It all starts on January 13th in 2009. The diagnosis 'Kahler's disease' (bone marrow cancer) which my mother receives, almost knocks me out. All I want is to be with her, so I quit studying photography at the Academy of Art and Design St. Joost in Breda immediately, even though I'm in my final year. If you hear the word cancer, you probably think of bold people and all sorts of clichés. But what struck me is that most of the people thought my mom looked good and not ill at all. While all I could think was: "She's incredibly ill, incurably ill even! She feels awful, but the outside world doesn't see that.". The invisibility of cancer quickly became a highly fascinating subject to me. What happens in your body and what does it look like? I had absolutely no clue of what a cancer cell or tumour looks like.
The Cancer Research Foundation Limburg agreed to help me. So there I went. To the pathology department of the Academic Hospital in Maastricht. Facing my mother's 'enemy' for the very first time. And the strangest thing: the fascinating landscape of the aberrant, ill human tissue I saw through the lens of the microscope looked beautiful! I was incredibly impressed by all those cells and shapes. Such pure and aesthetic images. It's horrible, but pretty at the same time. I decide to choose 5 types of cancer: colorectal-, breast, lung-, skin- and of course bone marrow cancer. The microscope was coupled to a computer that captured the cancer cells. These images, forming the base of my project, were coloured, enlarged and reflected/mirrored, so that a pattern was created. In collaboration with designer duo HjordisRobin a five-piece fashion collection is created in order to make the cancer cells visible and translate them into fashion. The final series of fashion photos will be used as a weapon in the fight against cancer in order to draw attention to the problems around cancer and generate funds for cancer research.
Photography & concept: Romy van Geffen Fashiondesign: HjordisRobin Model: Daria Bukvic Hair: Sam Sawyers & Ronald Kampmann Make-up: Jacqueline van den Heuvel