This is real. This is their story. This is…

I’ve been staring, fingers on the keys and up and walked away; over and over for days.

this is… not easy.

I set forth many months ago to put together a documentary photo project, titled this is… that would tell the visual journey of a patient with brain cancer. Wherever the story would lead my subjects, the chronological journey of images was intended to convey the magnitude of the experience. This project was not going to be a filtered and sanitized story.

It has been an emotional journey to document and it has been deeply personal. Woven throughout the images are moments and memories that mirror my own experience. It has been challenging, if not impossible at times to maintain an emotional distance and yet, I believe that my own experiences have afforded me a deeper understanding and a greater perspective to see and capture this story through my lens.

Life is real and the journeys and experiences we have are real, raw and unfiltered. Real life is not a sanitized story.

Last month, I began following an extraordinary couple, Josh and Jenna.

In the midst of an overwhelming diagnosis and life altering events, they welcomed me into their lives to document their journey with brain cancer.

this is… not my story. Yet somewhere between the lines, faintly in the blurred background, it is deeply familiar.

this is opens the doors, pulls the curtains back and exposes the entirety of the patient experience.

this is brings the viewer face to face with the humanity of medicine and demystifies what is often veiled from public view.

this is Josh and Jenna’s life. It is raw, real, honest, transparent, emotional and humbling. The story and the journey continue, as will this documentary.

this is…

a Georgia Tech graduate in aerospace engineering

a husband, newlywed & 39

curious, patient, empathetic, passionate and gentle

a college cheerleader

reserved yet self confident

diligent & entertained by novel ideas

always up for a challenge & wanting children

a wife, daughter, 29 & type A

skeptical, fiery & ritualistic

an adventurer & casualty of sports

lover of peas and the color green

marathon runner

wanting to carry his child

procrastinators & silly

cancer & a clinical trial

trust, compassion, commitment

honest, raw, emotional & seeking answers

It is meaningful to view Josh and Jenna’s journey as it unfolds; feeling it, processing it and hopefully eventually coming to some understanding of what this journey is for patients and their families.

Every journey and story is different; theirs is the story I have the privilege to tell. I am grateful for their trust.

I hope Josh and Jenna’s story inspires and motivates you to learn more, do more and give more. I hope these images give you pause to think and I hope they move you to make a difference.

To view the evolving project, visit:  thisisdocumentary.com – Josh, Jenna & I encourage you to share this post and the project.

Emory Josh and Jenna WR_-18 Emory Josh and Jenna WR-1117 Emory Josh and Jenna WR-1274 Emory Josh and Jenna WR-1667 Emory Josh and Jenna WR-1749 JJ WR-7486 JJ WR-7836

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11 thoughts on “This is real. This is their story. This is…

  1. I love love love this. So beautiful. It’s so personal to me as my husband died of brain cancer last December when our twins were 40 days old. So raw and well captured! Sending love to Jenna and their family.

  2. Jennifer, your words and your photos are so powerful in telling the story. I loved reading it and seeing the pictures. Thank you for sharing.

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