Lynn Redgrave

Lynn Redgrave

The world learned of the passing of actress Lynn Redgrave this week with the issuing of this beautiful statement by her family:     

Our beloved mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven-year journey with breast cancer. She lived, loved and worked harder than ever before. The endless memories she created as a mother, grandmother, writer, actor and friend will sustain us for the rest of our lives.    

After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, Redgrave asked her daughter, a photography student, to photography her journey through treatment and recovery. And so, while her mother documented the experience in her journal, Annabel compiled a photo journal, and in doing so, became part of the recovery process.       

I looked through these photos on the New York Times website this morning and they brought back powerful memories for me.  They are an intimate portrait of the journey with cancer – one that will be familiar to so many of us. I found myself lingering over them, looking at the fear, the sadness, the vulnerability, the courage in Redgrave’s eyes. I was immediately struck by the first picture in the collection, picturing the actress a few weeks before she was diagnosed, unaware of how her life was to change. I remember examining pictures of myself taken on a trip to the States and wondering at what I didn’t know in those pictures. I didn’t know that cancer had already invaded my body. There was a certain innocence to the time and a feeling of sadness washed over me as I looked at those pictures, something similar to what Redgrave wrote in her diary: Sunday. 16 February 2003
I have my moments of such sadness. They hit me quite suddenly. My loss of innocence. The innocence that made me feel that cancer couldn’t happen to me.

If you take the time to look at this collection of pictures, I would love to know if they resonated with you too. Did you take photographs during your treatment or keep a journal? 

Click here for Lynn Redgrave’s photo-journal