Photography and Sculpture by Thea Breite
In January 2017, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Three months later, my wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As a wife and mother of three children, the effects were devastating, sending our family on an emotional journey we never imagined possible.
During my treatment, I began taking walks in my neighborhood with my camera, photographing the world around me. As I walked, searching for hope and strength, trees called out to me. Their strength, resilience, rootedness and flexibility became my inspiration. I photographed shapes, textures, scars, even fungi, realizing that the images of the trees reflected the story I was living. I saw scars in the bark that looked like my scars, I saw fear and anger like my own. Most importantly however, I saw in the trees a humor and hope that I needed so badly.
Dirty old bits of fallen wood, sticks and roots grab my attention. I clean them up and work with them to reveal colors, lines, textures and movement. Creating new forms from the wood helps me feel rooted and connected and being among the trees helps me find peace and mindfulness. They form a community with one another, working together to overcome and adapt to the obstacles in their environment. Like the trees, my wife and I draw strength from our own community, from one another and from our children.
The images I have created for this series represent the journey as my wife and I try to heal from our cancer diagnoses and treatment. With each new experience on my path, the trees came to life, helping me to realize and tell my story. Through my art, I hope to share this strength and tranquility with others battling cancer, fighting depression and coping with physically and emotionally overwhelming circumstances in their own lives.
Keep up with Thea @teebee01