The Photography Community Lost a Special Person Today

Photographers woke up this morning to hear that Jen Burgess Thompson passed away peacefully this morning. Jen was courageous enough to share her battle with the community over the last year as we all grew to love her. Jessica Person said it best this morning, "...the photography world watched a courageous photographer, woman and mother battle cancer. She was victorious. She didn't lose her battle with cancer this morning, she sailed into victory."

Some of her dear friends including Kevin Kubota, Benjamin Edwards and many others helped to document Jen's journey and were there by her side continually assisting in the fight. I was introduced to Jen through one of her big supporters, Joel Meisels, who shared Jen's story with many in the photography community. As we remember the life of Jen today, let us all recommit ourselves to using our talent and skills to help raise awareness and funds so that cures can be discovered. Be sure to reach out and offer to help document the lives of those fighting the same battles just as Benjamin Edwards did in creating this amazing video for Jen one year ago. In the words of Mother Theresa,

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

Photos by Benjamin Edwards

When it is detected early, ovarian cancer has a 90% cure rate. But because 80% of women are not diagnosed until its late stages, ovarian cancer is considered the deadliest reproductive system cancer for women. Jen does not fit the profile of a cancer patient. She’s young with no family history of cancer. A completely suprise to all, including her doctors, there is no logical reason for Jen to have been diagnosed. She’s taken good care of her body and there is nothing anyone could point to and say, “This is why this happened to you.”

Below are the common symptoms of ovarian cancer. Jen experienced every one of these leading up to her diagnosis.

1. Severe and frequent bloating/ Increased abdominal size

2. Severe and spastic cramping–similar to menstrual pains but more intense

3. Lower abdominal and back pain

4. Loss of appetite/Feeling full quickly

5. Weight loss

6. Extreme fatigue/Lack of energy

7. Night sweats

These symptoms are common and can be associated with a number of different causes–which is  what makes ovarian cancer particularly difficult to detect. If you or someone you know is frequently experiencing these symptoms, the most effective way to diagnosis the disease is through an ultra-sound. You must ask for one and be prepared to fight for it. Despite common belief… ovarian cancer is NOT detected or even tested for during an annual pap exam.

Jen's impact on so many lives for the good will always be cherished.

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Nicholas's picture

Tears in my eyes. May she rest in peace.

Tam Nguyen's picture

There's another photographer fighting cancer, luckily she's still with us. I love how positive (and open about her condition) she is. You might've seen her name before, Oh So Posh Photography.

Sandra Jackson's picture

 Do not stand at my grave and weep,I am not there; I do not sleep.I am a thousand winds that blow,I am the diamond glints on snow,I am the sun on ripened grain,I am the gentle autumn rain.When you awaken in the morning’s hushI am the swift uplifting rushOf quiet birds in circling flight.I am the soft star-shine at night.Do not stand at my grave and cry,I am not there; I did not die.

-Mary Frye

Her story brought so much strength and courage into the world.

Wow! :)

Erin Hernandez-Reisner's picture

God be with us all!  <3 to Jen and her family. 

Rebekah Webb's picture

She looks like she was a tough girl, beautiful in how passionate the photos of her are..... blessing from good spirits to her, her family, and her friends. <3 Thanks for sharing her story.

Rebekah Webb's picture

She looks like she was a tough girl, beautiful in how passionate the photos of her are..... blessing from good spirits to her, her family, and her friends. <3 Thanks for sharing her story.

R.I.P., hope she was able to enjoy the last months as good as possible, i also was diagnosed with cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) in may this year, even you have family and friends, its unbelievable hard to stand up in the morning when you know your time is running out anyway

I'm sorry to hear about your illness. I'll be thinking of you and wish I could do and say more.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Sam I am so sorry to hear that. I bet it is. It's definitely a battle of inner will every day. Stay positive and try to enjoy life as much as possible. 

Lisa B.'s picture


Lisa B.'s picture

My heart hurts for her family, friends and fellow creatives who were made better by her presence in their lives. May she rest in Paradise. 

Bill Nichols's picture

Praying for you and your family - cancer has affected my life greatly taking my mother and father and cousins, beautiful tribute...

Alex Henderson's picture

A Wonderful tribute to her, showing the power of life through imagery

Kate Gansneder's picture

Oh Jen. My heart is heavy today and my thoughts are with your family. The world lost an incredible sister, wife, and mother, and a beautiful artist. No words can describe the legacy you've left behind ... I only know that you were an angel on earth who has now gone home. 

I am so grateful that you're no longer in pain, no longer fighting to live every moment, no longer feeling the sting of the hand you were given. I am glad for your peace today, and I hope that peace comes soon for your family as they feel you with them in every moment Jen. You rocked at LIVING every moment of every day.

We will never forget you Jen. And we will never stop fighting for a cure so that no one suffers like you did, like your family has. Thank you, for being an example of strength, love, and life for all of us. Thank you for being you.

Tammie Williamson's picture

Prayers for her Family

Osiaris Angomas's picture


joan morgades's picture

Rest in peace.

Sharon Thomas's picture

Thoughts go out to her family and may she be remembered as she was.

Sandeep Singh's picture

A beautiful tribute. May she rest in peace.

Photography has suffered a great loss, my thoughts are with her family and friends