Illness, everyday life and narrative montage: The visual aesthetics of cancer in sara bro's diary

  • Henriksen N
  • Tjørnhøj-Thomsen T
  • Hansen H
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This article presents a study of Sara Bro's Diary (2004), a book montage of images and texts recording the experiences of a Danish breast cancer survivor, Sara Bro. It examines two montages of photography and text, drawing on Roland Barthes' concept of 'the third meaning' to explain and discuss the effect of the layered meanings in the montage alongside their multi-medium and self-referential expression. The discussion is centred on the aesthetic practices that are invited by Bro's book montage. The article considers how the juxtaposition of images and texts are experienced and co-created by the reader. It points to the effect of the aesthetics of disguise and carnival implicit in the visual-verbal montage and argues that these generate a third meaning. This meaning is associated with the breast cancer experience but is not directly discernible in the montage. The article concludes by discussing how Bro's montage acts as an ideological statement, subverting or 'poaching on' the health care system.

Author-supplied keywords

  • breast cancer
  • narrative
  • photography
  • the third meaning
  • visual aesthetics

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  • Nina Henriksen

  • Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen

  • Helle Ploug Hansen

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