So Victoria has Crohns Disease.
When you meet Victoria its more like she has Crohns tagging along to just keep life a bit more interesting. An unwanted challenge that she has accepted and is smashing its arse. Giving it faint hope….but laughing in it’s face. She laughs a lot. Six feet tall….if I was Crohns I’d just give up now. She has your number….
“I’ve been sick since I was six. I used to get sick all the time….It took them until I was seventeen to work out what it was.”
“I’ve had 20cm of my bowel removed. I have scars on my stomach.” She showed me the scars.
“I’ve got a creepy cat, Rodney.” Unrelated yet enthusiastically received information.
I have to agree….Rodney is like the cat from Pet Cemetery…..Church. I respect that. He is cranky, and possibly undead.
So why do you want to shoot with me?
She laughs ( again) and she is honest;
“Well I can be ok with myself as much as I want…but I will always feel like I’m hiding myself. This will put everything out there. Then I have no choice but to accept it….”
By the end of this shoot, you don’t even notice the scars. Just the smile. We aren’t just a sum of our scars. Victoria is proof of that.
This is what Victoria wrote for me;
“There is a very fixed idea of beauty when you’re a young woman, and when you suffer from a chronic disease like Crohn’s, that is essentially unattractive, an opportunity like this is a special one.
I have experienced severe illness over the past few years, so this is not only a new beginning in terms of my health, but of how I fit into a world that recognises beauty in such a limited way.
I have learnt to accept the hallmarks of this illness, but I also need to embrace them, and to not only broaden my idea of what’s beautiful, but hopefully other people’s as well.
This is not what beauty is, in a traditional sense, but it should be.”
I hope the photos bring you out of the shadows Victoria….where you belong….