Breast cancer sucks.  We have made it cute with pink ribbons and slogans about tatas, but at the end of the day there is nothing cute or pretty about breast cancer.  Its chemo making your hair fall out, radiation burns on your skin, surgeries that alter your appearance and a feeling that your body has betrayed you.  We tend to think of the physical impacts of cancer and often overlook the emotional ones, but for cancer survivors, the emotional impacts of their fight tend to affect them years after they have “won” the fight against cancer.

Victoria is not the typical person you imagine getting breast cancer.  With a diagnosis in her early thirties, she was the vision of health and youthful spirit.  With a double mastectomy, then reconstructive surgery her body was forever altered and her vision of herself along with it.  Part of the journey to being whole again means learning to love that new body and that is where I came in.

Victoria contacted me to photograph her victory against cancer, but I knew I could make it more.  I always strive to make my boudoir and glamour clients see the beauty they have within them that the rest of the world clearly sees, but the meaning of this session really upped the ante.  I knew God put me in Victoria’s life to help heal her heart and accept the beauty she naturally exudes.  We had so much fun in the session and we played around with a lot of different ideas showing her as a fighter and showing that cancer has absolutely not beaten her body or her spirit.

When Victoria saw her images for the first time it was honestly one of the most rewarding moments of my photography career.  She sat on the couch at the studio and shed some tears, finally exclaiming that she was in love with absolutely every single image.  I have to be honest, no woman can look at 35 images of herself and LOVE every one of them– we all nit pick and let our insecurities push us down so that we MIGHT be able to love a few.  Not Victoria.  She finally got to see that cancer may have altered her body, but she is stronger for it and definitely beautiful- inside and out.

I fought back the tears during the order session with Victoria and at the very end asked if I could share a few of her images with the world.  Without missing a beat, she declared that I could share ALL of them because she is proud of them and the world should hear her story.  I hope these images not only help heal Victoria but also inspire other women who are cancer survivors or who just struggle with their self image to see what mighty, beautiful and glorious creatures they really are.  Thank you Victoria for letting me be a part of your journey and healing, it has been a creative experience that I will treasure always.

Tallahassee glamour and boudoir photography by Long’s Photography