Every year around this time, I would make a portrait or even just a snapshot of Mirinda. It's been six years since I last made any of photograph of her, which you can see in the aptly named label.
Some life changing events have happened since the last time I posted a picture of her, we became foster parents, adopted, divorced and she was diagnosed with cancer a little more than a year ago; the biggest change was her untimely death earlier this year as a result of her cancer.
We didn't talk a lot about the what ifs and what not, but on one such occasion we both thought about me taking a portrait of her post chemo, when she was at her most hairless state. So one day last August, just after her doctors had declared her cancer in remission, I got the opportunity to sit with her to make that portrait of her. I won't go into the particulars of what happened in the months after I made this portrait, but needless to say, the cancer came back.
I have made a lot of portraits in my time, but none have ever been so raw or so intimate. Looking back on the time since I made this portrait of her and what I have learned since, I think that in this moment, she may have been looking forward with hope, but deep down I think she knew what was forthcoming.
Since her death, I was contacted by a woman who has survived breast cancer and is doing a documentary about breast cancer about having this portrait be a part of the film. Mirinda didn't have breast cancer, but the portrait will be part of a section of the film about hair loss.
I don't know much more about the film, but it is called Life Interrupted: Telling Breast Cancer Stories.
I am very honored to have this portrait be a part of this film, because it is a way for Mirinda to live on.
Happy birthday Mirinda, I and the rest of the village, that we jointly and individually have put together, got this and we will make sure that our daughter grows up knowing you and will grow up to be the best woman she can be.