Karlina Mitchell documents her husband's cancer battle

JoJo comforts his dad, Lee
JoJo comforts his dad, Lee

Karlina Mitchell, from Katoomba, is an emerging photographer who has an upcoming photography exhibition at the Everglades Gallery as a part of the Head On Photo Festival.

Hospital flowers

Hospital flowers

Head On exhibition: Lee Mitchell recovering from bowel cancer. Photos by Karlina Mitchell

Head On exhibition: Lee Mitchell recovering from bowel cancer. Photos by Karlina Mitchell

A Good Year is an account of Mitchell's experience of her husband's battle with bowel cancer. Lee was diagnosed in 2017 and after bowel surgery fell into a coma for six days.

When he woke, Mitchell started taking photos, partly to try and capture moments and memories and also as a way of processing the experience.

A Good Year starts at the time of Lee's liver resection in 2018, through to the end of his chemotherapy treatment in 2019.

"Cancer is often seen as one of the worst things that could ever happen," Mitchell said. "Lee has said that this time, fighting cancer, has been filled with some of the best moments of his life.

"This is what these seemingly catastrophic moments in life force you to face, your mortality, and you come out the other side forever changed."

Mitchell said she was attempting to change the dialogue we have about our picture-perfect lives.

"As a society and as individuals we need to ask why we have such an aversion to discussions about hardship, to the messy parts of life and open ourselves up to sharing our real stories."

The exhibition is on from May 11-26 at Everglades.