christine benjamin i Of The Beholder

click on an image to enlarge

Artist's Statement

I began photographing women with breast cancer in 2005.  Having difficulty moving on from my own experience, I made self portraits.  There was something very healing in doing this and I convinced a couple of women I knew to let me photograph them.  Soon, I was traveling around the country photographing women in all stages of the disease.  Somehow this had a profound effect on many of the women. One woman said she never felt more beautiful.  Another said she was finally able to accept her scarred body. Another found courage she thought she never had.

Breast cancer awareness has become very commonplace over the years.  Everyone knows that pink is the color of breast cancer.  We are more aware than ever.  What are we aware of exactly?  Hopefully we are aware of the importance of early detection, screening and risk factors.  What we are not aware of is what women go through when we have this disease. Every woman’s story is unique. Lumpectomy to bilateral mastectomy is often just the first chapter.  Chemotherapy, radiation, infertility, recurrence and death are commonplace. Conversely, so is viable reconstructive surgery, NED (no evidence of disease), pregnancy and living long lives. 

My hope when you view these portraits is that you get a sense of what it might feel like to have breast cancer. The fear, resignation, hope, strength.  All of it.

© 2021 by Christine Benjamin.