October is the month to increase awareness about Breast Cancer and according to statistics published by the Breast Cancer Care organization, this October around 4,000 people will receive the devastating news they have breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second biggest cause of death for women and nearly 12,000 people die from invasive breast cancer in the UK every year. These unsettling statistics are published each year and although there are campaigns and messages urging women to self-check, there is still a sense of immortality among many young women.

When I came across a series of topless portraits of women in recovery, I knew it would be the strongest visual message to ‘raise awareness and inspire action’. New Zealand based photographer Damien Nikora’s aim was to produce emotive portraits that would support women living with breast cancer and inspire their partners, families and friends.

Violet Lawrence and her husband who are featured in the portrait above with photographer Damien Nikora and his wife, Whakarongotai, and their children, Nazareth and Opal at the Portraits of Strength Exhibition Opening.

As one woman photographed by Damien puts it, ‘I am not an exhibitionist by nature, but breast cancer is regrettably so common now, I think it’s important to cross that last frontier’.

View more portraits here

Read the full interview in Complexd on page 70-75 here 


  1. Thanks for sharing!Its amazing to see how confident these women are and how much they appreciate and value life despite all that they’ve been through. Amazing stories. These women teach us the importance of appreciating, embracing and accepting.

  2. Thank you for shearing Portraits of Strength photos and message.

    Here is a link to the full exhibition and brave amazing woman i had the pleasure of spending time with and who i call friends.


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