the value of staying positive, leaning on others for support, and believing in God and your doctors. But the collective call to appreciate life and live in the moment motivates me to change the way I approach each day. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to each and every person who allowed me a small glimpse into a journey to survivorship. Duke Cancer Institute thanks Jared for donating his time, talent and, in many cases, resources to this inspiring photo essay project.