Breast Cancer Answers Art Gallery

Art Myers

Winged Victory:
Altered Images. Transcending Breast Cancer

I am still haunted by the memory of the phone call from my mother telling me in a trembling voice that my sister Joanne, still in her thirties, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a prolonged heroic battle to survive she was to eventually die from the disease. Two decades later I anxiously faced a surgeon in an antiseptic hospital waiting room as he uttered the dreaded words, "Your wife has breast cancer."

In my career as a physician I have many times had the sobering responsibility of delivering the news of a cancer diagnosis to patients and their loved ones. However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming effect that breast cancer in two close family members would have on my life. I began to see the disease in a new light. I learned that anxiety about survival, initially the most i mportant worry, can give way later to a new unease both in the survivor and her partner. The woman may begin to cover her nakedness fearing a spouse's averted glance, or turn away from the reflection in a mirror that unremittingly reminds her of fears of diminished femininity. A partner withdraws a hand to avoid touching a scar where once was a graceful curve. Lovers draw apart, an absent breast now a barrier to their intimacy. A fiance quietly turns his back and walks out of a cancer survivor's life. These fears about body image, femininity and sexuality are understandable in a society that is bombarded by media messages of centerfolds, push-up bras and silicone implants--messages that erroneously imply that a perfect breast is the requisite icon of the feminine essence.

With the support of my wife Stephanie, now almost a ten year survivor and one of the women in the book, I undertook this photographic project hoping to show that a woman's fundamental nature is not dependent on anything external; the loss of part or all of her breast is not a threat to her being. The short narratives, written by the women and their partners, are included as an important part of the message. With no substantive editing they come right from the subject's hearts, printed as written. The beautiful poems were created especially for this book.

In my other career, that of fine art photographer, I have been photographing women for a decade and a half, but it wasn't until I started this project that I began to understand the many elements that make a woman's image complete. Now it is my hope that these pictures, poems and personal vignettes will reveal the persistence of a woman's beauty, strength and femaleness in all of its complexity, even after the transforming experience of breast cancer.

Art Myers

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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
Stephanie Dora
& Cy
Joel Tanya Blair &
Susan
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
Connie Andrea &
Richard
Yavonne Yavonne Dani &
Ralph
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
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© 1996, Art Myers
Carol Lisa with
Barbell
Ulla Carol
& Dick
Painted
Ladies

Winged Victory: Altered Images. Transcending Breast Cancer, published by Photographic Gallery of Fine Art Books can be purchased in leading bookstores or by sending $24.95 plus $4.00 handling to PO Box 370175, San Diego, CA 92137, or by calling (619) 221-0340. (California residents add 7.75% sales tax).

Click on the thumbnails to view the works, or follow the arrow below


Art Myers bridges both the medical and art fields as physician and photographer. He is known for the photographic work he has done with nudes in a style that celebrates the grace and design found naturally in the female body. Dr. Myers' work has appeared in many juried and group exhibitions and solo shows across the United States. His work has appeared in several notable publications including the Italian magazine, Progresso Fotografico. As part of the Photropolis International Photographic Exhibition held in San Diego, Dr. Myers won a coveted award as one of the top 100 photographers. A book on this competition has just been published which his includes his work.


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