Sarah Hunter

Australian National University

In May 2014, my mother was diagnosed with metaplastic breast cancer. Having breastfed her children for a total of five years, her breasts had been significant to her womanhood. With brave composure, she made the momentous decision to receive a double mastectomy, followed by four cycles of chemotherapy.

I embraced her invitation to photograph her journey, which I began shooting during the week of her diagnosis. Over the next five months, I captured my mother's spirit and determination, but also her submission to the medical decisions she was forced to make.

My intent was to compose a very intimate collection of photographs and through 35mm black and white film, speak to the timeless record of documentary portraiture while referencing the fragile nature of a photographic negative and human existence.

Through documenting my mother's emotional responses to her changing state of physical health, I exposed vulnerabilities, not only hers but also mine as I tested the strength and trust of our mother-daughter relationship in search of an honest narrative.