Hundreds of Delaware women, and men, have been posing topless — to make a point about why bodies are still beautiful even after mastectomies.
According to a recent story by Yusra Asif in the Delaware News Journal, the shoots have been "aimed to capture the courage, beauty and grace of the breast-cancer patients."
Their theme, the story says, "was inspired by Hellenistic goddess sculptures such as Venus de Milo, a broken relic that has survived the trauma of history and yet is celebrated for its beauty."
Asif's article quotes Isis as declaring that "the people I photograph trust me with their greatest vulnerability, the scars that have been written all over their body, a map of their survival…I get to witness such profound beauty and transformation."
The story also says the project aims at creating awareness of the cancer itself, "especially among underrepresented communities, and the importance of self-examination to detect the disease at an early stage."
One of the men who participated in the shoot, Stephen Sala, a member of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, told Asif that he'd "do anything to help men understand and get rid of the stigma that it's a woman's disease. We have a slogan that men have breasts, too."
The piece explains that while men "are less likely to get breast cancer, they tend to get diagnosed with more aggressive types and their mortality rate is higher."
Isis' aim is to ultimately take 800 portraits — "the approximate number of new breast-cancer cases in the Unites States every day." She's already done 450. She plans to exhibit them fully once she's reach her goal. For now, she's exhibiting a handful at galleries, museums, hospitals and cancer centers throughout the country.
More information on mastectomy is available in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.
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