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Tracey Derrick Photographer South Africa


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Ignorance   Vestige   Cleanse
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Hirsute   Trial
  Presence of absence   Inhabit   Chrysalis   Metamorphis


One in Nine

A photographic exploration of breast cancer, its treatment
and survival

One in nine women contract breast cancer in South Africa. This statistic takes into account the high prevalence of HIV and TB.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2008 and this project was undertaken in response to my illness, its treatment and my survival. I am ‘one in nine’ and as the active subject of my own investigation, it helped me understand my own condition and integrate it into my life.

Susan Sontag wrote when diagnosed with breast cancer, “the disease itself arouses thoroughly old-fashioned kinds of dread. Any disease that is treated as a mystery and acutely enough feared will be felt to be morally, if not literally, contagious”.

As a documentary photographer, I position myself relating to and interacting with my subjects. I document small communities, the marginal people. Suddenly, through my illness I’ve become a member of a marginal group. My way of coping has been to analyse my own story through images, which helped me reach out and connect with others who, like me had at some point during their illness, felt outside the experience of everybody else.

Through self-portraits taken during my illness and portraits of eight other breast cancer survivors, I have used photography as a tool to explore our new reality - it has become our visual diary. Together, our portraits symbolically represent “one in nine”. The story is about medical body transformations, changes in thoughts and feelings around our identity, new ways of living with death (instead of fearing it) and most of all, stories of survival and moving forward.

By exhibiting this work, I hope to deepen the knowledge about breast cancer and show that the value of trauma is a chance to find oneself.

Tracey Derrick
November 2009

Selected Media Coverage

Nominated as International Relay For Life 'Hero of Hope: Profiles of Courage' by the West Coast Cancer Association.

August - Interview by IPS news – Inter Press Service News Agency, Kristin Palitza; http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52527

YouTube video 'I am Woman Leap of faith' with SABC3, Plexus films and Lisa Chait.
• Episode 1, Act 1 - Tracey Derrick
• Episode 1 ACT II Tracey Derrick
• Episode 1 ACT III Tracey Derrick

Que TV interview. http://cuetv.ru.ac.za - Living with Cancer Creatively.

March 2013 - Presentation during the '17th Reach to Recovery International Breast Cancer Support Symposium'.

Solo Exhibitions

National A
* October 2010 AVA (Association for Visual Arts), Cape Town
* July 2012 National Arts Festival, Grahamstown Think!Fest.

Group Exhibitions

* October 2009

Graduate Show Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town.

* October 2010 Bonani Photo Festival of Photography, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town.
* August 2013 Selected to participate in the Chelsea International Fine Art Exhibition at Agora Gallery New York artists page: www.agora-gallery.com/artistpage/tracey_derrick.aspx