A few weeks ago, I received an email from my friend Ashlie. Her husband had an extremely intense surgery to remove cancer from his body that left him with a significant scar. She said he was already panicking about showing his scar this summer at the beach and the pool.
Ashlie asked, "What about artistic, off-the-wall ways to celebrate scars in photos, changing the victim-mentality to something amazing?"
Wow... Ashlie's idea floored me.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. For the past few weeks, I've been developing this idea and bouncing it off my cohorts, including world-renowned photographer, Jeremy Cowart, but a name of the project evaded me. One of my cohorts, Katherine, suggested that I start shooting the project and let the name come to me.
I wanted to get shooting, but it felt ingenuine to ask others to be vulnerable and share stories of their scars if I didn't do it first. I decided to be Participant #1, and that decision altered and enriched the course of the project.
I began photographing the 8 inch scar that begins at my heel and runs up the back of my calf from multiple corrective surgeries for severe club foot. Immediately, I was struck by how twisted and grotesque my foot looked in the photographs.
I thought, "My God. My foot is so disfigured."
That's when the name of the project came to me:
"The The RE>Figured Project: Turn your scars, wounds, & hurts into celebrations of survival "
I could change the broken soundtrack in my head that my foot is "disfigured" and choose to "RE>Figure" how I saw myself (check out the blog post!).
I decided that the project would not focus solely on scars. The RE>Figured Project is for anyone who has ever felt "less than": less than...perfect , less than...beautiful, less than...complete, less than...worthwhile.