As a portrait photographer I intimately know the relationship between body image and confidence – so often I photograph ladies through my boudoir photography service who cannot believe they would ever look good in a photograph and to see that transformation when they are proved wrong is a huge boost both to me and to them.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and went through a year's worth of major, painful, disfiguring but, perhaps, ultimately life saving surgery. My emotional wounds took much longer to heal than the physical ones and I was shocked at how the experience affected my body image, confidence and feelings of worthiness as a woman. I realised that if I felt this way about myself having been through breast cancer treatment, that there were undoubtedly other ladies feeling the same and I set about finding a way to help these ladies at a time when they are feeling most vulnerable, such as I was.
A few brave ladies I’d met on breast cancer support networks agreed to step in front of my camera to see if I could help transform the way they saw themselves and these ladies you can see in my breast cancer portrait gallery. The images we create together are not designed to ‘celebrate the scars’ but more to suggest that our scars do not define us; that through the power of sensitive portraiture we can see beyond our them and use the experience as part of the healing process. I was thrilled to have been awarded the 'Inspirational Woman' award at the 2013 Women Inspiring Women Awards for my breast cancer work and I really try to live up to everything the award stands for by making a real difference for these ladies.
I now regularly photograph breast cancer ladies at various stages of their treatment, free of charge, to help them ‘get back to being me’, albeit a new version. They come from far & wide and each has a heartbreaking experience of how this disease has robbed them of their femininity, desirability and confidence. If you are one of these ladies and could do with a boost to your self-esteem (who doesn't?!) then please please get in touch, I'd love to help you on your road to emotional recovery from this horrid disease.
One of my breast cancer ladies, Sam, writes a lovely blog called Sams Spaces to encourage, support and inform those coming to the end of their treatment. She wrote a wonderful review about her experience with me, which is a great insight to what the whole concept is about and how it changed the way she feels about herself. I'd highly recommend a read: