Niels Helmink - TESTICULAR CARCINOMA
Niels: 'What does a photographer do best when he falls ill than to photograph the life that he is forced into at that moment? For Niels Helmink, by the way, this was not so far beyond his earlier artistic projects that always showed a strong social side, that the photos now inevitably get a different twist and are confrontational. A few years ago with testicular cancer included in the UMC St Radboud, he recorded his treatment process: Testicular Carcinoma. The chemotherapy he underwent did not only bring him into a different world - that of the hospital with its own environment, objects and rituals - as it affected and changed its appearance. Niels Helmink captures both dimensions step by step in a series of sixteen photos. The key to the series mentioned is a self-portrait: his hair falls out and in a certain sense starts to form a cocoon around him. With this penetrating photo, he won an IPA (International Photography Award) in 2010 in the People: Self-Portrait Professional category. How different it used to be, how quiet is it when he finds his hair on his pillow the first morning after the treatment? And then his bedside table with a kind of bottle to collect his urine and a bag full of medicines; or the latter on the reverse where chrysanthemums - flowers referring to autumn and the dead - stand out. Such a sign of resilient life is accentuated here by the bright yellow color that runs through the photos like a fragile line and connects them to each other'.