Keeping Abreast Portrait Exhibition: Femininity Comes From Within

I thought that it would be timely to write an update regarding “Project KAPE” (Keeping Abreast Portrait Exhibition), now that it has almost been 2 years in the making… The original set of images was exhibited at Norwich’s Undercroft in the city centre for 10 days in November 2013.

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Femininity Comes from Within at The Undercroft, Norwich, November 2013

The exhibition was very well-received, with wonderful comments from visitors who found the images and the accompanying dialogue by the each of the ladies’ enlightening and inspiring. The true essence of femininity, strength and courage in adversity shone through each woman’s unique story in her image and her words…

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Pictured (Me – right) with Victoria White (Left) National Development and Fundraising Manager for Keeping Abreast and Elaine Sassoon (Centre) Patron of Keeping Abreast and Surgeon at NNUH

And so I wondered what about if we managed to invite more women to be involved? Would it be possible to undertake 50 portraits and give the stories of 50 women…And how powerful would that be to give a message to those who are newly-diagnosed, awaiting surgery, contemplating surgery, supporting a loved-one, faced with options and decisions, not knowing their options, or simply in need of inspiration.

Working with regional support groups from Keeping Abreast, more ladies volunteered to take part and now the collection of images represents women from across the UK.

I have now photographed 41 beautiful, lovely, sharing, caring, courageous women, each one happy to give themselves to the project to help and inspire others. I am so privileged that each woman has let me see her strength and vulnerability through my camera. And I am always amazed at the generosity of heart of each lady that I meet.

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Over half of the models (including some from the Bristol and South West Regional Group) attended a photo call, outside The Library Restaurant in Norwich with local MP, Chloe Smith.

I am expecting to have photographed 50 ladies by the end of the Spring and so plans are now underway to reserve exhibition space. In conjunction with Keeping Abreast applications are already underway to exhibit nationally. I hope to confirm very soon when and where these will take place.

If you can offer exhibition space please get in touch either via the Keeping Abreast website or my website.

Original blog from November 2013 on my website can be seen here

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Starstruck and humbled

Yesterday I was very lucky to be amongst a wonderful group of ladies and at the same time meet a Broadway superstar! I have to admit I was nervous… I am very used to being able to focus on others and “hide” behind a rather chunky camera to capture images that give visual dialogue and representation of people, events and emotions. DU9A9929aCropL

Yesterday had a slightly different angle to it as I was asked to represent the collection of images that I have been working on for the past 18 months. The project, “Femininity comes from Within” began with a single request from a breast cancer patient to photograph her showing her mastectomy scar. Working with local charity, Keeping Abreast, we conceived that a collection of images would portray a deep insight into the concept of femininity and give immense impact. The collection continues to grow with more than 20 women volunteering as models, all willing to help others to understand that the beauty of women shines through adversity. 7 of these women were at an audience with Broadway star, Lorna Luft, (daughter of Judy Garland) at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. Lorna had requested a meeting with a local breast cancer charity as she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2012. So why was I starstruck? My Mum always followed musicals and movies, with many a PictureGoer Film Annual in our house – Judy Garland was a superstar and to meet her daughter actually made me very nervous! DU9A9967aCropLDU9A9912a2L

Lorna was just lovely, she spent over 2 hours with the small group of ladies, who she referred to as “sisters”. They talked about the different experiences of diagnosis and treatment and she encouraged us all to demand more from the health service to help early diagnosis. She was also full of compliments for the image collection and praised the bravery of the women for taking part… The Broadway connection continues as I am extremely lucky to be part of a small team travelling at the end of November from Norwich to New York to exhibit part of the collection at a global microsurgery conference.

…And humbled, because I feel so privileged to be allowed by each model to capture their beauty and to tell their story in a visual way. When women get together great things happen, our femininity is definitely within, but strength and determination puts us out there! DU9A9976a2