BANGOR, Maine — For three Bangor-area photographers, cancer is no longer a dirty word. Instead, they’ve tacked the pretty, and not so pretty, sides of cancer head on with what they call The Bare Truth Project.
Spearheaded by Bangor-area photographer Tammy Michaels and backed by fellow photographers Theresa Cucinotti and Tricia Owens Kenney, the project would involve 10 breast cancer survivors, photographed in black-and-white baring their scars.
On October 27, the rooms of Sweetest Thing Weddings filled with survivors, co-survivors, and other public citizens to view the work of the Bare Truth Project.
Jeni Lloyd, a breast cancer survivor and spokeswoman for Champion the Cure Challenge and the Lafayette Family Cancer Care Cancer, was on board immediately when she was approached by Tammy Michaels.
“I saw value in the intrinsic concept because I felt it would be useful in telling the truth about breast cancer,” Lloyd said. “No one discusses how it’s OK to make different choices. For instance, some women opt out of reconstructive surgery. If it was as simple as having a mastectomy, women would all lop off their breasts.”
Instead she found baring her scars therapeutic.
For the photographers, the experience has been life -hanging. What started with an idea and a call for 10 models has taken on a new life: 45 models, 60 portraits, and more than $2,500 raised (and counting). And it has become personal as well. Personal based on the stories they’ve heard from their models as well as in their own personal lives.
“Looking around the room tonight I can hear all your stories that you have shared with me,” Michaels said in her speech on Thursday. “I am so proud of what we could do to help raise money for the Champion the Cure Challenge and share the Reality behind the Pink Ribbon. I hope when you leave this evening you take this experience with you and remember those that have survived, those that you may have lost and those that are still fighting for a cure.”
At noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, the exhibit will continue as The Reality Behind the Pink Ribbon Exhibit and again will be hosted at Sweetest Thing Weddings at 48 Columbia St. in Bangor. An entry fee of $10 will be assessed at the door.
All the proceeds go to Champion the Cure Challenge and stay local for cancer research.
For more information, visit www.championthecurechallenge.org.