Beyond Mastectomy: Does the Breast Make the Woman?

We were informed of this new book and documentary project by a photographer and journalist from Montreal and wanted to let all young adult woman who had breast cancer and a mastectomy know…maybe this project can interest you…

Here is a little more info on the project from Phil Carpenter leading it:

In October 2006 I did a photo essay feature for The Gazette (Montreal)

called Moving Beyond Mastectomy (October 28, 2006) featuring 6 women who had

mastectomies. It was a set of black and white portraits printed on 3 pages,

of women in their environment with the scars from their surgery visible and

obvious. Because of the positive feedback we received for this story I plan

now to expand this project into a book and short documentary.

The project is two-pronged. One part is to do a book of 100 portraits in

colour, of women from across Canada who have had mastectomies. The idea is

to have one portrait per page with a written first person account about any

aspect of that person’s experience with mastectomy on the facing page.

The second part of the project will be a short documentary on DVD that will

look at the issue through the lives of between 2 to 4 young women in their

20’s and 30’s, by following them before, during and after a mastectomy. It

is to tell the story of how they came to the decision, how it has affected

their lives and how they came to terms with the decision and the experience.

Most of the portraits will show the women in environmental settings and will

be well lit and framed to reveal each person in a flattering aspect. They

may not all be topless but the scars from their mastectomies or

reconstruction will be visible and obvious. The women will be of different

ethic and racial backgrounds and will vary in age.

The purpose of the project is to explore the cultural meaning of the breast

in western society by addressing the question, is a woman less of one

without breasts? Is she a whole woman? It will look at the psychological

trauma of losing the breast, the fear of experiencing that loss and the

discomfort and uncertainty in witnessing it. By showing these women topless

and scarred, but beautiful and confident I will take on popular views about

the role of the breast in our perception of beauty, femininity, sexuality

and womanhood, and hopefully prompt conversation, thought and awareness.

Production of the project will be completed by the end of this year (2010)

and the final project will be ready for publication by October 2011.

If you are interested, please contact:

Phil Carpenter, Photojournalist

The Gazette

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