Sergei Stroitelev

Photographer
  
Am I Not Scared Anymore?
Location: Chisinau
Nationality: Russian
Biography: I am a freelance photographer and visual artist based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia working with National Geographic Russia, VICE UK/USA, De Volkskrant, Takie Dela, Meduza, Novaya Gazeta, others. My photographic practice primarily focuses on the... MORE
Public Story
Am I Not Scared Anymore?
Copyright Sergei Stroitelev 2022
Updated Apr 2022
Topics Cancer, Conceptual, Editorial, Feminism, Fine Art, Health/Healing, Hope, Illness, Journalism, Love, Nude, Photography, Photojournalism, Portrait, Portraiture, Sexuality, Spirituality, Spotlight, Womens Rights
In 2019 my close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time she could not look at herself in the mirror and stop communication with people. I offered her to take some pictures of her and it helped a lot. She did not allow to publish her photo - it was not my aim in that case. But it gave me idea that I could find other women who wanted to publicly share their experience which I considered very important.

About 55 thousand cases of breast cancer are identified in Russia every year - that's a lot. There are stories of thousands of women hidden behind statistics and numbers who fight this disease every day.
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, not only surgery is important, but also the condition after that. The process of accepting a new body is a hard emotional work.
In the project "Am I not scared anymore?" brave women tell their stories and share thoughts about what happened to them. They also pose for a portrait in a way they feel comfortable and in the image which defines their emotional state.
The diagnosis and following post-mastectomy processes transformed their personality - they changed their attitude towards themselves, their femininity, time and priorities. These beautiful girls found the inner strength to struggle with all the fears.
The project which consists of heroines' portraits and the visualization of their dreams is a powerful message to all patients who couldn't accept themselves after mastectomy. Moreover it is a message to the society at large all over the world. Naked woman's body with scars is taboo especially in Russia and mastectomy is considered something shameful, ugly. "If you have been operated don't show your body to anyone": people say. The present project is to fight with the taboo, beauty cliches and stereotypical perception of a woman's body.


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