A Daughter Photographs Her Mother's Breast Cancer Treatment

Photo: Courtesy of Annabel Clark.
When it comes to the language that people use when they talk about breast cancer, photographer Annabel Clark, daughter of renowned actress Lynn Redgrave, takes a firm stance. For starters, none of this "battling cancer" kind of talk — her mother was diagnosed with the disease in 2002, living through two rounds of treatment and recovery. Clark maintains that Redgrave never "fought off" anything:

"For [my mother], it was something that she lived with. She lived with it for a long time and she kept working. She had a lot more going on in her life than just the cancer. We both kind of felt like, when you’re battling cancer, you’re not doing anything else. You’re just ‘fighting’ this disease. It’s just so negative sounding."

Redgrave's first round of cancer treatment lasted a year, from 2002 to 2003. During that time, Clark photographed her extensively: She didn't just go with her mother to her chemotherapy sessions or doctor's appointments. Clark lived this year of treatment and recovery right alongside Redgrave, whether she was in the hospital, celebrating her birthday at home, or continuing her work as an actress on the stage.

A few years later, the cancer reappeared in Redgrave's bones. She underwent treatment once again, and lived for four more years before passing away in 2010. The series concludes with Redgrave making a recovery, but her story with cancer sadly continued after Clark finished her project. In those final years, Clark says they became closer than they had ever been: "We ended up spending so much time together, learning more about each other, and.,.our roles reversed a little bit...We kept going back and forth taking care of each other. I think it evened things out to the point that we were more like friends — or sisters (laughs)."
Clark's book, Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer, is available for purchase here. Click through to see Redgrave and Clark's life together during Redgrave's first year of cancer treatment and recovery.

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