UK-based photographer Sophie Mayanne is photographing people with scars to challenge our understanding of flaws. We caught up with Mayanne to learn more about her project Behind The Scars and her hopes for the future.
Mayanne presents the story of her subjects to show their individual journey with having physical scars. If viewers of the project could learn one thing by it, it undoubtedly should be that the unique, personal and heartfelt stories which exist ‘behind the scars’ are the true beauty of a person, and so, whilst someone may have a scar on their skin, they are by no means flawed.
#behindthescars Lamissah Hello my name is Lamissah La-Shontae and I’m a 10 year old U.K Model and Actress Life isn’t about what colour hair or eyes you have .. or the shape of your body .. height or weight .. nor is it about the colour of your skin. Beauty is inside out.. we are all beautiful.. you just have to look deep inside to see and feel it… the eyes are the window to your soul and tell a thousand stories. I was born with several different marks and birthmarks .. most of which faded or disappeared with age, the Drs said it’s a common thing in mixed babies. Last year a brown mark I had on my arm seemed to get darker, so I was referred to a specialist dermatologist. We were reassured it was nothing to worry about. Things carried on as normal. I was following my dreams – travelling the world, modelling and filming lots of amazing film productions. I was working very hard… until earlier this year when the mark on my arm seemed to grow rapidly bigger and darker – spreading into my armpit and slightly down my arm. My GP saw me at the clinic and rang immediately for me to be seen and referred to a specialist. 2 days later I received a call from the hospital – an emergency appointment had been made for me the following morning to see a specialist dermatologist again. The morning was such a whirlwind- everything happened so fast! We arrived at the hospital and I was seen by the specialist who said he wasn’t happy, and diagnosed it as a form of melanoma which was growing rapidly. It had infact grown another CM from the day the GP had referred me. He wanted me to be seen immediately by a plastic surgeon. Continued in comments @lamissahlashontae
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from? How did your passion for photography begin? Do you have a personal connection to the #behindthescars project?
My name is Sophie Mayanne, I’m 24 years old and I’m based in the Cotswolds, UK. I have always been creative since I was a little girl, so I think a career path in something creative was inevitable. I started taking photos when I finished college – I did a 365 day self-portrait a day challenge, and haven’t put my camera back down since! I don’t personally have a scar, but as a photographer I feel it’s important to give a voice to stories that may not be told otherwise, and to use your camera in a positive way. I have always been interested in what makes us human, different to one another – and why we perceive flaws as flaws.
What is the concept behind #behindthescars?
Behind The Scars shares the stories behind scars of all shapes and sizes, alongside a photograph of the wearer! The series aims to challenge how we perceive scars, physical differences – and how we behave towards our own bodies.
Why did you choose to dedicate a project entirely on scars and their stories?
The project began as a small series – I photographed around 10 people for a magazine, exploring the idea that scars are part of our history, and journey. From there I began to photograph more and more people – and the project was one of those that when you started, you simply had to carry on! As I’ve worked on the project I’ve become more and more enamoured by the people I meet, the photographs I take and the impact a single photograph can have.
I think it has the possibility to change, and with more diversity and REAL life representation in the media, things could start to change!
If you could give one message to any person struggling with the fitting in to the idealised perception of ‘beauty’ because of their scars, what would it be?
Stop comparing yourself to others. Take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, and start being kind to the parts of you you’ve decided you don’t like. Not everyday will be easy, but being kinder to yourself is a good start!