ANONYMOUS HEROES: view the project.
The Anonymous Heroes project is about 10 cancer patients who are under treatment, at the hospital on the day they receive chemotherapy, or a radiotherapy session, and on another day in a place of their choosing, where they like to be to relax and forget, even if it is just for a moment, their toxic present and their uncertain future.
The result is presented in the form of a vertical triptych, dividing the body into three parts: head, torso and legs, and feet. The portrait of the head is out of focus, while the subject looks directly at the camera: the lack of focus attempts to symbolize that no man’s land where the patient is then: in the middle of his or her treatment, with hopes of being cured but no total guarantee of success. The photograph of the torso and legs includes, in the background, the people who accompany the patient to the hospital on the day the chemotherapy is administered. These heroes and heroines stricken by cancer are alone before their destiny, but their dear ones hover not too far away, while suffering in silence and in permanent tension about the possibility of any failures along the difficult road to recovery. The image of the feet is taken at the place where the patient likes to relax, or find him or herself. A portrait of the patient in search for peace, with a calm demeanour, and in this favourite place, accompanies the triptych, and some words that explain why the people involved agreed to form part of this project, their impressions about their illness and the responses of their loved ones to the ordeal.
I myself have overcome cancer, and as a photographer I want to reflect what I experimented myself, how the illness turns into an opportunity to value your life much more deeply and intensely: the healing process viewed as learning experience and as a struggle, in which hope and dignity acquire a renewed protagonist role. Thus, cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, many times with a doubtful prognosis, without their realising it become anonymous heroes and heroines.
With this project I seek to reflect the struggle against cancer, but above all that hopeful dignity that makes us stronger as human beings. I also wish to break the silence created by fears of the illness and of dying: the attitude of the patients radiates life and determination to emerge at the other end of the tunnel.
Anonymous Heroes is a twin project running a parallel course with the documentary Long Distance.