Photographer Bob Carey knows it's unusual to see a full-grown man walking around in nothing but a pink tutu, but that’s the idea. Carey takes self-portraits of himself in a tutu not just for the grins but for a good cause: his wife’s — and other women’s — battle with breast cancer.
“After Linda was diagnosed, that’s when I went into self-therapy mode,” Carey said in a video about his Tutu Project. “I grabbed a tutu and went out, and we started making pictures. That’s what I do when things are getting hard. I start making photographs.”
On the Tutu Project blog, Carey explains that he started taking the humorous photographs in 2003 on a lark but continued with it to support his wife, Linda, who in the video said the more she laughs, the better she feels.
“When Linda would go for treatment, she would take the images on her phone, and the women would look at them, and it would make them laugh and make the time pass,” Carey said in the video.
Bob and Linda self-published a book called “Ballerina” in January 2012. The book has images of Bob in his tutu, along with behind-the-scenes stories of how the photos were taken. Net proceeds from “Ballerina” go to The Carey Foundation, “which was established by the couple to help people cope with financial burdens that often accompany the disease,” according to Amazon.com.
“Ballerina” has received positive feedback from readers, who say the images are inspiring.
“I work in a nursing home and wanted to be able to share it with the residents,” wrote Amazon commenter Mrs. HAM about “Ballerina.” “(One woman) was very quiet and flipped through every page very slowly. She was unable to read the print. She sat there with the book closed on her lap for a long time. I finally sat down next to her and asked her what she thought. She looked up at me with misty eyes and said, ‘It is the most beautiful book I have ever seen. He must really love her.’ ”
Although the cancer has been difficult for Linda as well as Bob, both are grateful for the joy and laughter they have found in the midst of it.
“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,” Bob wrote on the Tutu Project blog.
Bob has taken images for the Tutu Project in multiple states including Arizona, Florida, New York, Oregon, Missouri and Utah, as well as Washington D.C., and even Italy.