My father first got me a camera when I was no older than seven in Athens, Greece. I remember it was an “AGFA.” Two settings – cloudy, or sunshine! No flash. I loved taking pictures with it. Trying to catch birds in flight. Trying to shoot friends, passing cars, the streets of Athens, anything that would grab my attention. More than once my allowance would go to the local photographer’s shop to develop the tiny black-and-white shots. Over time, the owner would coach me on a few elementary principles until one day, to the horror of my grandmother, I taped black cardboard over the bathroom window and attempted to develop my own film in the sink. The sepia colored prints were awful, and, having been threatened with being grounded for life, I summarily flushed all the chemicals down the drain.

That was a long time ago, but my passion to see through the lens never abated. And, thankfully, about 35,000+ photographs later (20,315 of which are digital as of this writing), I can claim only experience, self-study, and passion. But, passion and excellence are not to be confused, so I am careful not to make such assertions here. My claim is simply that as I walked my path I took pictures of the view.

Then, the trail took a couple of interesting turns.

Nine years ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Stage one, seminoma. Thankfully, between the operation and the adjuvant radiation, the careful observation protocols, and the dedicated care of many I made it to five years out. Which is exactly when I was diagnosed with a new occurrence of testicular cancer! Stage one, non-seminoma. I remember my oncologist joking with me, “Chris, you just have got to stop getting cancer!” Once again, the operation and follow-up protocols bring me to today, just over three years from the last diagnosis, and eager to hear that once again I am “five years out.”

For most people these words mean little. For cancer patients, they mean a new lease on life. For cancer care-givers, they mean everything from success, to relief, to a momentary pause in the battle – respite to fight another day. For this community, these words are affirmation of hard work, good science, great instinct, powerful will. And sometimes the words are metaphysical, mystical, prophetic, or even an answer to prayers.

Volumes have been written on the subject by far more educated, wise, and eloquent people than I, and this book is not a part of that collection. This book is the sharing of a journey. A five year journey. My five year journey.

I am told that when the right moment comes, life “flashes” before your eyes. I will not know that for sure until then, but during my five years out, I have been privileged enough to live, love, and look at people, places and events across six continents. I took these flashes and brought them here for you and me to share.

This art project, as I call it, is an invitation to walk together through a gallery of images, images that mean a lot to me, and images I hope will stir feelings in you for what they are – flashes of life. Images hung in a virtual gallery that starts with the one below, and exits with the one on the last page.

I also hope this work will inspire you to look through a different lens and join those touched by cancer in search of cures to the many diseases that are “cancer.” Although this work is no way affiliated with, endorsed by, or connected to any one individual, institution or organization, I would strongly urge you to reach out within your own community and directly support the organizations of your choice.

As far as I am concerned, there would be no greater affirmation of this “Five Years Out” project than your direct involvement and donation.

Thank you,

Chris Moschovitis
New York City, NY

Copyright © Chris Moschovitis