By Derek Clark

My sister lost her fight with cancer at 4:47 am on Tuesday 17th July 2018. She was 55 years old. Joyce was diagnosed with a brain tumour back in November 2016 and despite 6 months of radiotherapy, 14 months of chemotherapy, cannabis oil and honey imported from Israel, one tumour became two and it was clear treatment was not going to work.

Joyce kept her sense of humour right to the end, she never complained or showed any sign of self-pity, but a stroke changed her permanently and made communication more difficult and then finally almost impossible. At the end it was although everything but her lungs shut down, each breath a fight for survival. In the last few minutes of her life, she managed to open her eyes. She was surrounded by family, each of us holding on to her, making sure she knew we were there. Finally, her breath slowed, a few more breaths with longer gaps in between and then silence. She was gone forever.

July 24th, 2018. The funeral was today, exactly one week after she died. We couldn’t believe how many people showed up to pay their respects. It was a sea of faces, some I knew some I didn’t and some I should have known, but didn’t recognise. As requested by my brother in law, Joyce’s coffin was carried by her three brothers and three sons as her favourite singer Andrea Bocelli played in the background.

I've been asked so many times in the past week how I and the rest of my family were. I say that we’re ok, we're getting there. But the real truth is that we are all hanging by a thread right now. My brother in law, their three sons, my two brothers and our other halves, we’re all hanging by a thread. But my parents just buried their only daughter and that's just not right. It's not the way it's supposed to happen. I don't know how they're supposed to move on from this.

So we are all hanging by a thread. But we’re a close family, and if you twist and intertwine thread it becomes rope, and rope anchors the ship, it holds down the tents in a storm. As I write these words I look down at my wrist at the piece of climbing rope that’s been there for almost a year. I realise that it's the stuff that keeps us from falling.

Click on each picture for the caption

On Being


Words and Photography by Jonas Rask

This essay isn’t easy for me. Loss and sorrow never is. 

I deal with life and death in the healthcare system every day, but that’s in a professional setting. That’s when I’m prepared and at guard. I put on the semi-permeable emotional shield, that protects my inner fragility. These things hurt. Every goddamn time. Even for a doctor like myself, who is confronted with it on a daily basis, they hurt like hell. Some more than others, but they do hurt! 

Steve Shipman's passing after a longtime fight with cancer is obviously something that touches us here at KAGE. I didn’t know Steve personally. I loved his photography, I read his blog, but I never reached out on a personal level. But in the context of things, that doesn’t really matter, 'cause the loss is a great one. He was an inspirator par excellence, and he touched many people through his art, including myself. 

We talked about the theme of this issue and the title that came up was “On Being Here - For Steve” - I gave some good thought into what I wanted to do photographically for this issue, and I decided on a portrait series shot in 6x6 on analogue medium format just like Steve did with his portraiture. Unfortunately the 7 portraits I had done got lost during a bad development session yesterday. So the portraits went down the drain...  


Having to rethink the entire thing with less than 24 hours until deadline, is one of those situations that you really don’t want to find yourself in. Nonetheless that is what happened. 

I took the liberty to do a complete shift in expression. Instead of me portraying strangers with no emotional affiliation to my life, or Steve's for that matter, I decided on sharing some shots of the one thing that I know mattered most to him:


I cannot speak on behalf of Steve, but I can speak for me when I say that family is everything. They bring me all the emotions that I can experience as a human being. The entire spectrum. 

When the feeling of loss and sadness takes a toll on my mind, the feelings of hope, innocence and happiness always prevail when I see my kids at play and look into the eyes of my wife. 

This is what “being here” is all about for me. Being here, for Steve, everyday enjoying life with those around me that matters the most. 
Here’s to you and your loved ones Steve.