Acclaimed photojournalist shares battle with cancer

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LEWISTON — Diagnosed at age 48 with a potentially deadly form of lymphoma, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John Kaplan turned the lens on himself and chronicled his experience in a moving visual journal.

Kaplan’s new film, “Not As I Pictured,” is now showing on PBS stations nationwide. Lewiston PBS affiliate, WCBB-TV, will broadcast the profound and inspiring story of cancer survival at 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5.

“The film uses anything but the typical melancholy, cliched approach toward cancer stories. ‘Not As I Pictured’ is upbeat and life affirming,” said Kaplan, one of America’s best-known photojournalists, husband and father of two young children.

The University of Florida journalism professor and Fulbright scholar has been awarded the Overseas Press Club Award and National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, as well as the Pulitzer.

Moved by the film’s content, leading musicians — Michael Stipe of R.E.M., Chris Martin of Coldplay, David Bowie, will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Pantera and Cowboy Junkies — donated music for the “Not As I Pictured soundtrack. Their contributions helped the film win Best Soundtrack at the 2010 Maverick Movie Awards and the ADDY Best of Show for Public Service.

“Not As I Pictured” has captured the attention of the film industry, with more than 20 honors including two prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Awards and several Best Documentary film festival accolades.

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Kaplan is giving away 10,000 DVD copies to anyone affected by cancer. Viewers can order free copies for personal use at www.NotAsIPictured.org. A cancer coping kit produced in collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology accompanies the DVD, with coping and lifestyle tips for patients, caregivers and survivors.

With help from his family, doctors and even Mother Teresa and a rock star, Kaplan shares the same boundless determination and powerful storytelling ability that helped him become a famous photographer. The film ends with the news of Kaplan’s complete remission and return to good health.

These days Kaplan is on the road, sharing his motivational story at oncology conferences, hospitals and support centers nationwide.

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