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These Inspiring Portraits Capture The Emotional Fight Against Cancer

"Halfway through the shoot, she told me that she was about to lose her hair from chemo."

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Photographer Robert Houser's captivating portraits show women from all walks of life facing cancer head-on with faith and determination.

Some pictures capture women during and after treatment, while others prove that the visible effects of chemotherapy can never strip a women of her true beauty.

Robert talked to BuzzFeed about how this project started for him:


"Years ago I was photographing a young woman for a magazine story. Halfway through the shoot, she told me that she was about to lose her hair from chemo...

...I offered to photograph her during treatment, but I could tell she wanted to get through chemo and try to put it behind her."

"Four years later, out of the blue, she called me back and asked me if my offer still stood. I said, 'Absolutely.' That's what started my project Facing Chemo."


"A couple days later, I was at her apartment in San Francisco taking what to me was one of my most moving portraits I had ever done."

"She later wrote that for years she had been looked at, photographed, studied, and examined, and as a result had reached a point where she didn’t want to see her own reflection — even in a car window."


"She said the photographs we did together were the first images that showed her and not her disease."

"As a portrait photographer for 20 years, I have always told stories about people. Photographing someone undergoing chemotherapy was like nothing I had ever experienced."


"Reviewing the images, you feel how genuine and raw each photograph is. At first I thought that the 'realness' was due to the absence of hair and the things with which we adorn ourselves."

"The loss of hair is definitely a part of it, but really, people undergoing chemotherapy live at the edge of their emotions — they cannot hide fear or pretend to be feeling something different."


"Facing Chemo had a profound effect on me, and though I didn’t know it at the time, the individuals we photographed told me how much the experience meant to them in their journey with chemotherapy."


"Many of them said that being photographed was a turning point for them in their fight with cancer."

For more information on Facing Chemo and the Facing Light Foundation, visit