Since 2013, New York City-based photographer Nancy Borowick has been documenting her parents’ dual battles with cancer in a touching series titled Cancer Family. Both her mother and father, Laurel and Howie, were diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease within a year of each other. Balancing the roles of photographer, daughter, and caretaker, Borowick captured scenes from her parents’ daily lives as they underwent treatment together. Through poignant, black-and-white images, Borowick documented not only the pain and challenges of cancer, but also the bravery and love shared by Laurel and Howie in the face of mortality.
“Cancer gave my family a harsh, yet valuable gift: an awareness of time,” says Borowick. “My mother has been battling her disease for almost twenty years, and as a family we have not taken any of those years for granted. My father had only one year with his disease. From his first diagnosis, we knew our time together would be short.”
“By photographing my parents, I have been able to archive their story and capture their essence, remembering the good moments and the bad, as well as the silly moments and the sad. The project has become our shared history. This story strengthened my belief in the notion that to tell a powerful and honest story, one must seek true intimacy and humility with the subject.”
Although Borowick’s father succumbed to his disease last December, the photographer still considers the series ongoing, saying that the story continues even after death. She hopes that, by opening up her family’s lives with the rest of the world, people feel feel less alone in their struggles with illness. “For me, the scariest part of illness is not knowing,” she told the Huffington Post, “so by sharing our intimate story, I hope viewers find support and understanding.”