New York fashion photographer David Jay is seeking to update the face of breast cancer awareness from frothy pink to strikingly honest pictures of the women scarred by mastectomy surgery. His message: “Breast cancer is not a pink ribbon.”
The Daily Muse intern Erin Greenawald had a chance to interview Jay and ask him how cancer survivors and patients have benefitted from his photography. Jay’s response reflects both the devastation of disease and the power of art:
I get emails from women of all ages, all over the world, who have breast cancer. They frequently say things like, “I haven’t felt like a woman since my surgery,” “I haven’t gotten undressed in front of my husband yet,” “I don’t let my children see me naked,” but that seeing these images has changed their perception of who they are—changed their life. They see the women in the images and think, “Well, if you look beautiful after this, then perhaps I am still beautiful, too.”
The SCAR Project images are brutal and stunning and beautiful. And they present a truer glimpse, as Greenawald says, of “the physical pain, the emotional agony” of cancer and as well as “the beauty, grace, and triumph of the woman who is enduring it.” It’s a glimpse of reality.