The scars project is just one facet of the campaign I’ve begun. It started with the “Mom Project” then the “Freckle Project”, and now the “Scars Project”. Ultimately my inspiration came from photographing woman over the last few years. Almost everyone of them, told me what they hated about themselves. It was disheartening because I didn’t see any of what they mentioned. I saw their smile, their eyes, their faces light up, their heart and soul through my lens. I felt I needed to do something to show them what I saw which led me to create my first project.
I created the Scars Project for many reasons. I wanted to continue with raising awareness that we are all different and what we look like on the outside should not reflect who we are on the inside. We shouldn’t be judged on our looks, our weight, our size, our tattoos, or our scars. I wanted to inspire people to not judge people based on their appearance and on their visible scars. I wanted to change and redefine beauty, for someone to see the beauty within not necessarily what is specific to someone’s physical appearance. We all have scars, some you can see and some you cannot but when a person is teased for their physical scars, scars they already hate, that can bring someone down even more so. Words are powerful and can lift someone up or bring them down and I wanted people to realize what they say, can impact someone so why not impact someone in a positive way.
Mental Illness, these two words when said out loud often have the power to make people feel very uncomfortable. Whats interesting is statistically everyone knows of someone who is living with or has lived with some form of mental illness in their lifetime. Whether it be depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe anxiety or any of the many other mental illness people struggle with. So why are we as a society so afraid to talk about something that touches all os us in some way or another. The answer is simple, stigma.
We prefer to sweep this topic under the rug because it makes us feel uncomfortable and awkward. What we don’t realize is that simply by just not talking about it, we are doing a severe injustice to those who live and die every day because of it. You can’t see it therefore we treat it differently than any other illness. We lack sympathy that we normally give someone with cancer. We are afraid of Mental Illness because we don’t talk about it. Let’s start talking about it, lets start learning about it and lets start helping to raise awareness regarding Mental Illness. It deserves our compassion and our care because no one deserves to be left in the dark with their demons when we as a society can help find light and offer hope.
Last spring, I boarded a West-Jet plane to San Diego and was taken back by the MOST amazing smile welcoming me on board. The flight attendant’s smile was so infectious, I found myself smiling as I walked to my seat. To make a long story short, I ended up chatting with this lovely woman and found out her story. She had breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy. With the power of Facebook, we became fast friends and I asked her if she would model for my “Scars Project” and she said yes!
This brave, strong, courageous and beautiful woman bared her heart and soul to me during the photoshoot. I will never forget being part of something so pure and beautiful.
That day Michelle Schaefer and I decided we needed to do something on a larger scale. We agreed we wanted to share her experience she had during the photoshoot and create this beautiful event for women who have gone through Breast Cancer. Collectively and passionately, we poured our hearts and souls into this event and our ultimate hope is to redefine the way people see beauty.
I want these photos to represent love for yourself and for your SCARS regardless of what that means for each and everyone of you.
The scars these incredible and brave women are showing you, represent the journey they have been forced by Cancer to follow.
Breast Cancer a disease that doesn’t discriminate but will steal from your body anything and everything that gets in its way. It steals your womanhood, it steals your dreams, your hopes, and it can steal your heart.
Breast Cancer can leave you feeling hopeless but these ladies are here to tell you, there is hope and there is a community out there that will hold you until your tears stop flowing, a community that will, on your darkest days, give you so much love, comfort and advice, you will believe in hope again and you will believe it’s going to be ok!
These warriors in these photos are here representing strength, bravery and a newfound appreciation for every single sunrise and sunset and they want you to know you will get through your battles too. You will get through this!!!
SCARS ARE BEAUTIFUL because they represent what a person has gone through and what they have become. Live your life, everyday like it’s a gift, and you won’t ever regret it.
THROUGH MINE, THROUGH HERS, THROUGH THEIRS.......
Photographing mom's for the past few years, has made me realize, we are all very hard on ourselves. In today's society, there is so much pressure to be 'more' and at the end of the day, we look in the mirror and discover we have failed at it, in one way or another.
We feel the pressure of the thigh gap craze, to be a size zero and to start getting rid of the baby weight, even though it took 10 months to put it all on. We feel the pressure to not age, to dress a certain way, behave a certain way, to be successful and always accomplishing more. Don't forget, while doing all of that, ensuring our family has a healthy, gluten and vegan free diet! We are balancing work and life, driving our children to dance, soccer, hockey, baseball, piano, and hoping we don't look like a hot mess even though we feel like it.
All of this has made me want to use my photography as a way to help mom's see themselves through the eyes of their children, therefore I have created a project called 'Through mine, through yours, through theirs'.
As I photographer, I don't see your flaws or what you don't like about yourself until you tell me. I see your smile, I see your eyes, I see the crinkle on your nose when you laugh, I see you!
My hope in this journey, is to inspire mom's to be kind to themselves and see the good! We are all unique in our own way, celebrate you, so your children will do the same for themselves.
For the Mom Project, I asked for 10 moms to volunteer and bring their children. I would ask mom’s what they didn’t like about themselves and take their photo. I then brought their children into the studio with mom and I photographed them together. Then I asked mom’s to wait in another room and I asked the children to tell me what they loved about their mom. I wanted the Mom’s to see what I saw but more importantly, I wanted them to see themselves through their children’s eyes. Each day I would post a photo of the mom with details of what they didn’t like about themselves, later that day, I would then post the children’s photo and write about what they loved about the mom. So much love for this project, came pouring out from everyone. Family, friends and husbands. Words of love and appreciation. Words I don’t think would’ve been said out loud if it wasn’t for the moments of vulnerability that was shown.