The ‘Tutu Project’: a man, a pink tutu and a long fight against cancer

Initially born as artistic project, the work of the photographer Bob Carey from New York soon became a surprising awareness campaign and fund-raising breast cancer, disease who is afflicting his wife.

Everything started nine years ago, in 2003, when Bob Carey, a professional photographer, donate a photo of himself wearing a pink tutu to the Ballet Arizona. Shortly after, with his wife Linda he moved to the East Coast of the United States, New York, and decides to withdraw himself just the opposite how he had always intended to do. So he began to take photos of him wearing only a pink tutu, pink like the official color of this battle.

Approximately six months after he moved to New York, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surprised and totally unprepared for a news like that, they both sank into utter confusion and despair. Bob decided to continue his mad project ‘tutu’, but developing its meaning and transforming it in a way to give relief to his wife, drawing a smile on her face and at the same time exorcising the fear and worry. Started a continuos fight with regular chemotherapy sessions every three weeks, always accompanied by Bob who periodically brings new shots to show to other cancer patients. His pictures’ sweetness and joy are like a breath of fresh air and bring a smile and a brief moment of comfort during treatment.

[©Copyright Bob Carey Photography. All Rights Reserved.]

“During these past nine years, I’ve been in awe of her power, her beauty, and her spirit. – Bob Carey writes on his website talking about the illness of his wife – Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.” So, the photos turned out to be therapy for the couple, bringing out a smile on the face of Linda in the moment of maximum vulnerability. Fighting a deadly disease, they laugh to death.

What began as just a private project, is now developed into an charity initiative to organizations dedicated to breast cancer research. Currently, Carey is raising funds to publish a book next fall about The Tutu Project entitled ‘Ballerina’, who tells the project, collects the bizarre Carey’s pictures with the humorous stories about the man in tutu too, also recounts the stories of women who fight the disease like Linda. The net proceeds from the book will go to organizations devoted to helping women with breast cancer including and the Beth Israel Department of Integrative Medicine Fund.

[©Copyright Bob Carey Photography. All Rights Reserved.]

There are various ways to contribute to the project: “For $650, you will receive a special edition 20-by-24-inch signed tutu print,- Bob writes on his web site – valued at $1,200—along with a first edition of the book, Ballerina. You will also receive recognition on my Facebook fan page and in all other project materials, including mention in Ballerina.” “Other ways you can contribute to this book project are by purchasing a T-shirt or pre-purchasing a signed copy of Ballerina, which will ship once it is published. Of course, you can also contribute any cash amount you choose.” The idea of ​​Bob and his wife Linda is to raise $75.000.

A portion of the proceeds will also serve to support the daily expenses of women and their families: “I feel this may prove to be one of the most important means of donating, – Linda says – There are so many women and their families in need of practical daily support like transportation, distribution of meals, and help with costs such as medication not covered by insurance. These practical concerns are draining, and make me want to help them lessen their burden so they can focus on their fight.”

[©Copyright Bob Carey Photography. All Rights Reserved.]

Breast cancer, in fact, is a disease who affects entire families, not only changing the women’s lifes but of their partners and husbands too. Recently a greater number of men have realized that breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease. When asked what advice he has for other husbands going through similar situations, Carey said, “The first would be, try very hard to be understanding of what their spouse is going through. It’s like everything in life, if you haven’t experienced it, you probably can’t begin to imagine what’s it like. Be patient. Be loving. Let them rant if they need to, know that you can’t always make things better and listening may be all that’s needed. Take care of yourself, find a support group, talk to other men that are experiencing this, whatever it is that you need for backup support. You can’t help your wife if your not taking care of yourself.”

Bob loves to tell anecdotes often occurred during the extravagant shots: “Finding the Bedford Avenue stop empty still baffles me,” says Carey “It was 7 p.m. on a Friday night! And to have two trains pass at the exact moment I wanted to shoot? Stars were aligned.” And that time he decided to make a photo aboard a car ferry and he was confronted by six crew members, a police officer and a giant German shepherd: “I asked for permission to shoot but apparently I didn’t talk to the right person,” says Carey. “They discovered that I was harmless.”

[©Copyright Bob Carey Photography. All Rights Reserved.]

Using a tripod, Carey has already taken over 110 pictures of themselves in suggestive contexts ranging from the desert in New Mexico to the ferry to Staten Island, from Grand Canyon to the bridge of San Francisco, passing through Times Square in New York, from Australia to Italy. What the viewer sees, in fact, is a robust middle-aged man, dressed only with a pink tutu, balancing on a trampoline, hanging from a tree, strolling in a cow pasture, to capture the wind on a car ferry’s bridge, lying alone in a bed. What looks like a frivolous and funny work, it’s a social campaign to combat breast cancer, but it especially is an intense and disarming declaration of love of a man to his wife and his unique way to address the situation with his own personal note who blends humor, art and beauty.

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  1. I love this project and I love these photos. This is an amazing story. I hope you don’t mind that I tweet it – thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. His creativity and strength , as well as his support for his wife makes this an incredible way to do battle.

  3. Dear Cassie, I’m very happy you like my post, but I can’t confirm or not what you tweeted.
    I sent a request for your twitter account, if you approve it I can read it 🙂
    see you

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  6. great post

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