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