Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't Look Away.

I found out yesterday that a third childhood friend of mine lost a parent to cancer. I'm 27, my friends are in their late twenties and to be losing parents this young, and at such an unforgiving rate is alarming to say the least. Please, please inform your parents and beloved friends and family of cancer screening procedures and encourage them to utilize good medical care to keep aware of the states of their bodies. It's frightening to go searching for something so daunting, but in the case of cancer, what you don't know will kill you. Here is a link to screening centers and events nation wide.

Although rates of cancer seem to be rising, so do rates of survival. Nearly ten years ago fashion photographer and SHOWstudio founder, Nick Knight, completed a ground breaking project for Dazed and Confused magazine that highlighted the altered, but resilient beauty of breast cancer survivors.

Using female survivors who had had single or double mastectomies, or reconstructive surgery in the face of their battles with the disease, Knight presented a photo essay where the women's physical form was both central and secondary. If you didn't know that these women were survivors, the essay may have looked like any other high fashion editorial shoot of sexy, strong images. Key in to the fact that the women are cancer survivors and the scene takes on entirely new, profound meanings. You see beauty through strength. You see defiance of norms. You see character, divinity, and the preciousness of life. It's an astounding work that deserves another look, and the folks at Dazed Digital are highlighting it on their website as an important selection from their archives.

Knight worked closely with the charity Breakthrough to produce the shoot. If you are able to, please volunteer or donate to their important cause. To view the entire project, including a related video piece as well as interviews with Knight and the participating models, follow this link to the SHOWstudio.com archives.

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