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Fashion photographer fights breast cancer with his camera

Graphic Warning: This post contains images which some viewers may find disturbing.

Life.com reports: SCAR Project - Breast Cancer Exposed

What started out as an effort aimed at raising awareness about young women with breast cancer has turned into something more beautiful, more provocative and more revealing than fashion photographer David Jay could have imagined. By taking portraits of his subjects and their scarred chests, Jay unlocked a visual world few have seen where grace, guts, pain, and femininity all cross paths to expose a deeply moving side of humanity. LIFE.com spoke to Jay about the culmination of his work -- a book called The SCAR Project -- and about the raw, hard-hitting images that reveal another side of this national epidemic. Editor's note: The pictures on Life.com contain nudity.

 

David Jay / LIFE.com

Jill, 28 years old
"Breast cancer changed me, but it did not make me a better or worse person. I will never know who I might have been had I not gone through this experience. All I know is that the person that I have become has amazing strength and courage mixed with heartfelt sadness and fear."

David Jay / LIFE.com

Cary, 33 years old
"I participated in The SCAR Project because I believe that these powerful images can reach people in a way that words cannot. If one young woman does a self-exam after looking at my photo or one doctor sends a patient for a "just to be sure" scan, then exposing myself for art becomes a life-saving proposition," she says in the book.

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