“I admire the glorious photographs of survivors post-treatment but wanted to contribute something that was missing in the public domain.”
Kerry Mansfield was shortlisted in the Professional Portraiture category of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards with her series “Aftermath”.
Congratulations on your success in the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. Tell us more about your series "Aftermath"
The series was shot between 2005 - 2007 but not released until 2009 when I was ready to return to the images post-treatment. I documented the process for my own reference as I was about to lose my recognisable physical self at the young age of 31 years old. Later, after my treatment and 3 surgeries, I realised there was little to no imagery of breast cancer patients that were shot during the process honestly, showing how painful it was. I admire the glorious photographs of survivors post-treatment but wanted to contribute something that was missing in the public domain. Now, after it's been in the public view for 6 years I'm continually stunned and grateful for all of the recognition the series has received. Most importantly, I receive emails weekly not just from survivors but their family, partners and friends who have found some type of solace in my work. It's a great privilege.
What is your background? How did you get into photography?
At the University of California at Berkeley, where I went to college, there was no Photography major so I created my own and then took the available Photo classes. After I completed them, I took independent studies under the amazing professor Lewis Watts while I ran the UC Berkeley Photo Lab as it's Assistant Manager. By that point I was hooked and decided to officially leave drawing and painting in the past and commit to my love of photography. After graduation I spent another 3 years studying architecture and was told by my favorite professor that while I had straight "A's" in my program, she thought my talent for Photography was much greater. I agreed and left architecture school for a career in commercial photography and never looked back. My work since then has often contained references to structures and interiors sans people. Throughout the past 20 years my fine art work has always been the one constant in my life and I've been thrilled to share several series across international lines while garnering many awards in the process.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
Don't shoot or make fine art work for anyone but yourself. If you're expecting fame or glory from the fine art world you may wait forever. However, if you build the work for your own sanity, creative expression and do it extremely well, you might just get that recognition as a lovely side benefit!
What does photography mean to you?
It's why I get up in the morning. Without that creative outlet my world would be a pale gray on a good day. I can't breathe without it.
Can you tell us about a current or future photographic project you have planned?
I've got a new project on deck to begin this summer but can't tip my hat yet! Good ideas are often copied or stolen so I keep my work close to my chest until it's ready for public eyes. Stay tuned! This next one should be good!