You may or may not have noticed that there are some revealing photos attached to this blog post. These are not intended to titillate, but to capture this exact moment in time while my body remains mine, whole.
I read a story somewhere about a woman who had a bilateral mastectomy who longed to remember what her body looked like before surgery. She had no photos of her breasts and she missed them. I was struck by this commentary and wondered what I could do to document the skin, tissue, and shape that I was genetically granted.
I reached out to a friend who also happens to be an incredibly skilled photographer, Katie Gierke, otherwise known as Kathryn Hastings Photography. I approached the topic with caution, as I was iffy about my idea. She instantly affirmed my logic and said, ‘When and where? I would be honored to help document your transformation.’
I told Katie my ideas and concerns. I didn’t want the photos to end up being too boudoir-like in nature. Instead, more documentary and reverent. When it came time to take the photos, I was very, very nervous. As flamboyant as I may come across, I am rather modest with my figure. Dropping my shirt for a camera seemed insane (insert something that made me not exactly sober here). Another wonderful woman and friend, Jenna Dickson, came along as my ‘fluffer’ and away we went on our photographic odyssey of stopping time, if only for that moment.
The majority of these photos will not ever be posted publicly. They are for me. They will evoke emotions ranging from anger to gratitude and everything in between. But I did want to share a handful with you, my darling readers, for one important reason: Our bodies are much more than a physical representation of space and form. They carry our stories. My current narrative is about my breasts. They have nourished each of my children, been trusty accessories and sometimes just plain fun. I will mourn them deeply.
I want other women facing this diagnosis to know that it is not weird to want to capture your breasts on film for posterity. They are yours and they are important. As a doula, I speak often of how magnificent the breast and its capabilities are. Mine have served me well, but rightie has defected for reasons unknown and now she has to go.
Thank you, Katie, for being the kind and talented human that you are and for capturing me as I will never be again.
If you are ever in need of a compassionate, brilliant and, may I say, beautiful photographer, please visit http://www.kathrynhastings.com/