Multiple myeloma is a rare, and therefore relatively unknown blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow’s plasma cells. Though incurable, myeloma is treatable. Over the past decade improved treatments have increased lifespans and improved patients’ quality of life. Whereas once this diagnosis meant a survival rate of roughly 5 years, patients are living much longer thanks in large part to organizations such as The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Losing my father to multiple myeloma in the summer of 2015 was devastating. It didn’t matter that I had 13 years since his diagnosis to prepare myself. I think about him all the time and take solace in the thought that at least some of his spirit lives on in me. This project honors his memory, those facing an unwinnable war, and the loved ones fighting beside them.
Meeting and photographing these brave men and women has shown me what true strength looks like. Despite their diagnoses, these remarkable individuals run marathons, create art, look after grandchildren, travel the world, and endure the side effects of their treatments. They carry on.
I chose black & white for the timelessness that it conveys. Removing color leaves the viewer only light and shadow to observe, evoking the connection between life and death. Additionally, monochromatic images provide a stronger emotional connection by eliminating distractions of color.