Imagine his girlfriend was noticeably scarred.

Remember Murad Osmann? He’s the photographer lead around the world by his girlfriend. The two of them were all over the internet a couple weeks ago. His photography and her body flowed relentlessly through all my social media streams.

As is the way of Facebook, sometimes the social stream makes for odd juxtapositions when I saw the girlfriend appear right above the very intense black and white photo of a woman, also thin, also beautiful but with a massive scar over her left breast.

The SCAR Project: Breast Cancer is not  a pink ribbon.

This second image comes from The SCAR Project, a series of photos by photographer David Jay of women who are surviving breast cancer. He began the project after a good friend of his was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32.

What I also saw? Comments on The Girlfriend’s photos from women I admire comparing themselves unfavorably to her thin, beautiful and artistically airbrushed body. “I’m too fat for that,” was the message.

Let me ask you.

Would Murad Osmann’s photography have been as popular if his girlfriend had been overweight. Or if her breasts were missing as with many of the women in The SCAR project?

Which, technically and artistically, is a better set of photos?

Which of these do you like better?

My opinion? David Jay’s photos stick with me. Each time I see them, I find them to be more and more powerful. Mr Osmann’s girlfriend wasn’t photographed for me. She is a piece of a man’s world in a group of photos taken for men. Here she is in a bathing suit and a cute rubber duckie around her waist. There she is mostly naked or in a short skirt. She never looks me in the eye.

The women of the SCAR project hold my gaze. They speak of bravery, honesty and self possession.

You can see more of David Jay’s The SCAR Project photos and the bios of those women featured as part of Women’s History Month on the Cloudhead blog.

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