The narrative around women who have lived with cancer can tend to veer towards inspiration porn — but a new photo exhibition seeks to tell a fuller story.
Over the course of three days, photographer and artist Tasya van Ree photographed 12 women who have survived cancer, capturing what she calls "the reality of their experience, and how they have inextricably become one with it, one with the lessons, the understandings, the gifts."
The photographs were commissioned by Living Beauty, an organization that seeks to support women throughout their journey with cancer.
Van Ree tells Refinery29 that she first became acquainted with the project through Amie Satchu, the founder of Living Beauty, who happens to be a "dear friend."
"Being able to work so closely with these women who have endured extraordinary amounts of physical and emotional pain, has undeniably opened my heart up in so many different ways, and has left me with so much inspiration and love," van Ree says.
The photo exhibit, titled "The Gift," will be shown at the Eric Buterbaugh Galley in Los Angeles. In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Living Beauty is hosting a special showing of the photos on Thursday in an effort to educate, uplift and empower women in the fight against cancer.
In the end, van Ree says, she hopes anyone looking at the photos will take away a "deep sense of resonance" from them.
Read on for a selection of the photos from the exhibit.