We are aware of breast cancer, we see the pink ribbons on products and on cars, we do our self-exams, but unless you’re a person who has been through it or know someone else who has the chances are you probably haven’t seen it in the way photographer David Jay shows it in a book called The SCAR Project: in blunt, beautiful, black and white portraits of its survivors.
Some of the pictures, warns MSNBC, might be disturbing, but then, they also might be—well, are—inspiring, humbling and important. Life magazine ran 20 of Jay’s photos from the SCAR Project, which began when he photographed his girlfriend’s twin sister. She had a mastectomy after being diagnosed at the age of 29.
Jay told the magazine, “All I see out there is these pink ribbons that really don’t seem to do justice to the actual problem,” and the actual problem is, Life writes, that “According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 230,480 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women this year; approximately 39,520 will die from the disease.”
These elegant photos have a force that even words like that can’t seem to convey. Portrait subject Cary, 33, says in the book, “If one young woman does a self-exam after looking at my photo or one doctor sends a patient for a ‘just to be sure’ scan, then exposing myself for art becomes a life-saving proposition.”
Done. Thank you.