October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there are pink ribbons and sparkly pink trinkets in stores. But on the streets of New York, black-and-white ads for The SCAR Project present a more raw, honest and authentic image. (NSFW)
The posters feature a woman with a surgical scar where her right breast used to be. The copy reads, "breast cancer is not a pink ribbon." And SCAR stands for 'Surviving Cancer. Absolute Reality."
According to the website, The SCAR Project is a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay.
Jay was inspired to act when a dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. Like the subjects themselves, Jay's stark, bold portraits challenge traditional perceptions of the disease and capture the raw beauty, strength and character of so many extraordinary young women. Each portrait represents a singular, stripped-down vision of the life-changing journey that unites them all.
In Jay's heartbreaking photographs — of women between the ages 18 and 35 — his subjects are all topless. Seeing scarred and reconstructed mammary glands is not just shocking because of the way breasts are fetishized in our society, but because it speaks to how much we hide, gloss over and tidy up disease. Breasts are one of the defining physical attributes for identifying a woman. Breast cancer eats away at flesh meant to nourish. Surgery is a brutal procedure from which to recover and heal. But cute, clean, pink ribbons have come to symbolize all that. It's pretty sad, when you think about it, that we don't see images like Jay's more often; reconfigured nipples and wounded breast tissue make quite an impact. More images and information here.
The Scar Project [Official Site]