Entry Title: " Aftermath"
Kerry Mansfield
, United States

Entry Description:

As a photographer, I've spent most of my career looking deeply into the spaces we inhabit. The idea of Home - what it meant and how it felt, preoccupied my thinking. Almost all my pictures were of the spaces we live in or the things we live with. But at the age of 31, a diagnosis of breast cancer forced me to redefine my ideas of home. Needless to say it came as quite a shock. I had exercised and eaten correctly, and like many of my age, I felt indestructible, never thinking the most basic of dwellings could be lost. Faced with the nihilistic process of radical chemotherapy and surgery, my ideas of "where" I exist turned inward. As the doctors, with their knives and chemistry broke down the physical structure in which I lived, the relationship between the cellular self and the metaphysical self became glaringly clear. My body may not be me, but without it, I am something else entirely. I knew that my long held image of myself would be shattered. What would emerge would be a mystery. It was in that spirit of unknown endings, that I picked up my camera to self document the catharsis of my own cancer treatment. No one was there when these pictures were made, just my dissolving ideas of self and a camera. And what began as a story that could have ended in many ways, this chapter, like my treatment, has now run its course. While I can't say everything is fine now, I will say, "These are the images of my Home - as it was then", and with a little luck, there will be no more to come.

About the Artist:

After getting a degree in photography from UC Berkeley, Kerry studied architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA) before returning to her passion of image making. While her medium of choice is the camera, the spaces created by man-made structures are most often her subject. Combining her two affinities was a natural progression in a seven-year project entitled "Borderline" that explores the boundary between interior and exterior spaces merging in a third plane. In 2005 her "Borderline" series came to a grinding halt due to a diagnosis of Breast Cancer. The battle to recover from the traumas of cancer focused her attentions on the nature of the physical body as a structure. Much like a hurricane ravages the landscape and the places we call home, chemotherapy ravages the body - the most fundamental of "homes". While issues of survival become paramount, the parallels between the structures we live in and the body we live within become startlingly clear. The resulting series, "Aftermath" chronicles that period in a direct and unflinching approach to the destruction and rebirth from the hurricane of Cancer.