Breast Cancer

FYEO Boudoir Photography

Hi I’m Alexandra, I am the Owner and Creative Director of FYEO Boudoir Photography.
Three weeks ago I had a mammogram. I thought I had breast cancer and I was scared.
I found a lump in my breast just before xmas and had plucked up the courage (I felt I needed) to get it checked out.

boudoir photography

Worried about the lump in my breast, I went to my local GP, who was brilliant. I was told that breast lumps were immediately referred to the breast clinic at the hospital. Within the week I had been given a hospital appointment. I was impressed with the fast track system in place to get it checked out. Breast cancer is treated as a priority in the NHS.

Life flashed before my eyes as I wondered if I would join thousands of other women who face the trauma of breast cancer. Would I survive? How would I feel?

As I sat in the hospital waiting room, I observed the women around me happily chatting to each other, sharing their experiences, smiling and supportive of one another.  We were a diverse group of women in the waiting room, there is no stereotype for cancer. Randomly cruel. What good good comes from breast cancer?

Having the mammogram was odd. Stripped to the waist, I stood facing the huge machine of doom, the lady nurse moved me into position. Not painful, more of an uncomfortable feeling, my breasts were squeezed between the machine and a plastic until a rewarding beep, at which point the machine released its tight grip on me. There was a front and side view so each breast was squeezed twice. I was so glad when that experience was over!

As I sat awaiting my fate, I saw the nurse walk past me a few times and a couple of times. She caught my eye and then quickly looked away. I tried to read the expression on her face, but she wasn’t giving anything away about the results of my mammogram. After a long, dreary, stomach churning wait, I was ushered into the ultra sound room. Again I was asked to strip to the waist. I laid down on a bed and the nurse put some warm gel onto my chest. She was so friendly and chatty. She told me my mammogram was fine and that — there was nothing  sinister there!!! The words came out of her mouth so lightly and matter of factly, but it was news that was like the gift of god. The ultrasound showed harmless cysts, which was the case of the lump in my breast. I was SOOO relieved. The waiting around in the hospital had made me so nervous and worried. It made me think of the wonderful women I have photographed in the FYEO boudoir photography studio and thought how brave they were to go through it all.

Breasts don’t define a woman. Nevertheless they represent femininity at varying levels, for the individual. The news of losing a breast brings a mixture of emotions and a coming—to—terms with. The joy of what I do for women in the studio is to show women how feminine and wonderful they are in the context of their full body. Not focusing on one isolated body part alone, rather, my photography celebrates each individual as wonderful, beautiful, and unique.

It never ceases to amaze me how strong women are.  Just before Christmas I photographed a wonderful lady in my London boudoir studio who had recently been told that she had to have a double mastectomy. (Not her real name, I’ll call her Lucy). Lucy seemed so, SO calm, accepting of her impending operation and challenging forthcoming  metamorphosis. She was thankful for the life saving operation she was about to receive, philosophical about her fate and grateful to be given the chance of life.  Lucy was excited about having her classy FYEO boudoir photography shoot, she had been looking forward to it.

Lucy was having her boudoir photo shoot to capture her pre op body. She wanted pictures of her naked body to remember the shape she once was. We took lots of artistic nude shots, some shots she covered her body with rose petals and sheer silk fabric. I wanted to create something really special for her, so we put her photographs into a leather bound album, so that she can look back on her body as it once was.

Over the years, since I started FYEO boudoir photography, I have photographed women both pre and post such a dramatic operation. I have been overwhelmed with admiration, awe of their strength and resolve to get through it.

The reason I set up FYEO boudoir photography all those years ago, was to make women feel better about themselves. To gain in body confidence so much so that it enhances their confidence in other areas of their lives. I want to show women that whatever shape or size, they are beautiful.

I hope to continue on my mission for the rest of my life.
Alexandra Burns