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Jo Spence


Artist 115

Jo Spence Cancer Shock Photography





Jo Spence (1934 – 1992) was a British photographer, a writer, cultural worker, and a photo therapist.


Many of her works were self-portraits about her own fight with breast cancer.

She depicted her various stages of breast cancer to subvert the notion of an idealized female form.


During her prolific photography practice, she became known for her politicized approach to her art form, with socialist and feminist themes throughout her career.


In 1982, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her diagnosis, Spence started to focus on identity, subjectivity, mental and physical health. She rejected conventional therapy and explored holistic therapy and the personal and feminist political dimension of living with cancer.



We live in a world obsessed with health and youth. Even in films regarding illness they are often romantised and do not focus on the abject.



Spence deals with difficult topics of dealing, fighting rejecting both cancer and society.





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