Indelible images

During the past week, I’ve been conducting intensive interviews with five Alabama women photographed by David Jay, fashion photographer and creator of The Scar Project: Subtitled “Breast cancer is not a pink ribbon,” The Scar Project reveals the honesty of breast cancer–how it affects a survivor’s body, soul, being.

The five women pictured in the Alabama series provide a glimpse into their everyday lives. A variation on the portraits that appear on the site for The Scar Project, these survivors are pictured at home, in waiting rooms, arms wrapped around children, heads leaning on shoulders. When I saw the pictures–or a small selection from the hundreds David took–I couldn’t look away. In the eyes of Leah, Brittney, Raquel, Whitni, and Melanie, I recognized a complex flurry of emotions ranging from pain and fear to strength and  gratitude.

Last night, as I was finishing up my interview with Brittney and her husband Brandon, I asked Brittney what she thinks David’s photos show.

She told me that the pictures show so much. They are at once “caution sign, inspiration, sadness, joy . . . you get to a point where you’re vulnerable and strong at the same time, and that’s when you’re the most transparent.”

Soon, the pictures and the stories they tell will be on exhibit at UAB and in publications across the country. There’s a richness to their lives that make these women worth listening to.


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