Duane Reed In the fall of 1999, I was approached by a friend and colleague who had been diagnosed with breast cancer that summer and had had her left breast removed. She was completely recovered from the cancer and the mastectomy, but was going to have the remaining right breast removed in December over the Christmas break. Though there was no evidence of cancer in the right breast, because her mother had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and both her grandmother and great-grandmother along with a number of aunts on her mother?s side had died of the disease, her doctor recommended she have the other breast removed. She asked me if I would be interested in photographing her. She had seen other nude work I had done, and thought because breast cancer is so common, and so many women have had mastectomies, it would be good to show that they are still women, still beautiful, still alive. She wanted to be photographed before she had the other breast removed also to see if she should go through with breast reconstruction. I agreed to photograph her before her second surgery and did so. She was beautiful, and the photographs convinced her not to have the reconstruction done. After the first photographs, She had her other breast removed and I have continued to photograph her for the past several years.
Nude After Mastectomy
Shannon and I hope that truly compelling images of women who have undergone mastectomies could serve to dispel the negative perceptions women have about their bodies and breasts. Furthermore, images of the intrinsic beauty of the body after mastectomy could alleviate the fear and despair of women facing the diagnosis of breast cancer. And finally perhaps these images will foster in both women and men an acceptance and appreciation of the body in all its manifestations.