What is the world’s fascination with breasts? Heck if I know, but they are fascinating and beautiful. Mesmerizing even. And we can’t stop looking. On April 27, 2018 – I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a multi-artist art show, entitled Breasts: A Fantastic Exploration of Art and Identity. And I had the perfect idea. To photograph 100 people* and their breasts: to celebrate diversity and body positivity.
My muse came in the form of a dear friend who was diagnosed with the big C last year. A true artist herself, she asked me to follow her journey with my camera. She wanted to inspire and educate via her story. We had several photo shoots and it’s a work in progress. She is now in her second round of radiation. And I’m going to continue shooting her as long as she wants me to. She’s a fighter, that one. And I a bearing witness to her battle. It’s a riveting story and the end has yet to be written. Each shoot with her started with a moment of vulnerability. As she showed me her breasts to be photographed, I could only stop and stare and revel in the beauty and sadness of what’s before me. I knew she would fight and win over cancer. She just had to. I watch with bated breath, but I’m also drowning in a sense of helplessness. I need to do. more.
The breast. The bosom. The boob. And my Breast Project was born.
So, I set on my quest to photograph 100 people. I made the call. And they came. In all forms, shapes and sizes. I welcomed them all. I photographed regular boobs, manboobs, queerboobs. Post-masectomy, pre-masectomy. Breast enlargements and breast reductions. I even photographed one man who had breast cancer and had a lump removed. Pierced breasts and milk-making breasts. Shy breasts and bold breasts. All the breasts.
The hardest part for most was disrobing in front of the camera. These people are not models. They were my friends, and neighbors and co-workers. These moments of vulnerability had me hooked. I offered to shoot with top off, y’know…to even the playing field. Only two people took me up on that offer.
Opening yourself to others is perhaps one of the hardest things to do. And this project, and shooting 100 people with nothing between my camera and their skin taught me so lessons. How we are all the same. How we are all different. And how we should celebrate our humanness.
This project fed my soul. I can’t thank it enough.
*in the end, I photographed 108 people in 4 weeks.
**the final artwork, which I can’t post here, is now on display in my home studio. If you’re a gallery owner and would be interested in exhibiting me, feel free to reach out.