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This Photographer Is Asking People To Share Their Scar Stories To Break The Stigma

UK photographer Sophie Mayanne has been working on a project for some time called “Behind the Scars,” in which she photographs people’s scars and shares the stories behind them. Mayanne told Bored Panda that she’s always been drawn to “raw, un re-touched” photos, and that’s what compelled her about the subject—not trying to hide people’s perceived “flaws.”

“When I first started the project, I remember saying that if I could make a difference to at least one person, then I have succeeded. As the project has grown, I just hope it will reach more people, and continue to have a positive impact,” she said.

Mayanne said many people enter a bit shy and unsure, as often folks learn to hide their scars or feel insecure about them. But in front of Mayanne’s camera, they open up.

“The response has been really positive – and seeing yourself through a photographer’s eyes can be a powerful experience,” said Mayanne. “For some people the experience of the photoshoot can be very therapeutic – as they may have not shared their experiences before, and for others they are consolidating their new found love of their scars – and body.”

Some share specifics of what caused their scars, while some simply want to enter the safe space Mayanne has created to share themselves:

Leo explained how he is judged by his scars. He had an accident climbing a fence, but finds people often assume he was in some sort of knife fight:

Felicity had several malignant melanomas at a young age, and sees her scars with gratitude for the fact that they were caught and operated on early:

Jamie’s scars have been with them since almost the beginning:

Bintu has also had hers since she was a baby and doesn’t remember a time without it:

Hannah has scars caused by self-harm and a condition that causes lesions:

Elijah also has scars from self-harm, but he celebrates the one on his chest from top surgery; they represent part of his transition and living in his gender identity:

Rachel thought she’d be talking about a different scar, but ended up discussing the acne scars on her face:

Hebe says the operation to correct her scoliosis made her appreciate her body just for functioning:

Sigita forgets the scar on her face until people ask her about it:

Isabella survived a house fire in 2015:

Adele had a rare form of bone cancer and is still facing more operations:

Mayanne’s work is a moving tribute to the struggles people face both externally and internally, and how it makes them even more beautiful.

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