Warning: Some of the images below may be considered disturbing to some readers (NSFW)

Almost everywhere you look during the month of October, you’ll see pink ribbons, pink teddy bears and other pink items on display to raise awareness for a disease that will find an estimated 300,000 new victims this year alone, according to the American Cancer Society.

Seven years ago, the grim reality of breast cancer hit close to home when a good friend of New York fashion photographer, David Jay, was diagnosed with this disease. Within two weeks, she underwent a double mastectomy. She was 29 years old. David had been photographing his friend, Paulina, since she had been 17. Seeing his friend after surgery, David struggled to understand and process what happened the only way he knew how – by picking up his camera. Thus, The SCAR Project was born.


With a desire to raise awareness beyond the pretty pink ribbon, David’s images demonstrate a stark contrast of the commercialized view of breast cancer straight to the raw, honest and painful beauty of the women behind this ravaging disease.

“The SCAR Project’s deeper message is one of humanity. The acceptance of all that life offers us . . . all the beauty . . . all the suffering too . . . with grace, courage, empathy, and understanding. Ultimately, The SCAR Project is not about breast cancer, but the human condition itself; the images intend to transcend the disease, illuminating the scars that unite us all.”

David has photographed over 100 women, ages 18-35 for this project which subsequently were shown in numerous exhibits, in a book titled, “The SCAR Project: Breast Cancer Is Not A Pink Ribbon,” and has won an Emmy for an internationally acclaimed documentary called, “Baring It All.”

Though The SCAR Project is photographically complete and continues to be shown at exhibitions around the country, David continues to shoot the women as their diseases progress, until they pass away. That final image is included to the exhibition.

David is currently traveling the country working on his new project, The Unknown Soldier, a series of portraits of young, wounded soldiers from the wars in Afganistan and Iran.

CREDITS : Photographs by David Jay/The SCAR Project have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.