Meet Anna and Ross. Ross is usually bald; no big deal for a guy. His fascination with Native American symbology is another story for another day. Anna had never been bald. She shaved her head to raise money for a co-worker with cancer. Anna and 3 other girls braved the barber’s shears so someone else’s life would have a bit of hope. It’s not really a very high price when you think about it… your hair for a friend’s respite from overwhelming uncertainty.
I work with Anna and when I heard about the fundraiser (nicknamed fund-razor), I invited Anna and Ross to come by for a photo that I had immediately pictured in my head. What you see above is almost exactly what I hoped to accomplish, and that makes it one of my favorite images to date. I also like it because there is a real moment captured. I shot dozens of frames; most of them were duds. This was one of the few when neither of them were laughing, noticeably self conscious or some other unexpected gremlin did not jump in the mix. It was a fortunate release of the shutter.
Sadly, I sometimes lose track of the origin of this chain of events. Pam was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She found out only because she and her partner were struggling to get pregnant. The delivery of that news was also a moment. An unfathomable, uncertain but surely monumental moment that was not captured in a visual medium by any outsider. Anna and the others gave up their hair in a symbolic gesture so Pam could laugh and not feel self conscious, at least for a little while, in the face of a truly unexpected gremlin. Thousands of dollars were raised, operations done and treatments given with some degree of success. Pam is still at work, but I honestly don’t know how successful her battle has been. I know Pam well enough to say hello but I have not asked her how she is doing for over a year. I don’t know why it makes me so uncomfortable, why it makes me feel like I am invading her privacy to ask about it. Maybe I’m afraid of the reality of it all. I think I’ll drop by to have a coffee with Pam this week and see how she is doing.