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project info

In recent years a new tribe, named “the movement”, has emerged, using body art as a symbol of beauty and resilience. Women who have fought and survived breast cancer are reclaiming their bodies and turning their trauma into a symbol of strength with mastectomy tatttoos. These women are also warriors, but their body is their battleground., an abbreviation of Personal Ink, was founded in 2012 as a platform to connect breast cancer survivors with tattoo artists. It presents itself as a “third option”, separate from the complex decision about breast reconstruction.

For many women, losing their breasts feels like losing part of their female identity. This rings true even for women who have chosen reconstruction. They often feel a disconnection from their bodies after surgery, left with scars that are a constant reminder of the trauma they have been through. The tattoos are a way for survivors to reclaim something painful – and make it powerful.

Photographer: Kate Peters 
Art Director: Gem Fletcher
MUA: Susana Mota, Erica Schlegel