a new beginning | surviving breast cancer | bay area photographer

New Year’s Day is such a powerful time of the year; a time for reflection and change, as we attempt to evolve ourselves into happier and healthier beings. I went for a run on New Year’s Eve and as I reflected on my own life I intuitively knew that I wanted this portrait session to be my first post of 2010. I took these photos back in November with this brave and beautiful woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so moved and inspired by her spirit and strength that I asked her if she would agree to share these intimate images and her story, in her own words, for this blog. I am so honored that she said yes, and so thankful that she somehow read my mind and sent me these words (without any further encouragement) on the first day of 2010.

‘I came to Carlie for something a little out of her usual scope of work. I had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and was facing the removal of my right breast in the following week, fertility challenges, chemotherapy, information overload and complex uncertainties. In the midst of all the chaos that had flooded my life in the first couple weeks after my diagnosis, I realized that I had a new tenderness toward my body. As time went on, I wanted to capture myself at this point in time, and throughout the journey as well. However, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was I wanted to capture: physicality? sexuality? spirit? strength? happiness? normality? I was afraid if I tried myself, I might miss it, whatever it was. I’ve admired Carlie’s work for some time now, her ability to capture the essence of a moment so beautifully. I wrote to her, explained myself as best I could and before I knew it, we’d scheduled a session. She was so honest and engaged and I am so grateful for her talents. I face this new year with as much courage as I do optimism: this is a year of serious work for me with the pay-off down the road of being cancer-free. I look at these pictures when I need to remember who I am. I look at them to draw strength from myself when I can’t seem to find it in my own skin. It’s there, captured in these images, by one amazing Carlie Statsky. Thank you, Carlie. Happy New Year, everybody.’


  1. Amanda says:

    How absolutely incredible, it made me tear up. What gorgeous pictures, what a beautiful woman and what a courageous story.

  2. Marjorie says:


    This is an absolutely wonderful posting. Your photos are beautiful and powerful. And much much gratitude to this woman for sharing this very intimate and significant time in her life. My prayers out to this woman as she heals in the coming months.

  3. Garretot says:

    Everything dynamic and very positively! 🙂

  4. TheBigDog says:

    Hello everybody! I do not know where to begin but hope this site will be useful for me.
    I will be glad to get any help at the start.
    Thanks and good luck everyone! 😉

  5. […] the brave and beautiful Jen as she was just beginning her battle with breast cancer, (click here to see the first post.) Well, I couldn’t be happier to announce that Jen has made it through […]

  6. Jennie says:

    These photos of Jen are GORGEOUS! A wonderfully strong and amazing woman and I’m proud to call her my best friend. I think you captured her light perfectly!

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