Teacher and Photographer Patrick Verbeeck is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘GLEASON SCORE 7 ’. To see Patrick’s body of work, click on any image.
In the summer of 2017 photographer Patrick Verbeeck unexpectedly received the severe diagnosis of prostate cancer with a ‘Gleason Score’ of 7. This medical scale measures how malignant a tumour is. A 7 means that it is a fairly aggressive form of cancer. The complete removal of the prostate – with the risk of lasting consequences such as impotence and incontinence – was the only option.
Although the serious shock of a life-threatening disease overwhelmed him and dealt him a heavy psychological blow, Verbeek quickly bounced back and decided to employ his fate and to bend it into a brave, very personal and gripping photo series.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the fourth most common type of cancer in general. In 2018, 1,3 million new cases were diagnosed worldwide. Despite improved treatment methods the disease and, in particular, the complete removal of the prostate remained somewhat of a taboo.
In ’Gleason Score 7’ Patrick Verbeeck used his camera as a sort of release. He visualized his mix of emotions and the dark thoughts about his health and the uncertainty of his future through metaphorical images of nature. These evocative images – that reflect his vulnerabilities and fears – are interspersed in the series with self-portraits, more documentarian images and even musings about his own death. In this way the photographer aims to literally give a face to the disease and to allow for more open conversation on this topic.
All images © Patrick Verbeeck
By Patrick Verbeeck