The light which shines in the eye
is really the light of the heart.
the light which fills the heart
is the light of God. ~Rumi
This remarkable beauty is my friend Juliann. She is one of the moms I met through our community of home educators. Truthfully, we’re very new friends. But when I first met her, I knew immediately that there was something uncommonly captivating about her. I knew that the sense of kindness and warmth when I was near her was something I’d like to experience again. Some people just do that to you. Their energy, their magnetism draws you in and only in the most sincere and authentic way. This is what my first real exchange was like. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to see her again and know her better. This was full-on friend-crush territory. I love that feeling. I’ve not had it since Brooke and I first met.
When I explained to Brooke how Juliann fit into my life, I said that before meeting her I felt as though I had already cashed in on the friend lottery win of a lifetime with Brooke who is the Yin to my Yang, the Salt to my Peppa. She is the Garth to my Wayne. We are two halves of a whole. That hasn’t changed. But. With Juliann, she’s like the bonus scratch on a scratch and win ticket where you ACTUALLY win the prize. Winning twice. Yay!
Jump cut to last week. I drop my kiddo off at their house for a play date. We chat about logistics and the plan for the day. Then she pulls me aside. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” It had that ominous tone. I had no idea what to expect. “I was just diagnosed with cancer.”
The few details she knows are disclosed. Breast cancer. Surgery is next week.
Inside I die a little. My mom instincts kick into overdrive. I want to fix it but I know that’s not possible. I want to hug her and protect her and make it all go away. But I can’t.
“Can I photograph you? Before your surgery, after, anytime you want. I don’t know what to do but I do know how to do that.”
Jump cut to yesterday. Hair at 9. Pre-op appointment at 10:45. Makeup at 1. Photos at two. Surprisingly no tears but lots of laughter, hugging and jaw dropping, honest-to-god beauty.
Tomorrow, this woman will have her body altered to spare her health. But clearly, her beauty, femininity, woman-ness is not in the sum of her parts but in the whole of who she is.
This brings me to the next part of my post. *SHINE*.
*SHINE* is a project that has been on my mind for a very long time. Up until the writing of this post, it has remained unnamed but in light of my session with Juliann and in memory of some of the most beautiful women I know who have fought Cancer (Maia Elderfield, Jen Thompson, and countless others) as well as survivors with varied outcomes. You have inspired my project to photograph women fighting cancer. To give them a day of total celebration regardless of life’s sometimes shitty hand of cards.
I am looking for corporate sponsors to partner with me on this project to make these sessions available at no cost to the participants. The cost to sponsor starts at $2800 which will give the participant a day of professional hair and makeup with partnering professionals, a fully styled studio portrait shoot and corresponding products. Partnering sponsors will receive mention on the blog post, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media streams with the sharing of each individual image from the shoot (typically three images, shared individually). Tagging on Facebook will occur when the sponsoring partner has a Facebook page.
For participants to be photographed, they need to be nominated by someone who has obtained their consent to do so. Nominations must include the full name, phone number, email and mailing address of the participant. the participant will agree to have a portion of their story disclosed in blog posts and on other social media streams. There will be ZERO cost to the participant.
At this time, interested partners can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with their full contact information as well as a brief 500 word summary of why they wish to be a sponsoring partner in this project. Not all who apply will be approved. This is a cause that is very dear to me and it is my highest priority for this to be a beautiful, effortless alliance.