This book of elegant photographs of women following treatment for breast cancer is a Gold and Silver Award winner in the 2010 Nautilus Book Awards and a Gold Award winner in the 2010 Living Now Book Awards. Art Myers' photos reveal scars and missing breasts in an artistic and sensitive manner. The portraits are accompanied by vignettes written by each woman conveying hope, courage, confidence, and even humor while relating a brief story of her breast cancer experience. Some of the women's husbands, family members, or significant others also share their stories and are photographed with their loved ones. Original poetry by Maria Marrocchino is paired with some of the photos and the book has a poignant foreword by Dr. David Spiegel, author of the book Living Beyond Limits. The photographs include women in the United States as well as France with the French women's narratives presented in both French and English. Two women well-known in the breast cancer support communities, Dani Grady in the US and Annick Parent in Paris, have written introductions.
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I am still haunted by the memory of the phone call from my mother telling me in a trembling voice that my sister, Joanne, still in her thirties, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a prolonged, heroic battle to survive, she was to eventually die from that disease. Two decades later, I anxiously faced a surgeon in an antiseptic hospital waiting room as he uttered the dreaded words, “Your wife has breast cancer.”
In my career as a physician I have many times had the sobering responsibility of delivering the news of a cancer diagnosis to patients and their loved ones. However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming effect that breast cancer in two close family members would have on my life. I began to see the disease in a new light. I learned that anxiety about survival, initially the most important worry, can give way later to a new unease both in the survivor and her partner. The woman may begin to cover her nakedness, fearing a spouse’s averted glance, or turn away from the reflection in a mirror that unremittingly reminds her of fears of diminished femininity. A partner withdraws a hand to avoid touching a scar which once was a graceful curve. Lovers draw apart, an absent breast now a barrier to their intimacy. A fiancé quietly turns his back and walks out of a cancer survivor’s life. These fears about body image, femininity, and sexuality are understandable in a society that is bombarded by media messages of centerfolds, push-up bras and silicone implants—messages that erroneously imply that a perfect breast is the requisite icon of the feminine essence.
With the support of my wife Stephanie, now a 23-year survivor and one of the women in the book, I undertook this photographic project hoping to show that a woman’s fundamental nature is not dependent on anything external; the loss of part or all of her breast is not a threat to her being.
The short narratives, written by the women and their partners, are included as an important part of the message.
As well as being a fine art photographer, Art Myers is a physician specializing in preventive medicine and public health. He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and received his post-doctoral degree in public health from the Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University. Although largely self-taught in photography he has studied in workshops with Annie Leibovitz, Arnold Newman, Larry Fink, Sally Mann, Joyce Tenneson and other well-known artists. His photographs have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums in the United States and Europe.
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Book Description Photographic Gallery of Fine Art Books, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1889169013
Book Description Photographic Gallery of Fine Art Books, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 102 pages. 8.25x8.25x0.24 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1889169013
Book Description Photographic Gallery of Fine A, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111889169013