All photos are by Angelo Merendino and are used with his permission
Jennifer Merendino was back in the hospital again. It was a warm May morning, and the 39-year-old was a few days into yet another stay at Memorial Sloan-Kettering to treat her metastatic breast cancer. It had spread to her bones by then, making it hard for her to stand. But she was standing then, in front of a mirror in her hospital room, while her husband, Angelo Merendino, prepared to shave her head before she lost her hair to chemotherapy again. He stood behind her, wielding an electric razor in one hand and holding a camera with the other, finger on the shutter.
He said, “I've got to make a quick photo of us doing this, of you and me.” She assented, holding onto a support pole attached to the bathroom wall. “I just fired off two quick photographs, then I put the camera down.” The resulting photo was one of many black-and-white portraits that comprise “My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer,” which documents, through Merendino’s lens, Jennifer’s 20-month illness and eventual death at age 40 in December 2011.