Inspirational Tattoo artist Vinnie Myers boosts the confidence of breast cancer survivors by giving them back what they lost.
Working out of his Finksburg, MD studio, Myers gives women back the bodies they loved before surgery by tattooing special nipple designs on their lovely lady lumps. Myers, who started as a traditional tattoo artist while in the army, currently mixes a wide palette of paint to achieve a 3-D effect design of areolas. Too often, he says, women just get the basic, nothing too fancy but that does the job of bringing back color and livelihood to the area. The women he tattoos say that the process doesn’t hurt much since most sensation is lost during surgery.
In a world where the words “bikini season” are met with judgement, panic, and dread, it can be hard to embrace our bodies as they are. For breast cancer survivors and patients who have undergone single or double mastectomies, the season’s swimsuits can be alienating, as they are most often designed to accommodate twin bosoms.
Hoping to challenge the damaging pressures and judgements placed on the female chest, Ph.D. Elina Halttunen came up with the idea to manufacture bathing suits specifically for women who, like she, have one breast. With the help of design duo Tärähtäneet ämmät (Nutty Tarts), a group of trailblazing Finnish designers, and a dedicated group of models, all of whom had undergone mastectomies, her dream became a reality. Their fashions and images are all part of the project Monokini 2.0.
Taking inspiration from legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton, the team at Nutty Tarts have conceived of glamorous, edgy designs with a distinctive yet cohesive aesthetic. The Monokini 2.0 designs comprise looks that convey both strength and softness. Designer Outi Pyy creates pieces designed with warriors and mermaids in mind. Tyra Therman, who works in luxury underwear, sees the project as a way to redefine femininity and celebrate the courage of women.
Each swimsuit is crafted to be both extravagant and comfortable, unique as the women who choose to wear them. Moved by the project, most of the models pictured here contacted Halttunen and her colleagues, volunteering their bodies to empower all women, regardless of how many breasts we might have. Be sure to check out Monokini 2.0’s crowdfunding initiative, opening May 30th. (via Buzzfeed)
Charise Isis‘ Grace”, a series featuring portraits of women who are breast cancer survivors and have experienced Mastectomy Surgery, is a stunning compilation of images that simultaneously reinvents feminine beauty and inspires courage in women with similar experiences. The project’s process and presentation allows both subject and viewer to access a place of acceptance and beauty.
The photographic project is influenced by Hellenic sculpture (Greek). Its influence serves as a visual reference for the portraits; the draped cloths and the poses the women are photographed in are very indicative of the feminine portrayal in these hellenic sculptures (i.e “Venus De Milo” and “Nike of Samathrace”). According to the artist statement, the reference is also to implicate notions of the survival, adoration, beauty of old ‘artifacts’.
Furthermore, “Grace” is a continuation of the artist’s ongoing exploration of the feminine body and its perception of beauty in contemporary culture.
Five months after being wed in Central Park, while most couples are settling into a new blissful life together, Angelo Merendino and his wife Jennifer received troubling news: Jennifer had breast cancer.
Of this diagnosis, and the journey that ensued, Angelo states, “With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, ‘You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.’”
Angelo took his wife’s request seriously and his photographs, collected here, document not just her struggle with cancer, but also a certain compassionate way of looking– a presence from behind the lens that is not exploiting nor agenda-driven. Each black and white image from Angelo shows the necessity of bearing witness or being a vulnerable presence that is sharing in the difficult and very human experience of love and loss.
Angelo additionally notes, “We loved each other with every bit of our souls. Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.”
For those of us touched by cancer, we can relate to Angelo’s statement — sickness is not just about the disease, it’s about relationships: how we deepen with one another by practicing empathy and how this feeling palpably echoes long after someone passes. Capturing this feeling in art, the way Angelo has, connects not just two people, but many millions more.