We can’t stop thinking about The Scar Project, a series of photographs by fashion photographer David Jay of women under 40 who have survived breast cancer; they openly reveal the dramatic scars left by surgery. The photos are completely arresting: very beautiful and at times difficult to look at.
But it’s that difficulty that makes them important. They challenge the usual view: of what’s beautiful and what’s private and what’s sexy.
The photographs are perhaps particularly striking because the women are so young and as a culture, we tend to ascribe tremendous value to the “perfect” young female body. They ask us to examine our own impossible notions of perfection and the shame that often accompanies them. It’s that perfectionism and shame that so often keeps us from taking risks, doing any number of things, or just feeling OK in the morning.
The Scar Project pushes back against the old idea of ‘perfect’ to reveal a new one that is full of courage, honesty and acceptance. Most importantly, it embraces the scars that often map our lives.