Breast cancer doesn’t only happen to the afflicted person, it affects everyone who loves and knows that person.
The disease not only attacks the body itself, but can leave lasting effects on the woman’s mind, self-image and soul.
Professional photographer Audrey Snow knows how to capture their beauty.
Snow gives breast cancer patients and survivors an opportunity to experience a boudoir photographic shoot to boost their morale and self-empower them against the disease.
Snow, 32, a professional photographer for six years, started her own company two years ago.
She and her fiancee do weddings and boudoir photography, but Snow has been offering free sittings to cancer patients to help them feel pretty. The sessions are done in the patient’s home to put them at ease.
"We spend quite a bit of time on the shoot and do not rush the process,’’ Snow said. "I coach the women and of course it is different for each person. Some are easier than others, but I walk them through it to try to exceed their expectations.
"The shoot is natural with just me and them. I will be forever grateful to these women for letting me into their lives and being shining examples of how to be both strong and beautiful," Snow said.
The sessions are something Snow wanted to do to give back to the community, and to help women be themselves.
She wanted to bring out the beautiful person within every woman, whether they were in remission, in pain or without hair.
Each of her "Feel Pretty" subjects is a strong female and embodies everything a woman should be. One even wanted her husband in the shoot, because he helped her through her treatments.
"It is pretty emotional to hear their stories and it is amazing that they go through so much. All the women astound me with their positive life attitudes and sense of self. I am honored to know them," Snow said.
Snow is especially touched by the photo of Claudia Frostl, of Carrollton, Ga., that is on her blog.
"She had such an upbeat attitude," Snow said. "In fact, she had a better attitude than most people who are not afflicted. There she was without hair, and she was alluring. Most of the women I have photographed are in remission or are nearly on their way to remission."
Frostl, who has a sister in Cape Coral, met Snow when she walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in 2008.
Two other women who also met Snow during Walking for Strides praised her work.
"Audrey gave me grace and dignity throughout the photo shoot,’’ said Lydia Christie, of Fort Myers. "I never knew I could look so beautiful again. My husband’s hand is in the last two shots she took. I thank you Audrey, with love and admiration."
Gloria Campbell, of Cape Coral, was diagnosed in 2006.
"I was very fortunate to have an incredible network of family and friends who rallied to my side and provided comfort, love and humor,’’ Campbell said. "My almost-husband, Bill, reassured me that I was just as beautiful as ever. He washed my hair, changed my dressings and loved me up.
"Having cancer helped me realize that what is truly important to me are the many small things that make up my daily life: Spending time with loving ones, doing chores, many things that I had taken for granted and even consider to be drudgery. Cancer did change my body, and I wanted to feel it was mine once again. The images Audrey captured remind me how lucky I am to be alive and to be a woman," Campbell said.
To contact Audrey Snow: (239) 334-7669 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Sheila Mesulam at www.naplesnews.com/staff/sheila_mesulam