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A few weeks ago, we featured a powerful group of photographs of a breast cancer survivor bearing her beautiful body as a means of encouraging women (and men!) around the world; sadly, the woman was criticized for her near-nudity, causing her to lose over 100 Facebook friends. As a culture, we are surrounded by images of naked, overtly sexualized women, and yet honest portrayals of brave women battling this illness and others are considered to be profane or wrong. It’s about time that changed.
For her project “Grace,” the photographer Charise Isis draws her inspiration from ancient Hellenistic works of art, creating portraits of survivors of mastectomies with the majesty and beauty of the ancient Greek goddesses. Like sculptural relics that have survived the ages, the women are seen with the utmost reverence; the bodily marks of their strife become signs of their timeless courage.
Within the safe space of Isis’s careful lens, the women bloom like the flowers that surround them, letting the sun color and warm their resilient bodies. In the place of the Hellenistic marble and stone, they are draped with luscious fabric, full of movement and vitality. One woman stands before a seashell fountain like Botticelli’s Venus. Warrior-like, a survivor holds a plaster cast of breasts to her chest like a shield; others lean on one another for support. Yet another rests in a cocoon of grey fabric, as if ready to emerge and spread her wings. Like living sculptures, their eyes to the sky, these women rise victorious and radiant.
Thanks to Beautiful/Decay
Images via Beautiful/Decay