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Good Works: Portraits of Support, Words of Encouragement

"Faces of Survivors" Exhibit by PPA Photographers Features 25 Ohioans Fighting Cancer

Twenty-five cancer survivors and patients are the subject of a new portrait study by Kevin Mears, M.Photog.Cr., and Amy Mears, M.Photog., CPP, of Mears Photography in Chillicothe, Ohio. Called “Faces of Survivors,” this photographic exhibit will hang from June 8-13 at the Pump House Center for the Arts.


Above, parents Leighanne and Aaron Johnson with
their cancer-survivor daughter, Caroline.

Working with Southern Ohio Survivors, the Mears Photography duo put out a call for subjects. Featured participants in this cancer awareness project range in age from 14 months to 70+ years. The situations for the participants are as diverse as the class of diseases called cancer. Some of the subjects are still in treatment; many have been in remission for some time.

“We asked the survivors to invite one or two people to take part in this photography event with them,” explains Amy Mears, co-owner of Mears Photography. “We also asked them to share words of encouragement that symbolize the part this support person or team played in their fight against cancer.”

The two portrait artists photographed each cancer survivor, along with their support person or people. The Mears then incorporated the words of encouragement—from quotes to Bible verses—into the final image production, creating a one-of-a-kind portrait study in black and white.

“We all know people who are battling cancer: family members, friends, neighbors. So, my husband and I wanted use our time and talent to support the people in our community who are fighting this disease. Our discussions inspired the ‘Faces of Survivors’ project and Southern Ohio Survivors was an ideal partner for this project,” Amy Mears says. Mears Photography contributed the photographic talents of Kevin and Amy to this project, along with studio time and design work.

“We couldn’t have done it without the overwhelming support of Southern Ohio Survivors and the Pump House Center for the Arts,” Mears says.

“Faces of Survivors” will hang from June 8-13. The exhibit will be a featured stop in the Historic Downtown Chillicothe Gallery Stroll on June 12, including a “Faces of Survivors” Meet the Artists and Survivors reception at the Pump House Center for the Arts in Yoctangee Park from 7-9 p.m.

Following the exhibit, the wall portrait size photographs will be gifted to the cancer survivor featured in the image. “We didn’t expect so may volunteers to step forward to become part of the project. Thanks to the overwhelming support we have received for this project, we plan to make this an annual event,” Amy Mears concludes.