From: Marilyn M Bui
To: Oonagh Devoy
CC: Katherine A Galagan MD
Subject: FW: Healing Art of Pathology
Seasons’ greetings. Hope all is well with you. Please let me introduce you to Dr. Katherine Galagan who is the co-editor of this book and will be formatting the layout of the book/editing the writing. We are pleased to inform you that we love your submissions. Look forward to working with you to receive a high quality image and some other items listed in the files attached. Please include both of us in your future communication, but make sure the high quality image get to Dr. Galagan via either email or drop box. Katherine will also contact you to discuss possible revision of the writing. Thank you!
Please also send our warmest regards to your daughter.
From: Oonagh Devoy
To: Marilyn M Bui
Subject: Healing Art of Pathology
Please find attached a low res image for your consideration and my accompanying statement for the project "Healing Art of Pathology"
Oonagh Devoy BA HONS Fine Art, TQFE
At the age of four and a half our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was a massive shock for us all: we could not have guessed. Her symptoms had been gradual: clumsiness, lack of co-ordination, others that we had missed. It was only in the two weeks before her diagnosis that her symptoms became severe: double vision, fits and vomiting.
On the day of her diagnosis she was admitted to hospital, administered painkillers and steroids to reduce the swelling. We had no idea how much pain our daughter was in. As the tumour increased in size so did the pressure within her skull. Her pain was her normality and she saw no reason to complain. I felt tremendous guilt that I had not recognised she was suffering.
A week later the swelling was reduced enough so that the surgeons could operate. As we sat in the High Dependency Unit with her after her operation we were unsure of whether she would survive. It was a time a great intimacy and sleep was near impossible. It felt wrong to take photographs but I needed a part of her so I sat at her bedside and made a number of drawings. They would either be a reminder of a journey or a memorial to our beloved child.
One of the milestones of her recovery was the pathology results of the tumour. I cannot tell you how long we had to wait, it was a surreal time, time dragged, we lived from day to day. Thankfully the results returned benign and slow growing. Pathology had given us hope for the future.
I asked my daughter permission to include this drawing in this collection, for it is her drawing and her journey. She was happy to share.
Not that I ever think I have enough cameras........when I receive a phone call from my mum describing a Polaroid camera in a second hand shop and asking me if I want it......'.erm YES!!!!!' Heart in mouth as she sees someone else pick it up, but thankfully it is a happy ending and two days later this little gem arrives in the post.
"But Oonagh" i here you say, "why do you need yet another Polaroid camera"? Good question, so I will explain. Each of the Polaroid cameras I have collected allow you to manipulate the exposed print in different ways:
Polaroid 6oo - emulsion lift
Polaroid Colorpack IV - image transfer of developing image
Polaroid 1000 - image distortion of the developing image
Thankfully the two week Christmas break has begun and I am looking forward to walks along the coastline in the pursuit of beach treasure with camera(s) in hand. Life is rich indeed.
For my cyanotype experiments to begin I had either to hope that the sun would shine brightly for me or buy myself a reliable and constant UV light source. As the search began I quickly found that UV light boxes where expensive. Not perturbed I searched for instructions on how to make myself a homemade alternative.
This search began on YouTube where I found how to build a UV light box from a facial tanner and a housing unit constructed from plywood. £20 later I had the makings of my light box.
With light box constructed and plaster tiles prepared I needed to test my light box by making a test strip to determine exposure times.
Happy with the result of the test strip which was made on Fabriano 5 paper I decided to try out the experiment plaster surface.
Before applying cyanotype sensitiser to the plaster it is important to size the plaster for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you do not the image will just wash off the plaster. Secondly, plaster is an alkaline surface and cyanotypes prefer an acid surface.
My first experimental plaster shows less contrast compared to the test strip and I think that the experimental size is the reason why. It has also created distortions in the image.
The next step will be to experiment with different plaster sealers and record the results to determine the best size fit for purpose
I cannot exaggerate how much I am in love with Ebay. To date it has never failed me in my quest for all thing photography and otherwise. The only thing that holds me back from making too many purchases is my limited funds. But thankfully it is near Christmas and I have been able to send a couple of request links to my parents.
One of my requests was for a vintage contact printer. So simple in design and yet beautiful too. I plan to make one little change which is to replace the bulb with a UV alternative so I can make little cyanotypes on paper.
I have been ordered by my mum to wrap it up and not to play with it before Christmas. The temptation though is too great to keep my hands of it for 3 weeks! Sorry mum.