Suzie’s visionary project aiming to raise cancer awareness

Photography student Suzie Smith's work has been featured at an Aberdeen exhibtion.
Photography student Suzie Smith's work has been featured at an Aberdeen exhibtion.

A young Newmachar student has exhibited her photographs of cancer patients during treatment to raise awareness of the disease.

Suzie Smith used her mother’s six-year battle against breast cancer as inspiration for the project, and a selection of her work was featured recently at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, where she is studying.

The photography student only felt confident enough to make the idea a reality after her mother passed away last year. She has so far photographed 10 people, each with different types and stages of cancer.

Suzie, 20, said: “I’v had this project in my head for years but never actually had the confidence to make it happen. It is called ‘Non omnis moriar’ – ‘Not all of me shall die’.

“For each of the people who agreed to be photographed by me, I have taken a standard portrait shot, an image of their personal belongings to reflect their personality, a picture of them as a patient and then a final image featuring the hospital gown to represent them ‘disrobing’ the status of patient that the disease casts over them.

“I think it is important to remember that every cancer patient is a person and although they have their own identity at times it can seem that they are not known for who they are, but the cancer itself.”

She added: “Everyone I photographed for this project is unique in their own way and I hope that within the images I have captured the essence of the person - them as they are - but also in the guise of being a patient.”

Laura Atkinson, 30, who featured in the exhibition, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February last year. Now 15 months into a three-year treatment plan, she is feeling positive about the future.

Laura said: “When I first heard about Suzie’s inspiration for the project my heart broke into a million little pieces, for what felt like the hundredth time since I entered into the world of cancer,

“Suzie was showing such strength and channelling something so awful into something so positive, I knew I wanted to be involved.”