Cancer survivors reveal scars for photo project

You can see The Reveal Mission at the Cole / Marr Coffeehouse and Gallery on 8th street in BoDo.

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by Maggie O'Mara

Bio | Email | Follow: @maggiektvb7

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 8 at 10:10 AM

BOISE -- Breast cancer survivors are revealing their scars in portraits, and telling their stories of battling cancer at a downtown Boise coffee house and art gallery.

"The Reveal Mission" is on display for the public at the Cole / Marr Coffeehouse and Gallery in BoDo. The portraits also coincide with October's Breast Cancer Awareness month celebration.

Local photographer and writer Chad Estes decided to take on the project to showcase the power and courage of survivors. These amazing women trusted him not only with their bodies, but with their personal stories too.

"My project is called The Reveal Mission," Estes told KTVB, explaining that on display are eight breast cancer survivors showing their battle scars and sharing their journeys.

"It was a very vulnerable process," Estes said. "It was for me, in asking them their stories, and asking them to shoot these portraits, but even more so for them of course. A lot of emotion went into that."

Survivor Cheryl Imlach wasn't sure she wanted to be that exposed.

"I talked with Chad about it first I said 'No, thanks for asking.'" Imlach recalled.

Then she had a change of heart.

 

"He assured me that this project was [more] about us as survivors than about him as an artist, and however we were comfortable being portrayed, he was comfortable doing," Imlach said. "It's a very empowering process, actually."

In fact, Chad Estes says this was most certainly a collaboration. He worked with each woman on the pictures, and the stories to go with them.

"Instead of feeling like this is my project, I feel like it's our project," Estes said.

Nicole Cassity was just 23 when she was diagnosed.

"Putting my face out there to show how young I am, and what I've gone through, it's important to realize it can happen to anybody," Cassity said.

Nicole is holding her baby boy in her photograph. She gave birth to her little miracle after her diagnosis and mastectomy, showing that life does go on.

The pictures are raw, real, and emotional  -- just like the women in them.

"They are incredibly brave -- they are so courageous," Estes said. "I really hope people will come down, see these portraits, read these stories, meet these brave women."

You can see The Reveal Mission at the Cole / Marr Coffeehouse and Gallery on 8th street in BoDo.

The exhibit will run through Saturday, October 13th. For more information on the portraits and their creator, Chad Estes, visit The Reveal Mission online.

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