The Family Imprint: A Daughter's Portrait of Love and Loss

Documentary photographer Nancy Borowick’s work is both informative and full of life. Working with different organizations and diverse long term projects, Borowick sets her sights far and achieves every tone she intends. The Family Imprint: A Daughter’s Portrait of Love and Loss was a particular type of long term project Borowick focused on, turning the lens onto her own life and the struggle her family went through when both her parents died of cancer only 364 days of each other. The angle which Borowick chooses photograph from, however, changes the whole dynamic of how the book reads and how death can be seen in an unlikely light.

The photographs in The Family Imprint that Borowick shot are in black and white, sealing the sentimentality they have for herself and for her family. The images show more joyous times, keeping the focus away on what’s to come. Borowick’s mother, Laurel, had been living with breast cancer for 17 years when her husband, Howie, had received his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The amount of love and support that is shared between them during this painful time explodes through the ink of the page. The photos appear in chronological order, taking the audience through the story of how they lived out the days together before the first loss and and how the final days were lived out. This in-depth look almost seems too intrusive, and yet, these images are filled with plenty of effervescence, looking into how Borowick’s family was even when they weren’t concerned with death knocking on the door.

The Family Imprint isn’t just an inclusion of photographs, Borowick includes everything from the timeline that was impacted from the cancers. A yellow piece of paper with parenting advice, Borowick’s wedding invitation, and copies of cards her parents wrote to each other checker the pages and give more insight into the lives of her family. In addition, collages of family pictures are also found every-so-often. These everyday objects make the position of the Borowick family more relatable and help see the brighter side in any arduous situation. It keeps a steady flow going as the audience progresses with the days in the book.

The images found in The Family Imprint are successful in keep the memories of Borowick’s parents alive and radiant.  Borowick captured her family in such a beautiful light during such a troubling time. The Family Imprint is a reminder for anyone of the outside of the situation that there is more that the just the sad moments and grief; there are also all the reminiscing of the happiness from over the years, the times that stand out and build up the cherished memories for what they are today.

If you are interested in purchasing The Family Imprint: A Daughter’s Portrait of Love and Loss, you can purchase it on Photo-Eye’s website.



Written by Madison Rich
Photographs by Madison Rich