Sep 25, 2011

The SCAR Project As Seen Through An Art Dealer's Eyes

[Today's guest post is from Litsa Spanos of Art Design Consultants. Litsa is the gracious hostess of The SCAR Project Cincinnati Exhibit and also a SCAR Project Cincy Planning Committee Member. This article is cross-posted on her blog at]


Guest Post by Litsa Spanos

As you all know my blog is all about beautiful art and beautiful spaces. This week I‟ll be talking about and showing you a different kind of beauty.

I am honored to be part of an incredible, impactful and meaningful photo exhibit coming to Cincinnati called The SCAR Project. On September 29 through October 2, ADC will open its gallery doors to everyone in our city, providing them with the opportunity to experience something truly special and memorable. Yes, it‟s shocking at first but I promise you will never forget these powerful images.

*photographs at the beginning of this video are unrelated to The SCAR Project

The SCAR Project is an international, Pulitzer nominated exhibit of a series of portraits of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay. The SCAR Project girls range from age 17 to 35 (an often over looked group of young woman with breast cancer).
Local breast cancer survivor Vanessa Tiemeier and her husband Billy took a Greyhound bus from Cincinnati to New York City to be photographed.
Vanessa and Billy Tiemeier in NYC during the opening
At the New York City exhibition premiere, Vanessa met breast cancer survivor Joules Evans who, in the letter below, describes their—what seemed destined to be— introduction:

"I met Vanessa Tiemeier at the International Premiere of The SCAR Project in New York City last October. She was standing by her portrait, talking about her experience when I heard her say she was from Cincinnati.

I wasn’t expecting to meet another Cincinnati survivor in the Big Apple anymore than I was expecting to be so moved by the exhibit. I was already pretty breast cancer aware, having been diagnosed on August 20th 2008. My chemo sister Shelly told me about The SCAR Project over chemo one day. She had actually contacted David Jay and asked to have her portrait taken, but we are both ever so slightly over age demographic of SCAR Project participants. But anyway, honestly I went for the road trip with her, since all our time together up to that point had been spent in the chemo lounge.

But seeing these brave and beautiful YOUNG women, like Vanessa standing beside their portraits baring scars like mine caught me off guard. Something about the way they looked back at me from their portraits. This is what surviving breast cancer looks like. This is what is underneath the pink ribbons. It’s hard to look at but this is what breast cancer does to a woman. 
But these pictures are about much more than what breast cancer does to a woman. They are about what it doesn't do. There is still feminine beauty and grace after breast cancer. These young women are postcards from HOPE. And my hope is that the baring of their scars will become traction for a cure.

This is why I think this is an important exhibit and moment for our city." -Joules Evans

These amazing women—inspired and motivated—knew they needed to get this influential exhibit to their hometown. After receiving a whole-hearted "yes" from the artist to bringing his exhibit to Cincinnati, they began spreading the word and developed The SCAR Project Committee to organize and market the event.

The SCAR Project Committee: Joules Evans (committee head), Me, Vanessa Tiemeier (subject/model), David Jay (photographer), Pam Irvin, Shelly Emrick (not shown)
Style Network‟s “Baring It All” Documentary Viewing Party at ADC Andrea Bashore, Heather Printz Salazar, Vanessa Tiemeier, Kelly Reichert, David Jay, Tracie Weidner Metzger, Banita Bailey, Joules Evans, Diana Walker Featherstone
"The SCAR Project is not 'idealized.' There is something painfully beautiful in humanity. A beauty that transcends glossy, mass-produced images."

Fashion photographer, David Jay, began The SCAR Project after a young and close friend of his was diagnosed with breast cancer. The SCAR Project campaign is mainly to raise awareness about the nearly 10,000 women under the age of 40 who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. Although the campaign's main mission is awareness, it is also about "hope, reflection, and healing" for young women affected by this disease.

"For these young women, having their portrait taken seems to represent their personal victory over this terrifying disease. It helps them reclaim their femininity, their sexuality, identity and power after having been robbed of such an important part of it. Through these simple pictures, they seem to gain some acceptance of what has happened to them and the strength to move forward with pride."

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