• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'It's important people are confronted with cancer'

Alex Evans · 24 Apr 2014, 15:07

Published: 24 Apr 2014 15:07 GMT+02:00

Proksch-Park, from Bredehorn in Lower Saxony, started her "Flugkraft" (Power to Fly) photo project at the beginning of last year and its Facebook community now has nearly 21,000 members.

The 35-year-old visits the families of children suffering from cancer and photographs the youngsters in their element - playing, posing, messing about - but almost always looking happy or defiant.

The idea is to help sufferers gain confidence and work towards breaking the taboo surrounding cancer in society, she told The Local.

"I think it is important people are confronted with it [cancer], because at the moment it somehow gets shut out," she said. "Those affected often hide themselves away and that is very harmful."

The project started as a favour to a friend. "At the beginning of 2013 I took a photo of my friend's child who suffered from cancer, and she loved the picture so much I began to consider doing the same for other families," she said.

Since then she has done photo shoots for 11 families on the record, as well as several others who chose not to be named by the project.

"We drink coffee, talk a lot, muck about a bit and play, then we take fun pictures," she said.

CLICK HERE to see some of the photos

And any inhibitions she has about taking photos of strangers' cancer-suffering children don't last long.

"Initially I tend to be a bit nervous, but as soon as I arrive that melts away, and I'm always welcomed with open arms," she said.

Flugkraft has taken off in terms of support and exposure far more than Proksch-Park initially expected.

"The media attention helps a lot with implementing my ideas, and it gives both me and sufferers the strength to fight on," she said.

"I never would have thought it, but I take everything as it comes and I'll take every opportunity to make this project more famous."

And that is an aim that should be served well by the project's next stage.

"We're planning exhibitions. A big one is planned for the start of next year at the European Parliament in Brussels," she told The Local.

Story continues below…

The project also works with adult cancer sufferers, offering photography workshops aimed at letting patients express themselves.

"It's difficult to get through to both young and adult sufferers because they hold themselves back a great deal," Proksch-Park said. "We decided to offer make-up and photo workshops. They allow sufferers to get to know each other, to learn to make themselves up favourably and then take beautiful photos."

The fear and stress of suffering with cancer, and the isolation caused by the taboo surrounding the disease, can sap patients' self-esteem, and this is what Flugkraft aims to combat, she said.

"We want to give sufferers back their self-confidence and show them they don't have to hide away any more," the photographer added.

SEE ALSO: Skier beats cancer to return to Winter Olympics

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Evans (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Govt argues over using army inside Germany
Photo: DPA

After a string of violent rampages in one week, an argument has broken out in Germany’s coalition government over whether the army (Bundeswehr) should be deployed inside the country.

Analysis
How Merkel reacts to crises better than other leaders
Photo: DPA

It is of critical importance for a country how a leader chooses to react to an act of terrorism. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cool head sets an example for the rest of the country.

Turkey demands Germany extradite Gülen supporters
Fethullah Gülen. Photo: DPA

Ankara called on Germany on Thursday to extradite supporters of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of plotting a failed coup earlier this month.

German police raid 'hotbed of radicalization'
Police entering one of the residences. Photo: DPA

A mosque and eight residences were searched.

Germany boasts Europe's best value beaches
This beach just got named Europe's cheapest. Do you know where it is? Photo: DPA

Forget Mallorca or the Costa del Sol - the best beach bargains can be found in Germany. But where?

After rampages, Merkel says again: Wir schaffen das
Photo: DPA

Speaking for the first time after a Syrian refugee blew himself up in southern Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to helping refugees on Thursday.

The Local List
Germany's five most mind-boggling conspiracy theories
What's the point of this mysterious tower at Tempelhof Airport? Photo: DPA.

Think that wacky paranoid types only exist in the USA? Here’s a few crazy German conspiracies to prove you wrong.

Munich shooting
Gunman's friend arrested for 'planning school attack'
File photo: DPA

Police found chemicals and instructions for making explosives, as well as evacuation plans of his school in the youth's possession.

Bremen mall evacuated due to escaped psychiatric patient
Police outside the mall. Photo: DPA

The man had reportedly made worrying statements relating to Isis and last week's shooting in Munich.

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

The Turkish government has been giving German ambassador Martin Erdmann the cold shoulder for weeks, after German parliamentarians passed a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,746
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd