Breast cancer photo projects on show at UAB Visual Arts Gallery

“The SCAR Project” and the “The Alabama Project” are two series of large-scale portraits depicting young women’s experiences with breast cancer.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Visual Arts Gallery will present two powerful photographic projects on young women and breast cancer by fashion photographer David Jay Jan. 7-31, 2013.

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“The SCAR Project: Breast Cancer Is Not a Pink Ribbon” is a series of large-scale portraits that puts a raw, unflinching face on young women and breast cancer, while paying tribute to the courage and spirit of the many brave young women fighting the disease. The women, ages 18-35, represent young women living with breast cancer today, an often overlooked group. They journeyed from across the United States and the world to be photographed for “The SCAR Project.” More than 100 women have been photographed. Many traveled to his studio in New York City. If they were too sick to travel, he went to them. 

“The Alabama Project: The Civil Rights of Health Care” is a subset of “The SCAR Project.” In this project, Jay documents a group of young women in Alabama, all in their 20s, battling not only breast cancer but the health-care system itself. The photos depict the women’s experiences struggling with both cancer and a host of associated issues such as health care, finances, unemployment, child care and more. From hospital rooms to living rooms, Jay’s poignant images capture each woman’s faith, perseverance, and beauty. One woman is from Demopolis; the others are all from the Birmingham area.

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The show is produced by UAB Associate Professor of English Cynthia Ryan, Ph.D., and UAB Visual Arts Gallery Interim Director John Thomas Fields, M.F.A. Ryan says Jay contacted her to interview the women of “The Alabama Project” and write about them. Ryan also wrote the text for the show’s catalog book, which will be available at the exhibit.

An opening reception will be held from 5-9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 11, at the gallery, 900 13th St. South. Private gallery tours with Jay will be available. “Baring It All,” the Emmy Award-winning documentary about “The SCAR Project,” will be shown throughout the exhibition. Call the gallery at 205-934-0815.

B-Metro magazine will feature an essay by Ryan and photos by Jay in its January issue, and magazines will be available to guests at the opening reception. For more information on “The SCAR Project,” visit www.thescarproject.org and www.thescarprojectblog.com.

The Alabama Project is co-sponsored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Central Alabama and The Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust.

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