Richard Boll

Louise, March 2020

I took this portrait of my wife in March 2020 during a period of strict lockdown for Covid-19. At that time she was undergoing chemotherapy after having been diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2019.

The production of the portrait was very much a collaboration, with discussion at every stage of the image-making process including the final image selection. This image was taken at home during one of several portrait sessions carried out during the lockdown. I hope that the portrait reflects both the fortitude that my wife has demonstrated, as well as the vulnerability that she has felt at various stages of her treatment. The photograph seeks to express the challenges created when a life-changing illness is coupled with the threat of a pandemic.

This was a very significant time in our lives and I wanted to create a visual document that we’ll be able to reflect upon in the future. Louise is now in remission and is fit and well.

We were pleased that the portrait was shortlisted for the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021 and received gold and silver medals in the Tokyo International Photography Awards.