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Revealing Portraits Show The Raw Emotion Of Patients 'Facing Chemo

Published by Huffington Post on Thu, 08 Oct 2015

A photographer is giving viewers a striking and intimatelookat people undergoing chemotherapy. Robert Houser, a photographer based in California, has been taking photos ofchemotherapy patients since 2011as part of his ongoing "Facing Chemo" project. The portraits are part of traveling exhibits and have beenfeatured in medical centers and galleries. So far, Houser has photographed more than 35 people. With his portraits, which showthe subjects against a large, plain black background, he hopespeople willput themselves in the shoes of those going through chemotherapy. "I [want] to educate, to move and inspire. I want people to feel ... to empathize," he told The Huffington Post. "Cancer touches so many of us." In addition to "Facing Chemo,"Houser has a second exhibit out,called "Facing Chemo Before & After" which features thepatients'"after" shots alongside their photos during chemo. He has alsocreated theFacing Light Foundation, aimed at drawing attention to health-related issuesthrough art. Housertold HuffPost that the project began when he was photographing a womanand noticed a scar on her. When he asked her about it, she revealed that she was about to undergo chemotherapy and was goingto lose her hair. He offered to take her picture during the treatment process and while she didn't take him up on it then, she called him years later about the offer. "In a day or two, I was at her place in San Francisco on a rainy day taking pictures. And it was unlike anything I had experienced, having photographed people for 20 years," he told HuffPost. "When I edited the pictures later, I realized there was a genuineness to every frame. ... It was like her emotions were right there on the edge of her face." From there the project grew. House told HuffPost the most surprising part of the experience has been the effect the project has had on his subjects. "I was shocked at how beneficial the experience of being photographed was for the subject. That was incredibly moving for me to hear them say things like, 'this was a turning point for me,' or ...'thank you for seeing me and not my disease,'" he told HuffPost. "If no one else came to see my exhibit butthose of whom I've shot, I would be happy. Because it meant so much to them." See more portraits from Facing Chemo and Facing Chemo Before & After below:To learn more about Facing Chemo, visit the project's Facebook page here. Also on HuffPost: -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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