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"Still Me"

A 24 page artist's book on Amy Gottlieb

Published 2023


In 2022, Amy Gottlieb, a widely respected Toronto activist, educator, artist and photographer approached me to help her create what would be her final art project: a photographic series documenting the changes lymphoma had made to her body. Amy had learned of my collaborative approach to photography through a mutual friend and hoped the project would resonate with me.

. A photographer herself, Amy understood the portrait process and went into it with joy and surprising energy. We both brought ideas to the project and tested them out together till we landed on exactly what we had been both reaching for.

The photo shoot which took place in my back garden in Toronto was intense, exciting and, yes, fun. It was a collaboration in every sense Amy was comfortable being naked,  and her pride and confidence in her physical being radiates in the photos. She loved the photos. “They’re beautiful,”  she told me when I sent them to her. “ I’m looking at them three times a day.

In one instance, Amy brought out a portrait of herself as a younger, healthy woman. She wanted to play with recreating that pose in her current stage of life. Both the original photo and the new portrait we created are now in the Toronto ArQuives LGBTQ2+ collection.

Some of the images can be challenging. Amy is clearly ill and extremely thin. However, her strength of spirit and pride radiate through the entire series of images, capturing the message she intended the images to convey: I’m still me, this physical transformation does not change or diminish me.

After Amy died, graphic designer Joss Maclennan and I created a 24 page book with a selection of the portraits and excerpts from some of Amy’s published writing as a gift for Amy’s partner, Maureen Fitzwilliam. Maureen echoed Amy’s request that these photos be shared freely.


This gallery has some of the page spreads from the book.

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