In 2003, Bob and Linda Carey had struck out from Arizona to New York for a new, more adventurous chapter in their lives. Linda had breast cancer. Bob had a tutu. The two had stopped on a whim in the middle of nowhere to take a portrait of Bob wearing only the tulle, backed by a desolate and beautiful landscape. Bob didn’t know it then, but he had just set in motion an artistic series that would change the lives of breast cancer patients, receive worldwide acclaim, and inspire the highly anticipated book coming out this month.
For Bob, a photographer, creating portraits of himself in the tutu helped ease the pain of his wife’s cancer diagnosis. So he did another, and another, and another—in an abandoned parking lot, at the edge of the Grand Canyon, on the beach—and then he realized that he wasn’t the only one who enjoyed them. He showed his portraits to patients at the cancer clinic and found that they “filled them with joy.”
As his wife battled with her illness, Bob dreamed of using the portraits to raise funding and awareness for breast cancer research. Today, at last, he and Linda are self-publishing Ballerina, a collection of tutu portraits and the hilarious stories that go with them. The photographs spot Bob everywhere from Times Square to Italy, doing whatever it takes to capture the perfect portrait and having fun all the while. 100 percent of the book’s proceeds will benefit breast cancer organizations.
If laughter and a good attitude really are the best medicines, then this inspiring book is a treatment in and of itself.
Has an art project ever pulled you through a tough time?
Wanda Bertram studies English and International Political Economy at the University of Washington, and blogs about filmand fiction when she’s not blogging about fashion. She looks to Tilda Swinton for all things hair and Carine Roitfeld for almost everything else.