The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

Dawn and Grandpa Ray, July 1995 photograph 10 x 13 inches 1995

My daughter Dawn and her Grandpa Ray live 1,200 miles apart. During the 15 years of her life, they have spent about five days per year together. It's very hard to say goodbye when it could be for the last time.

During our brief annual visits together, I've recorded Dad at home, on the job, on vacation, and with other family members and friends. The camera was a tool for understanding him better.

Since he was diagnosed with cancer, I think the camera has become a tool for repression. I've recorded his deteriorating life without emotion. These photographs are testimony to my perceptual defense against anxiety.

Visit to the Cancer Center, July 1995 photograph 10 x 13 inches 1995

Photographs of Dad have been an integral part of my personal documentary work since I got serious about photography in the mid 1970s. This is a picture of my dad getting "good news" about his brain tumor. The MRI on the light screen shows that the linear accelerator has done its job. In the two months that followed, he also received radiation on hip and spine tumors.


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