Powerful Photos of a Woman’s Mastectomy and Self-Acceptance Journey

A striking black-and-white photo documentary series about one woman's decision to "go flat" and embrace her scars.

Artist and activist Samantha Paige is a young-adult cancer survivor and BRCA1 previvor. Her Last Cut series, shot in collaboration with photographer Lisa Field, documents her journey through a preventative double mastectomy, then implant and explant surgery. The images are featured in an emotional and inspiring exhibition called Explant, which opens Thursday, October 12 at Site 57 Gallery in New York City.

According to a 2014 study, around 44% of women didn’t have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. Many of those women also choose to forgo wearing a breast form. Survivors and doctors call this “going flat.” For Paige, her explant surgery “became the metaphor for the many ways in which we are faced with choices that ask us to address big questions within ourselves, commit to our truth and own our scars.”

In a video for Allure, Paige talks about embracing her femininity more than ever before following her decision to go flat. Paige addresses these topics with the same raw vulnerability, warmth, humor, and intimacy of her photos in her podcast Last Cut Conversations and upcoming memoir Last Cut.

©Lisa Field, published with permission