“In our society, breast cancer is hidden away behind a little pink ribbon. The public needs to be educated.”
David Jay, a professional fashion and beauty photographer of over 15 years, hopes to make a step in that direction with The SCAR Project, a series of large-scale portraits of young women and the scars from their journey with breast cancer.
The series came about five years ago when the disease hit home. Jay’s close friend Paulina was diagnosed when she was 29, and within two weeks she had a mastectomy. She modeled for Jay since the age of 17, so after her surgery Jay knew he couldn’t stop there. “I took her picture because, perhaps as a photographer, taking pictures is my way of confronting, understanding and accepting the things I see,” says Jay.
Coming from the world of fashion, where beauty is actually skin deep, The SCAR Project gave Jay an honest chance to capture the real complexity and beauty of strong, real women. Jay, however, was torn during the making of the series. While wanting to create raw and sincere images, he also wanted to honor his subjects who desired to feel beautiful. “They had already suffered greatly, and although I desperately wanted to serve them, I knew in my heart that compromising the visual integrity of The SCAR Project for the sake of easily digested beauty would serve no one.” The result is an unforgettable, emotional series, powerful in its message and subjects.