Cancer project resonates with photographer

Survivor shoots fundraising calendar

EMMA BEER
Last updated 16:04 21/08/2012
beach photo
COLIN SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

SAY CHEESE: Photographer Andrea Seymour, right, lines up a group of people at Tahunanui Beach on Saturday for a calendar photo

Andrea Seymour
PATRICK HAMILTON/FAIRFAX NZ
HAPPY SNAPPER: Photography has been an uplifting distraction for cancer survivor Andrea Seymour.

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Andrea Seymour has been snapping for a good cause.

The young photographer is helping to put together a calendar to raise money for Cancer Society Nelson and Nelson Women's Support.

It is a cause that is close to Ms Seymour's heart after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in November last year at the age of 21.

"It's the last thing you want to be doing at 21, sitting and having chemo."

But because she was going through treatment, saying yes to being the photographer for the calendar was easy, she said.

After six months of treatment, Ms Seymour was given the all-clear about a month ago.

Having studied photography for two years in Christchurch, Ms Seymour moved home to Nelson after the Christchurch earthquake, where she continued doing photography fulltime.

"I was diagnosed the day before my very first wedding of the season. The doctor said I should take the weekend off and I was, like, ‘I can't, I've got a wedding tomorrow'.

"The calendar was a good distraction for me and I love photographing people - so this was perfect for me."

Deanne Kilpatrick, of Nelson Women's Support, said she came up with the idea for a calendar after her sister made one for a fundraiser last year.

"The calendar has been on my wall for a year, so this year when I was looking at fundraising options I thought ‘calendar', then ‘photographer: Andrea'. It all went from there."

She said there had been a reasonable amount of hard work getting it together.

"It's not huge, but it doesn't come together in a day.

"Doing the actual photoshoots has been a blast."

It was hoped the calendar would be ready for sale by mid-September, she said.

Most of the images are of people who have been affected or connected to cancer in some way, including volunteers, survivors, friends and family.

The point, Ms Seymour said, was to show that everyone was affected by cancer.

"It's been really fun.

"I'm meeting these people and talking about their experience and then transforming it into a photograph where cancer isn't an issue any more."

The joy of photography for her was meeting people.

"I really enjoy getting to meet new and exciting people, where everyone's got a different story, and I'm transforming that into a photo."

Cancer Society Nelson centre manager Linda Lucre said the project was a really positive thing.

"It's a young person who's come through it and is doing really well.

"It's a fun thing we've been doing [the calendar]."

On Saturday the picture for the cover was taken at Tahunanui Beach.

"It's a group of people and it's a like a tug-of-war, with people beating cancer and winning the tug-of-war," Ms Lucre said.

The funds from the sale of the calendars would be shared by both organisations, and would make a great Christmas present, she said.

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