Abandoned 2

Living Proof Exhibit

About Living Proof Exhibit
In March 2010, Mary Ellen Cunningham and Pamela Crouch, both cancer survivors, met at a breast cancer support group. Encouraged by friends after her diagnosis, Mary Ellen had turned to photography as a way to use art to help her cope with the challenges of her diagnosis and treatment. Pamela, previously a professional writer, had been struggling with depression after chemotherapy left her aphasic and unable to work. She decided to try a new way of being creative, and began making birdhouses, painting the roofs bright pink and gifting them to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. The women recall their first meeting: "[Pamela] bounced up to Mary Ellen and said, 'I used art as therapy, you used art as therapy, I'm sure there are others who did that too . . . let's put on a show!'" Seven months later, in October 2010, Living Proof Exhibit had their first show at Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport, Iowa. A month later, the newly formed non-profit organization began offering their first art therapy classes, and they have been hosting annual exhibitions featuring art made by other cancer survivors ever since!

Living Proof Exhibit website

Abandoned 2, photograph, 32" x 34", undated

In her own words:
I have always loved photography and looked for something beautiful or interesting to photograph. After being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment, I became a new version of myself. The same yet different, looking at life in a new way. I approach my photography and my life with this thought in mind. It is really not what we see but rather how we see it. I look for beauty, even in unexpected places.

One of my favorite quotes is from the famous photographer Dorothea Lange: "While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what our eyes see, there is another in which it proves to be how little our eyes see."

Karen Austin's website

This page was first displayed
on December 22, 2017

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