Shannon is Dying … Good Weekend …

Very pleased to see my image grace the cover of ‘Good Weekend’ magazine today … would be nicer if my portrait of terminal cancer patient Shannon Turner led to a story with, perhaps, a better ending.

Shannon Turner is dying … but is also part of something remarkable and ground breaking.
She is one of 35 patients to take part in Australia’s first approved clinical trial of potent
psychedelic drug therapy. 

Inside the magazine journalist Kate Cole-Adams tells at length a wonderful fascinating story about the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic drugs by Shannon and 34 terminally ill others involved in a pioneering treatment.

Kate’s story is a ‘must read’ …

In 2018 Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2020 she was told that the cancer had metastasised into her left lung and she was given just a year to live.

At this point I’ll let ‘Good Weekend’ tell more in this ‘preview’ by editor Katrina Strickland on Instagram this morning …

“I’ve never much liked the idea of getting high. Call me a wowser – perhaps control freak is more accurate! – but the notion of losing control of my mind and actions has never held much appeal. Each to their own, I guess.⁠

That said, if I were facing imminent death due to terminal illness, I could see the appeal of getting high, in a safe setting, in a bid to unlock deeper levels of understanding and acceptance. This is what 35 patients signed up to do in a trailblazing clinical trial at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne that tested the use of psilocybin in terminally ill patients.⁠

⁠Their insights into the process are fascinating; so, too, the observation that Australia was lagging behind other major research nations in investigating the therapeutic use of psychedelics before this. Now it’s leapfrogged to the front of the pack, with hospitals and clinicians around the globe eagerly awaiting the results. ⁠

⁠Terminally ill patients, no doubt, will also want to hear how effective psilocybin is.⁠”

Kate’s words … spread over four pages inside the magazine accompanied by more pictures … are far too good a read to ignore … and can be found here at … … (sadly requiring a subscription). If you can, may I suggest sourcing a ‘hard copy’ of todays The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age, to read the magazine and view the pics all in the better old fashioned way … ‘in print’.

My subject Shannon was an absolute delight … and the work tells a remarkable story with the greatest of respect … Thanks Shannon, Thanks Katrina, Thanks Kate … gratified to be just a small part of it …

Image © Brian Cassey

Covid-19 & Cairns … Economy in Freefall …

Reliant for a large part on the regular influx of now non-existent International tourists, the year long pandemic has seen Cairns suffering economically disproportionately compared with other parts of Australia.

As the Australian Government initiated JobKeeper support scheme comes to an end this month, Cairns immediate future looks bleak despite a Federal attempt at assistance via subsidised airfares and loans.

It isn’t a ‘pretty’ story for my long term home town … the current situation is dire …  but it did mean a nice gig for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

Many of my images made last week were used to illustrate the effects and hardships of the current desperate financial situation in Cairns and district as a result of the total loss of International tourism.

A pic gallery of thirteen of my images ran online (the SMH link is here ……/cairns-tourism-on-the-ropes…) … whilst the main story variously in print and online (by Brisbane Times journalist Matt Dennien) was accompanied by more of my pics … here

It seems it is going to be a long, long time till Cairns recovers from the body blow caused by the loss of International tourists during the current pandemic and Matt’s story is well worth a read.

Below are just a few of my images the former Fairfax (now ‘Nine’) publications used … from top … a lone swimmer at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon once crowded with International and Australian tourists … owner of Traveller Oasis backpackers Gabriel Thallon cleans his pool as lone International ‘guest’ Rina Yamauchi takes the sun … the locked and deserted Cairns International Terminal at Cairns Airport … crew of Passions of Paradise reef vessel Phoebe and Kirsty wash the boat down after a day on the GBR with few paying customers … and one of numerous closed businesses in Cairns CBD

Images © Brian Cassey

Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey

Front on Fairfax …

I certainly don’t do as much work for Fairfax publications as once I did (newspaper budgets across the board have sunk almost out of sight) but still get various odd commissions from The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and the The Australian Financial Review.

So it was a pleasant surprise to get a message from The Age pic ed Leigh Henningham with the news that one of my images was on their front page on Friday … and turns out it was also page 1 of the SMH. It’s been a while since a pic of mine has graced both major Fairfax newspaper front pages on the same day …

The pic of a surgeon who wished to remain anonymous (creating a little challenge) was made inside a hospital surgery several weeks ago.

Below is a pic of The Age newspaper page 1 … the layout in The Age is marginally better than the SMH … and The Age managed to spell my name correctly in the pic credit … doh !

Image © Brian Cassey

The Age, Sydney Morning Herald -page 1 - 23.09.2016 - image by Brian Cassey