Obviously shooting in-studio portraits at a time of social distancing is out of the question. Especially when you consider that most of my subjects are immune compromised.
When I’m not working on the Grace Project, I am working at my commercial photography business. For over 20 years I have specialized in boudoir/pin-up and personal and power portraits of mostly women. It is through my business that I first photographed my first breast cancer survivor and that was the inspiration for the Grace Project. (but I digress).
Recently (before the Corona virus wreaked havoc) I was hired by my friend Melissa, who is a breast cancer survivor who has recently explanted due to pain and toxic implants that are being recalled. You can see the photographs we created together on my commercial website HERE. These photographs are not officially part of The Grace Project, but as you can see I’m working on creating some ‘sexy’ portraits of breast cancer survivors. Many women affected by breast cancer don’t often view themselves as ‘sexy’, they see a drop in libido… and many of them are afraid to be naked in front of their partners. But sexuality lives in our brains… not our bodies and I believe that women of all shapes and sizes have the ability to access this energy despite mastectomy surgery.
I started contemplating the potential of the internet, and whether or not I could take photographs during a time of quarantine.. I got in touch with my friend Jersi, a stage iv breast cancer survivor and advocate to see if she was up for an experiment. We set up an appointment for video chat. I had her prepare an outfit, and be ready for our appointment at 10am sharp with her hair and make-up already done.
It was not an easy feat. I had to both instruct her where to put the lap top… how to angle it… angles and space were limited… however we had fun… we laughed a lot… and shared a human moment in time that removed the physical and the social distance that is gravely weighing on all of us right now. Together we created connection.
The resolution of the final images is far from great… and the images are small but I think you will agree that we made some magic happen and that you don’t need breasts to make you beautiful, sexy, or feminine.
~ Charise. <3