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A Good Year is an account of my family’s experience of my husband battle with bowel cancer. Lee was diagnosed in 2017 and after bowel surgery fell into a coma for six days, when Lee woke, I started taking photos, partly to try and capture moments and memories and also as a way of processing our experience. A Good Year starts at the time of Lee’s liver resection in 2018, through to the end of his chemotherapy treatment in 2019.
Cancer is often seen as one of the worst things that could ever happen, my husband, Lee Mitchell has said that this time, fighting cancer, has been filled with some of the best moments of his life. This is what these seemingly catastrophic moments in life force you to face, your mortality and you come out the other side forever changed. With this series, I am attempting to change the dialogue we have about our picture-perfect lives. As a society and as individuals we need to ask why we have such an aversion to discussions about hardship, to the messy parts of life and open ourselves up to sharing our real stories with each other. The mess, the joy, the pain, the happiness, it can exist all at the same time and in our case has.
Karlina Mitchell (b 1982, Fiji) is an emerging photographer, currently living in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Her photography explores social issues through the use of long-form documentary projects. She is drawn to untold stories exploring identity and place. She sees photography is a way of capturing a truth within moments and uses it as a way to understand our lives and experiences. She is currently completing her studies in Sociology. This is her first solo exhibition.