How do you expect to feel if you have to battle breast cancer? Terrified and angry? I know my breasts are not all that defines me as a woman, but I find them very feminine and I love having them. Susan Bullows came to me for a portrait shoot last week, she wanted to celebrate surviving breast cancer. She wanted her make-up doing by Artur Biernat, she wanted to celebrate being 60 years old. I thought she was rather magnificent! Susan has the wisdom that comes with age and when I lamented that so few mature women want a portrait, she went one further and said, “Now we have done some for my family to show them I am well and happy, I want to do some for me.”
So Susan asked for some topless work, and I love doing nudes! Wow, when a woman feels comfortable in her skin and wishes to celebrate her real body. A body with scars, wrinkles and the stretch marks that come with having two sons. This is what we should be sharing with our daughters – that a woman does not need to be sexualised and that she may love and accept her body. That the body tells a story and its narrative is vital.
Susan met a fabulous “ray of light” in Siobhan O’Ceallaigh, who is a plastic surgeon who reconstructed Susan’s breast using tissue from her own body rather than silicone. 95% of surgeons are men. It took another woman to help Susan to feel whole again. Looking at this image I am struck by how it perhaps took another woman to see the need for the gift of reconstructive surgery. You can find Siobhan at Wythenshawe Hospital in South Manchester and the Spire Hospital in Manchester too.
Be a wise woman like Susan, celebrate the real you!
The Getty Images Gallery Exhibited 2017.
The Lloyds of London Exhibited 2017.
“Intimate Portraits” Published in America by Joyce Tenneson.
British Photography Awards 2017, Short List.
Magnum Photography Awards 2017 “Highly Rated.”
Be part of “Best Emerging Talent” (LensCulture), you just don’t know whose wall you might end up on!