Posing against tumor, the shocking photos of a woman after chemotherapy
“If you give up and you get depressed the disease may have the upper hand”. And then here comes photography as a therapy in the fight against women’s cancers, for rediscovery of beauty and personal fascination during treatment. The courage to Tiziana Primozich, who is struggling with this disease, her positive attitude to life and her fortitude have accompanied her in this project: being a model for a day to the photographer Carlo Bellimcampi, showing that “nothing is changed, your soul remains the same”.
The Sign, an exhibition conceived and curated by actress Rose Pineta, has showed through photographs, drawings and testimonies of artists and philosophers, the beauty of the women who are fighting against women’s cancers, returning fascination to a body too often transformed by the disease. A project to learn more about the topic, but also to make prevention. A path made of suggestions for sick women and not of what one should do before, during and after the disease.
How came the idea of a photographic exhibition to reveal such an important and sensitive issue?
“The idea came to the actress Rosa Pianeta. We started asking what this exhibition meant for us. We wanted it to be a way to send a positive message about the disease, about the discomfort that it brings with it. If you start smiling, you are already ahead. So we wanted to do an exibition with Rosa as an artistic director, where she asked those invited, many well-known in the world of entertainment, to say a sentence about happiness. A way to express their closeness to the person who is suffering. So all sentences ended with ‘I am with you’ ”.
So it was a way to fight the disease together? To join forces?
“Absolutely yes, it means ‘we will join forces to fight your disease as the disease of others’. I lived it as an act of love from a friend who has made available all the people she knew and that could be useful even with a thought. Of course, to do all this and to raise awareness on the topic, I had to strip through the camera of Charles Bellimcampi, who has accepted this difficult challenge. He initially was concerned about the idea of photographing a sick person, because as he himself admitted, he had never done it before. But then we met, talked and he, who is used to capture people’s soul with the objective, found no difficulties in seeing my strong and vital soul. Carlo has photographed the disease not as a negative moment, but as positive moment, where a person who struggles and who continues her life is always behind. I am also living this on this way, except in the moments when I do the chemotherapy and I feel sick for a few days, but then I continue to do things as before”.
The exhibition, in addition to raising awareness on women’s cancer, also wants to inform about it, right?
“Yes, because we have to make people understand that these diseases affect one in eight women. Breast cancer is widespread. Fortunately the world of science and research has made great strides. Up to 10 or 12 years ago, the drug that I use for the type of cancer that I have did not exist. I was struck by a fairly aggressive cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma corresponding to receptor her2. Years ago, unfortunately, many women with this disease have died almost immediately. Prevention is very important. From 25 years on, we should do one ultrasound a year, from 40 on, instead, a mammogram”.
About the exhibition, the message was also to take with pride one’s own scars?
“It is absolutely so, because from the moment you put yourself in the game that way, and you have a good photographer that can capture your beautiful sides, it makes you feel unique and strong. Compared to our first exhibition, made in early March in Rome at the Dioscuri Theater, the idea was to make a first step on an information campaign that will last for the whole year of women’s diseases, about prevention and about how to react. It is important to stay together, to make yourself acceptable to others despite the disease and to continue your life without crying on it. It is essential to accompany these women and not to leave them alone. It is not enough to have a good oncologist with a good therapy. You also need a bit of warmth around, you need people who make you feel that nothing has changed”.
Do you think about repeating the exibition?
“Absolutely yes, our idea is to make it into a traveling exhibition, to carry it around Italy, where there is the need to talk about it. I realized that there are not many women who show up in this way. I myself have had a period of indecision on whether or not to bring the wig, because in the space of a week, with chemotherapy, you lose your hair. In the end I chose not to put it because I felt ridiculous, but not all women react this way because it is very difficult to show no hair and no eyebrows”.
Tiziana, your courage and your strength are amazing and teaching us all. But now, how are you?
“I am this way temperamentally, I always have been. And I realize that not all react the same way. But now, after 8 cycles of chemotherapy and after the surgery in March, I make a lighter therapy and my hair is growing back”.