Jersey City-based writer and artist Emily Helck was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2012.
When she began chemotherapy treatment last September, she decided to document the process of weekly treatments with a weekly self-portrait.
A year later, Ms. Helck, who is married to New Jersey Star-Ledger reporter Matt Friedman, created a time lapse video from the still images and posted it on her blog (where she chronicled the past year) last night. The video shows, in one minute, what a year of cancer treatment looks like.
“I started taking the pictures sort of half thinking I wouldn’t finish, because I’m usually bad at being methodical. But, to my surprise, I did it every week,” Ms. Helck told The Observer. “There was something ritualistic about setting up the tripod (even though I wasn’t as careful as I could have been about framing the shots) and standing for the timed photos.”
“Memory is so fallible and emotional, so there’s a lot that gets missed anytime there’s an emotional charge to a situation,” Ms. Helck said. “The changes to my body were upsetting, of course. Taking the photographs was a way of looking without looking.”