Leslie Dam provides the subject for this photograph.
Leslie Dam provides the subject for this photograph.

Life in perfect focus

A CHILLING medical diagnosis has brought life into clear focus for Warwick-based photographer Claire Farley.

Just two months ago the creative local was told she had lung cancer. The shocking discovery came during a photo snapping tour of Tasmania.

“I had horrific stomach cramps, but I just thought it was an ulcer,” she admitted.

But the heart-stopping prognosis and a specialist’s insistence that she needed immediate radiotherapy hastened her return to the Rose City.

It was news which altered every plan she had for her future.

“I was really calm; in truth there wasn’t a lot I could do about it,” Ms Farley said.

“Yet you know I was really disappointed; I’d moved from Perth to Queensland so I could travel around eastern Australia taking photographs.

“I’d bought a 4WD, I’d retired after 50, I was ready to just concentrate on photography.”

Instead she started a treatment for the aggressive cancer, which had spread to her liver and hips.

She also broke the news to her two sons Matthew and David, both still living and working in Western Australia.

“We are very close and I knew they took it hard; but I made a pact with them – if I know something I will share it with them. We will get through this together.”

Then somehow in between dealing with the physical aftershocks of cancer treatment and holding her family together, she made a creative decision.

“I am a member of the Clifton Photography Group and they had a space for someone to exhibit at the Clifton Library and they asked me and I said yes.”

It was therapy organising her favourite photographs for the exhibition “Claire’s Travels”, she explained.

“I always think it helps to have something creative to take your mind off other things.”

The result is an intricate collection of more than 20 photographs taken during this courageous artist’s tours across Australia.

“I am proud of the result; it’s reflective of the places I’ve been and the way I see life.”

Today she attributes her ability to be positive in the face of her diagnosis to having a strong sense of humour as well as the selfless support of her family.

Yet there is one element of her current situation that irks her.

“Initially one specialist said I had eight years to live, then another said two years, but if they cut that down anymore I will be really angry, because I have so much I want to do.”

High on her list will be a move back to Perth to be closer to her sons.

But in the meantime if you are keen to see her work visit Clifton Library in the next fortnight.

The exhibition is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am-1pm and 3pm-5pm and Saturday 9am until noon.

Her work is also online at www.redbubble.com/people/witty.

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