I first saw Kerry Mansfied’s series, Borderline, in Fraction Magazine. I was intrigued and impressed with her ability to create images that were at once mysterious and complex. Kerry and I exchanged a few e-mails and she let me know that she had been working on a new series, Aftermath, that chronicled her experience with breast cancer, which is featured below.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Kerry moved to Los Angeles when she was 16. She attended UC Berkeley, majoring in social theory and photography, and then studied Architecture at California College of the Arts. She returned to her photographic roots and for the last ten years has been working in the commercial photography business in San Francisco. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, her life took a new turn, but she remains committed to her vision and her art. Kerry’s honesty and bravery in sharing the images in Aftermath, will undoubtedly help help us to understand the journey of being a cancer survivor.
Statement for Borderline: There is a place in between the hard lines of walls, ceilings and furniture and the botanical design that envelops the outside world where a seamless merge occurs and creates a third reality. One can no longer distinguish whether the wall in the image is concrete or if it merely floats through as apparition of itself in reflection. It is in this place, on the Borderline of real versus reflection that we can ask if one if more “real” than the other. And if so, can you tell which one it is? I have discovered that it may not matter at all and the most important element is how the spaces work together. The Borderline images encourage the viewer to look differently at their own domestic world and find a new way of examining their environment where “man and nature” can come together in a bizarre coexistence of concordance.
Statement for Aftermath: As a photographer, I’ve spent most of my career looking deeply into the spaces we inhabit. The idea of Home – what it meant and how it felt, preoccupied my thinking. Almost all my pictures were of the spaces we live in or the things we live with. But at the age of 31, a diagnosis of breast cancer forced me to redefine my ideas of home. Needless to say it came as quite a shock. I had exercised and eaten correctly, and like many of my age, I felt indestructible, never thinking the most basic of dwellings could be lost. Faced with the nihilistic process of radical chemotherapy and surgery, my ideas of “where” I exist turned inward. As the doctors, with their knives and chemistry broke down the physical structure in which I lived, the relationship between the
cellular self and the metaphysical self became glaringly clear. My body may not be me, but without it, I am something else entirely. I knew that my long held image of myself would be shattered. What would emerge would be a mystery.
It was in that spirit of unknown endings, that I picked up my camera to self document the catharsis of my own cancer treatment. No one was there when these pictures were made, just my dissolving ideas of self and a camera. And what began as a story that could have ended in many ways, this chapter, like my treatment, has now run its course. While I can’t say everything is fine now, I will say, “These are the images of my Home – as it was then”, and with a little luck, there will be no more to come.
Images from Aftermath
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