In 2013, humanitarian photographer Nancy Borowick began a particularly poignant project: Cancer Family, a series documenting her parents' dual battle with the disease. Through her photographs, the Guam-based creative offered an up-close and personal glimpse into her family's unique journey, which has since changed in “quite beautiful and complicated ways.”
We began following Borowick's story in 2014, following the death of her father. At this point in time, she had dedicated the last year to chronicling her parents' daily lives. “From the seven-hour chemotherapy infusions to running errands with Mom according to her to-do lists,” she tells NPR, “I was there with my camera slung across my shoulder.” Though Borowick's mother would also succumb to her illness one year after her father, she has remained determined to keep “living life and moving forward.”
This process of healing has materialized in several ways—namely, as a major move from New York City to the island of Guam, and as a personal and poignant narrative, The Family Imprint: A Daughter's Portrait of Love and Loss. In this book, Borowock presents her collection of photographs. The moving images are rendered in black and white and capture specific moments from her parents' journey, showcasing not only treatments and tears but also the ways in which her parents continued to live their lives. Late night dance parties contrast doctors' visits, proving both the trials and tribulations of the illness and her parents' robust resilience.
“They were the definition of strength and courage,” she says, “and seeing these images reinforces to me the importance of not letting fear hold me back. It also reminds me to appreciate each day and not lose perspective. As Mom once told me, ‘There's also life going on here. I am having marshmallows, you know!'”