With remarkable equanimity and awareness of his body’s imperfections. Everywhere from Tuscany to California. Jumping in the air and lying down on the street. In the sun and on the snow. Exuberant and thoughtful. Bob Carney, an American photographer, has been creating pictures of himself wearing pink ballerina tutu - and not much else - in numerous locations for the past few years. In addition to providing amusement for his audience, he helps cancer patients.
The Tutu Project began as not much more than a joke. Photographer Bob Carey had just moved with his wife to the East Coast of the United States and found himself a bit lost in a completely new surrounding. Since photography had always given him a lot of pleasure, it was natural for him to grab the camera in the stressful time of moving. Pictures worked as source of comfort; new locations gave him new inspiration. - I did a series of rather unusual self-portraits, which at that time were simply a good way to express myself anew - says Carey. Why the tutu? For no particular reason, apparently.
Six months after he had first put on the pink skirt to pose for one of his self-portraits, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After several months of chemotherapy it seemed she managed to combat the disease, but the following years brought a recurrence of the symptoms and subsequent therapies. Obviously, her husband supported her during all stages of the disease and treatment, but at the same time, he more and more often photographed himself in his pink outfit. Finally, Bob came across the idea to use the series of pictures to raise money for others suffering from the disease. Pink is after all the color symbolizing the international efforts to raise breast cancer awareness.
- My wife's illness has taught us above all that life is beautiful, even though having to deal with what it brings can be murderously difficult. Sometimes the only thing we can do to make it to another day is to be able to laugh at ourselves - the photographer explains.
Carey’s work is definitely more than just fighting for survival. He is not afraid to ‘go the extra mile’ to give his actions a purpose. The series of images of himself wearing a pink tutu shot in various parts of the world were gathered in an album titled "Ballerina", from which the revenue is earmarked to organizations working with cancer prevention and cancer patients, e.g., cancercare.org. For those who would like to see a new photo of a far-from-slender guy in a pink tutu every morning, there is the fanpage of the project Facebook.
Pictures can also be purchased on the official website: thetutuproject.com - currently, there are over 100 images of Bob available in the website gallery. Also T-shirts are being sold to raise money for cancer stricken women in need. Bob and Linda also work for the sick on a more face-to-face basis, helping to organize drivers for the patients who cannot afford transportation costs to their chemotherapy sessions. They also try and search for funds to pay the costs of alternative therapies that are not typically covered by insurance companies.