A brave and inspirational dental therapist has made headlines with her innovative and unique internet habit. Jane Holton who is aged 41 and is from Accrington, Lancashire has been charting her life with photographs, whilst battling a disease. Janet was diagnosed with skin cancer 5 years ago and after believing she had made a full recovery she discovered the diseased had returned, last year. It was at this time when Janet decided to start a project which involved keeping a picture diary to document her every day experiences while living with skin cancer.
Janet chose to photograph ‘the moving’, ‘the mundane’ and ‘the marvellous’ in her every day life. Janet took the opportunity to use the news of her returned disease to motivate her creatively. She decided to chart her life by taking a picture every day. She began uploading a range of different images daily and soon she had picked up engaged and passionate followers. Janet planned the 365 day project but the overwhelming support and positive feedback she received encouraged her to continue her daily habit. Janet published a photo of her jumping for joy, trips to the beach and unusual and interesting meals she had eaten. It was Janet’s way of reminding herself every day: to live life to all its glory. Janet was determined to record all the lighter and happy moments in her life as she continued to battle her disease.
Janet shared her photographs on the website Blipfoto. Compiling over 300 snaps of herself and the people in her life, Janet received an international following. Janet names her husband ‘Mr A’ on her blog. One photo reports ‘Mr A’ taking a 6 hour bike trip in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. Janet adds a humourous description to the photo, ‘worth the numb bum.’ Janet gives a real and authentic display of her normal life with such cheerfulness, even though continually in a battle with cancer. The dental therapist was reported to express, ‘Sometimes it was hard to come up with a good photo each day and I fell back on taking pictures of food or flowers. I ended up setting a reminder on my phone so I wouldn’t forget to take one because maintaining it for a whole year was a challenge.’
Janet’s photos reflect her moods from quirky, to mundane, to unusual. Examples include an indecently-attired mannequin and a friend’s chicken who was given a towel after getting drenched in the rain. Some photos saw slightly dimmer sides to Janet’s life. Janet posted a photo of her grandma’s remedy: a honey and lemon tea with some painkillers when Janet was experiencing the flu. However, even though this reflected a dip in Janet’s health, she somehow lightened the feeling of being ill with an innocent and endearing photo and caption. Janet’s photo diary has become an international, entertaining sensation.
Janet said, 'It’s a project that has helped me come through some tough times that I have had over the last year and I enjoyed it so much that it’s not something that I’m ready to give up. By publishing the photos on the internet, I’ve been able to share my world with other people and also see theirs which is a great experience. It’s nice to receive the feedback on the photos and I can’t believe that people care about my "boring life’.” I’ve enjoyed taking pictures of more interesting things like food, with my recent trip to Devon and Cornwall standing out. Blipfoto’s tagline is ‘save your life’ which I think it particularly fitting for me.'
The dental therapist’s lively and entertaining photo publications has prompted a wonderfully, positive reaction across the world. Janet is an inspiration to all those who are suffering like her. Regardless of her illness she embraces life and all its little perks and quirks. Janet is an inspiration to us all.