She is Fearless Breast Cancer Photoshoot

We all have battles that we face in our life. Most of the time we fight them privately. What if that battle was seen by everyone you came across? For the case of these women who faced breast cancer, their reflection became a battle of life and death.

The idea to do a free photoshoot came when I was editing Pam’s testimony. I thought how amazing it would be to host a few women who had or are going through cancer with a shoot. Even though the battle of breast cancer is more than appearance, looks plays a big role in how we feel. I wanted to be able to remind them of how beautiful they are.

I presented the idea to my hair dresser, Roni and good friend make up artist, Veronica they both accepted the project with such excitement. I also invited the youth pastor from my church and one of my best friends to help me host the girls. Everything was coming together, even my lovely senior pastor opened up her home to us for the shoot.

When the women first began to show up, I wasn’t sure what to say. As they opened up and share their journey with breast cancer, the serious tone in the room began to transform into laughter as experiences were being shared. As each woman got her hair and make up done, you could see the their moods changing. When Lisa saw herself with her make-up, she said, “Hello stranger.”

When we walked around the mansion each girl was taken by the beauty of the house, forgetting the house was just the background. It was so much fun to seeing the girls pretending to be models. I kept telling them them they were doing great.

Pam:

Pam told me one of her friends wasn’t feeling good to do photos but she would come to the party. I told Pam that maybe she would like to take a group photo. When Pam told her the idea, she loved it. It was great to see the women supporting each other, giving one another tips. It made the words “breast cancer” less scary.

Paula:

I wish I could see the expression of the women’s faces when they see their photos. I know that their friends and family are not going to see the fancy camera work, the great make up, or the hair but they will see the true beauty of their fearless brave mother, daughter, friend and lover.

Sandy:

Lisa:

Its hard to pick out what made that afternoon special, for me but being in a room with women who went through a life and death situation encouraged me that God helps us through the valley by blessing us with each other.

Behind The Scenes

Thank you to everyone who was involved:

Briana Marie Jimenez – Host / Michelle Villanueva – Host / Monica Briano – Photographer / Veronica Duran Esparza – Hair / Veronica A. Hernandez – Make-Up

Audio: Power of Photography


When I first started to do these creative photoshoots, I would ask young girls who I had seen at church or some of my friend’s daughters to be my models so I could practice portrait photography, children photography, and fashion.
I heard back from the parents of these young girls and the impact the photos had on them. It was like these girls were seeing themselves as beautiful for the first time. Through out their life, they’ve seen printed media and movies stars as gorgeous. But never given the opportunity to really see how gorgeous they are. When I had parents come tell me that, I was encourage that my photography had a life of it’s own. A bigger impact then I knew.
Here I was concerned about getting practice but they were having an experience that made them feel beautiful. They were finally able to see the end results of their smile or their best side. And with that in mind I knew in the future, I wanted to use that power that photography has for the good.
When I was editing Pam Espinosa’s testimony about her battle with Breast Cancer, I was moved when she talked about her appearance impacting how she was feeling inside. She rarely talked about the physical pain she was going through because of the surgery. It was as if the emotional pain of seeing herself in the mirror when she wasn’t at her best was having an impact on her life. It wasn’t until she overcame that, that healing began to happen in her life.
When I heard her story, I imagined..(I like to call them a, “God day dream”), I imagined doing a free photo shoot with make-up, and hair done for women who had been through cancer or who are going through cancer and looking at the reaction on their face, having their true beauty shine for that afternoon. To just forget about whatever they are going through, to come and to enjoy being pretty again.
And so with one text to another text, I began to gather the creative troops; my friend Roni who does my hair and another friend Vero who does make-up and hair. And I asked them if they would be interested in donating their time to come along side me and be apart of this project with the girls. I had asked Pam if she could invite some of her friends and some of the girls she knew who were going through a difficult time or had been in the past.
I imagined it in this garden. But the garden is owned by someone who is very important in the community and in my life. I had been fortunate enough to been at her house a few times. She even offered to let me use the garden whenever I needed to. That was all cool in theory but really asking her I was a bit scared. I figured why not ask, its okay if there is a “no”, there is always another location. And to my surprise and yet not surprise, she said yes I would be able to use her garden for the afternoon.
This Thursday, I am hosting what I am calling, “She is Fearless Photoshoot.” Having an afternoon to take part in these women’s lives, to give them back what is really there: their beauty, their strength, and their courage. I am so excited to be able to host them. To give them an afternoon of just forgetting about all the drama in their life but just to enjoy the shoot. I am excited to see the results.
This weekend look out for a post of the girls, the behind the scenes and their photoshoot. I am going to rent a very expensive lens because they deserve it, everyone deserves a 85mm lens for their face.

Video: A Journey Battling Breast Cancer

One of the last projects I worked on at The Rock was Pam’s story about her battle with Breast Cancer. There would be times when I would watch my cut to review it and be taken by her faith and courage. I was excited when I was told it would be played at the weekend services. That meant 13,000 people would also be encouraged by Pam’s bravery.

(7 Minutes)

Thank you Pam for opening up your journey, I know it will help and encourage so many others.