In 2012, a friend of mine, Akume, told me he'd been diagnosed with life-threatening colon cancer. He had opted not to have surgery and his doctors gave him six months to live. He asked me to photograph him nude, explaining that he wanted to have a record of his body before it changed. How I chose to photograph him, he said, was up to me.
I wasn't surprised to hear that Akume wanted to face cancer in his own way. As long as I've known him, he has been challenging the status quo. When Akume was first diagnosed, he had just begun parachute jumping and wingsuit flying around the world. A brilliant MIT graduate with an unparalleled taste for adventure, he'd also found success as a computer programmer in the entertainment business. In my photographs, I wanted to reveal a man who stood at the intersection of nature and commerce, who celebrated the untamed soul and still had his feet planted firmly on the ground.
Today, Akume is alive, his colon cancer had been in remission for a few years, however in the last few months they found cancer has metastasized to his liver. In the past four years, he has gotten married, flown around the world in his wing suit, when he couldn’t fly due to medical treatments, he taught himself how to play piano. He says he feels great ninety percent of the time. When friends ask what can they do for him, he offers these inspiring words: "The only thing you can do is use my life as an example to take nothing for granted. Tomorrow is not promised. The only thing you can control is your attitude."