Week 13 – Henna Tattoo Shoot
Photographed Week 9 9/13/2013
This shoot was done on one of my “bad” weeks, meaning just a few days after chemo. I was exhausted during this shoot, but happy to be able to work with Owen and Wendy. We planned this shoot during a bad week because I wanted to henna tattoo my head for Portland Fashion Week and that fell on that weekend. The goal was to attend with part of the Kimberella team and my friend Tod Foulk, who was one of the founders. I only had enough energy for one afternoon show, but it was worth it. It was a curious two weeks while the head tattoo lasted. As Wendy said it would, the henna was a gateway to allow others to ask about my bald head and cancer. I had one woman run out after me in the bank and ask to look at it and take a photo. The Race for the Cure in Portland was the same weekend and many women in the Survivors tent where I sat having breakfast (and crying with overwhelm) talked with me, saying they wish they had done something like that.
Photographer Owen Carey has been in my life for 26 years, since I was 18 years old and a young model trying to pay for college. He was the first photographer I worked with in Portland when I moved here and the impression he made was huge. I remember his kindness and genuine interest. I never imagined I would someday also be a photographer. Nearly 10 years after that I was in the middle of a new endeavor as a professional musician and needed a photo for the cover of my 2nd CD. I again went to Owen for imagery. When, at 38 I went out on my own as a photographer, yet another life adventure, and contacted Owen, who has guided me as a mentor and friend since then. We now work in the same studio building and see one another often.
Email from Owen:
Just wanted to say thank you for putting your willingness, and your faith and trust in me, in all your strength, and in all your vulnerability.
Your quiet perseverance, beauty, intention and vision, looking cancer right in the eye, is inspirational. Thank you for showing me that elegance and spirit that is so Kimberli – so Y.O.U. It was good to get to “play” with you for an hour and make new discoveries together. To me, making art is all about “play” – and it is a process of discovery, so thank you for allowing me that gift.
I am honored to assist in this project – and would be happy to do it again as a means of supporting you throughout this process, as a healing, curative, spiritual, human endeavor, and to assist you in holding a mirror to the process of mastectomy and rebuilding and whatever comes next in the recovery process. May you live to be 100 and survive this cancer with many years of fulfillment yet to come. ( that’s not a death wish – “wishing you’d die at 100!” — hell I’ll be gone by then!) LOL.
So thank you.
It amazes and saddens me that someone with such beautiful lovely breasts, (and yes, they are from the pix I just saw on your blog) be accosted by this insidious disease… or anyone for that matter- female or male – lovely – or not so pretty. I have known so many who also have suffered in this way – yet this is the first opportunity that I have been given to engage in such an artful and supportive process. Most women tend to hide with cancer… and although our culture lends such importance to breasts, beauty – as you know, resides elsewhere, in the realm of the spirit. Superficial beauty is just that – superficial; so if you ever need a friend, a comrade photographer and co-conspirator in this fight with cancer, I am just upstairs and down the hall – and at your beck and call. who knows you might reconstruct the breasts to fill your clothes in an accustomed way – or keep the chest flat and have dragon tattoos made at the site of your surgery.
Beauty, as they say is in the eye of the beholder – and I might add in the spirit as well – and that eye and spirit are yours to behold a new and cancer free spirit called Kimberli. Let me be a photographic partner in the process.
(Joni made some great images of you – I’m jealous.)
Sending you more hugs – and a whole lot of L.O.V.E.!