An Unexpected Gift

I met Kristina for the first time in late fall through our mutual friend Tara. Along with being an inspiration on how to live with meaning, Tara penned the book ‘The Compression Garment Diaries. Breast Cancer, An Unexpected Gift’. Kristina and I hit it off immediately. i could see her vision, altered and adjusted though my artist eyes. We collaborated and allowed the project to evolve over several months. I had exhibition space booked for April, and knowing it would be a tight timeline for us to complete, we decided to run ahead and use this space for this body of work. So, for 2 weeks, i photographed 33 beautiful, strong women. My cosy, warm, studio with magical northern light was our workspace. I asked them questions. I listened to their stories. i cried. A lot. Many people, knowing my soft heart, warned me to put my guardrails up, so the project would not consume me emotionally. In reality, the opposite was absolutely necessary. How could I ask these woman to be vulnerable and bare all (literally) without also my own emotional investment? Each and every one of these women have touched me to my very core. What an absolute honour to be part of this.

Last night, midnight, we launched our Kickstarter Campaign. Our goal, to have these images produced into a photography book distributed free of charge to 300 Breast Health Centres across North America. Wow.

My wish for today: this project explodes. becomes bigger than us. larger than our vision. that every woman facing difficult decisions regarding their breast health feels enveloped in support. as they try to adjust to their ‘new normal’ they can reconcile what they see in the mirror, and maybe even find that image looking back at them beautiful.

the studio
the studio

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Keep being beautiful.

ML

//

Woman: Redefined – dignity, beauty, and breast cancerWomen on their breast cancer journeys deserve to see beautiful yet realistic images of what they may look like after surgery. Please help make this photo book a reality. The Kickstarter Campaign is up and running!! http://kck.st/1CG0WxU Our goal is to get a photo book to every Breast Health Centre across North America.

Posted by Woman: Redefined on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Loving the Stories Written on Our Skin

I had to look. It was 3 days after my breast cancer surgery and it was time to take off the layers and layers of bandages. I told my husband not to gasp. I knew that I would have to love my body before surgery as well as after surgery. The bandages came off, and it was OK. I cried, but I kept looking at those scars over and over again; and I began to love them. My husband too. We quickly became so proud of those scars. They were my journey written on my skin. Those scars mean I found the lump now not five years from now. They mean my chances are good, and maybe even great.
I was so proud, I can even say that I love those scars. But not everyone feels that way. It broke my heart to hear other women talk about not wanting to see their scars, not wanting their husbands to see them, not loving the stories written on their skin.
And so this project was born. It is for the women who will come after me. As they sit in the waiting rooms of Breast Health Centers all across the United States and Canada, they should be able to see beautiful images of what their new bodies may look like. This project is for them, to help them see dignity and beauty in their future too.
– Kristina