Monday, September 27, 2010
It is pink October and it is amazing to me how many of us are affected by breast cancer! We ALL know someone who has had to struggle with this challenging disease... (and if you don't, it may be that that a brave woman that you know, has just never talked about it).
Last year I started doing a photography project called "Grace". It is a photo-based project revealing the courage, beauty and 'grace' with which women who have survived breast cancer embody.
The "Grace" project will be an empowering tool for women with breast cancer, and their partners and families. The project will bring the general public face to face with the beauty and grace of the women who have faced breast cancer and through the braveness which they display by standing before the camera, increase both awareness for breast health and acceptance of the post-Mastectomy body.
I decided to photograph this project after the amazing experience of having a couple of women who had experienced mastectomy come to my studio for a boudoir shoot. One of them a friend of mine Sasha.
When I photographed these women, I sensed that they had a transformative experience in revealing their bodies to my camera. But in truth I also who had a transformative experience while photographing them.
Touched by their bravery, moved by the scarred beauty of their bodies and awed by the metamorphasis that these women had experienced, I knew in my heart that this was a path of photographing women that I needed to further explore. Thus began my project Grace.
In terms of this project, I have some exciting news. "Grace" was recently accepted for Fiscal Sponsorship by New York Foundation for the Arts. It is a huge honor and I'm really excited about the potential for this project.
What fiscal sponsorship means is that "Grace" is now under the umbrella of a not for profit sponsor. This means that I will be able to accept tax deductible donations for the project by individuals such as yourselves. It also means that I can apply for foundation grants, corporate gifts and other means of support.
If you would like to support this project, to see it grow, and allow opportunity for this work to reach its audience, please consider making a financial contribution by CLICKING HERE. The project title for the form is "Grace", and the artist to be filled in on the form is "Charise Isis".
Your donation however small will be greatly appreciated!
Needless to say, In honor of Pink October, and to celebrate this new development for the Grace project, The beautiful Goddess of the month I have chosen for October is my amazing friend Sasha.
My original collaboration and experience with Charise was very meaningful and intense for both of us. It was a last minute rush job, as I had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer October 19th 2006, and I wanted to be photographed before my surgery and mastectomy. I knew of Isis's work through artist friends and gave her a call, and as it happened we did the work on the Wednesday, before my surgery the following Monday.
It was so important to me in that our experience served as such a release, and a time to honor and accept what was happening. It had been a very extreme whirlwind of days and I was in shock as well, but together we were able to give the moment a relaxed, but ritualized tone. It was calming, and afterwards I was deeply grateful. When I saw them, well, the photos were beautiful.
We decided on meeting again after the operation, which was some weeks later, when I was able to get around and begin to heal. This was another session, in which the artistic effort between Charise and I , two people, two women, were able to create healing and even fun, despite the fact that the scars exposed the grace and brutality of the moment. When I look at the images from before the changes and then at the later group, there is a joy and beauty remaining in her photography.
-Sasha Chermayeff 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Most women I know are often self-depreciating, not only in the sense that they never qualify themselves to be ‘good enough’ but they never take the time just for sheer pleasure in themselves.
Juggling life is an act that most women live every day. The ball we often drop, is the one that represents taking time for our selves. I know after the birth of my son it was all I could do to inhale an evening meal.
I remember before becoming a Mother, hours of sitting in front of a mirror with a curling iron, carefully choosing a lipstick color to go with an outfit I was putting together. This all became shades of a previous existence that more or less disappeared from my life after I had a child. Instead, my life became filled with brightly colored plastic paraphernalia, monosyllabic words spoken in modulating tones and reduced sleep. Meanwhile, the fabulous and glamorous me sort of faded into the background.
As my son got older I began to focus on career. Joining the ranks of ‘career’ girls., I then became a Woman who within the scope of professionalism took the time to present well, keeping myself groomed and neat. And yet, still not with the studied sensuality of my younger days.
This time of year is extremely hectic. Summer is over and getting back into the regular work routine along with all of the back to school hoopla can be tough.
That is why I’ve chosen beautiful Amy as this month’s Goddess of the month. Not only does she work a full time job, but she is also a single mother with twin boys. Now there is a juggling act!!
A juggling act it definitely is. Every day is a struggle especially with school starting up again just to get everyone out the door and get to work on time let a lone do hair, makeup and be properly dressed for work. Every mother knows that scenario and for the single mother it is just a little more complicated. Getting everyone where they need to be and then picking them up, making dinner, getting homework done and getting everyone to bed after working an 8 hour day makes finding any time for your self almost impossible. Most nights by the time I put the twins to bed, I am too tired to even take off my makeup. However, I have found that the precious “me” time that is so hard to fit into the day is a necessary release to keep you sane. Isis’s pin-up classes are “me” time for me. Since my very first class I have been hooked. They are addicting or should I say the feeling you get from class is addicting and I try to attend one every six weeks or so. It is just a great escape from the every day stresses and responsibilities. It is a fun girlie afternoon with a group of other women playing dress up and finding their inner Goddesses. The whole experience from hearing the background on pin-up to getting your hair and makeup done and putting together an outfit that makes you feel sexy and glamorous is amazing and makes you realize that the person you thought you lost when you had children is still inside you she just needs to be allowed the time to be let out once and a while. And when you get in front of the camera you just lose yourself and become that Goddess which is the most liberating feeling. Of course I have to go back to reality eventually but when things get stressful and crazy and I feel that I don’t even have the time to comb my hair and must look a mess, I look at one of my pictures from pin-up class to remind me that I am Goddess even if I don’t always have the time to look like one on the outside. Pin-up classes give me the confidence to believe that just because I am a Mom doesn’t mean I can’t feel sexy and glamorous. Thank you Isis! Can’t wait for my next class!!!