Canon Photo Essay
Tara McParland, The Florida Times-Union

"Journey of Hope"
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NOTE: The paragraph below in quotation marks was written by Tara McParland about one and a half weeks prior to her death. Tara suggested entering the series in the Canon Photo Essay division when discussing what she would like done with the images following her death. One of Tara's co-workers continued to photograph Tara after she made the decision to enter Hospice and was no longer able to document her own journey. Those photos were included in the contest entry, but only the body of work shot by Tara was awarded, so only those photographs are included here. Following are her words: "I used a light stand to support my camera and the process evolved from using a self-timer to radio remotes to keep a more documentary spirit and to not need help from techs, docs and others. I captured the scene in a wide angle, natural way to show context and just press the shutter to capture the scene. I wasn't ever quite sure what I got except to photograph the scene as naturally and unforced as possible. I pursued the whole thing in a documentary spirit to ensure that it was an accurate reflection of my journey, but I never contrived a moment. I just visually journaled my response and reaction to the tumult and the fact that I could do treatment, share the feeling and go on living my life under the specter of having metastatic breast cancer, a treatable, but ultimately incurable disease. The treatment goal was always to prolong the quality of my life, which was accomplished. I got to do nearly everything I wanted, up to the very end. I believe I got the very best medical treatment, at home and with my family. My medical team bought me more than three years, when many other women succumbed much sooner."