I am a documentary photographer. Social documentary, reportage, people and the built environment and nature, in an urban context most often. That which surrounds most of us, most of the time. Sometimes in unusual or difficult places, sometimes in the everyday. I bring a still moment to those worlds. Showing the layers, nuance and complexity that surround us. I show what I see, what is already there.

 

​I have travelled to many places with camera in hand capturing moments from the difficult to the mundane with my unique vision. I have started to showcase my work on this site, which is currently under reconstruction. 

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An article about my story will soon be published along with my photographs of Jan, Cindy and Judith, women I photographed, who went through much the same treatments as I did, at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. The story and photographs will soon be published in The Australian, as well as a brief exhibition at Gallery 583.

I knew I was in trouble, in fact I knew I was stuffed, when the radiologist offered me tea and a Tim Tam. They’re always very kind or at least polite, but food or drink? Never. I had just started a long and death defying journey that continues to this day, proving I was not a malingerer after all.

 

In February 2015 I was diagnosed with primary peritoneal cancer, a subtype of Ovarian Cancer. There were metastasis and it was advanced. The statistics for Ovarian Cancer are awful. Shockingly they are the same as they were 20 or more, years ago. At best 44% survival rate. Compared to that of breast Cancer at a 95% survival rate, it is woeful. The difference is money and research.

 

To say the Cancer has given me an opportunity sounds a little warped, but in a way it has. I’m back to being me.  It focused me on what mattered. Clichéd as that is. What to do with the remaining time became a vital question. Tick tock tick tock, no time to waste. It gave me full permission to be the busy bee I’ve always been. I worked it out quite quickly. It now seems entirely obvious. Photography and writing.

 

These are some of the images from a series that I have shot since my diagnosis. The two bodies of work indicate the two strands or themes that have occupied me.

 

The first is really the world, my world, as I have been seeing it since diagnosis. The first thing I did after I was told was walk and shoot.  Places and details, light. Brief moments. Sometimes I’m alone, sometimes I’m with others and hold up our progress as I stop to capture something that has caught my eye. I like most people now, am rarely with out a camera of some kind.

 

The other is a very small selection from a large documentary project I did at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, where I was treated. I focused on three women as they underwent the same treatment as I had, just some months previously. They were very generous and patient and I hope this in some way pays tribute to that and bring a little illumination to our respective paths.

 

This selection is intended to whet your appetite for a larger show, later in this year.

Liz Cotter © 2018 

View original article as published in the Australian 

View photographs from the exhibition

Gallery 583 Exhibition link

I knew I was in trouble.