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Nicki Curns Kominek, Hodgkin’s Disease Survivor

San Francisco-based photographer Erena Shimoda combined her love of scuba diving and photography with the therapeutic properties of water for cancer patients in a beautiful portrait project known as Underwater Healer - About Face. By launching an Indiegogo campaign last year, Shimoda was able to fund her passion project, allowing her to offer 10 cancer survivors along the west coast of the US and parts of Canada their own healing underwater portrait sessions.

Shimoda's ongoing sessions allow these survivors and life-loving fighters to overcome their physical insecurities and reflect on their own innate beauty as they poetically submerge themselves. The photographer says, "Underwater portrait sessions provide an unique opportunity for people to confront physical and mental challenges – things such as feeling lost after a mastectomy and chemotherapy, fear of water, or physical limitations due to cerebral palsy. In the water, people rediscover their beauty, strength and capability. I love seeing my clients’ glowing faces and smiles when they see their photographs. One person said she felt 'magically beautiful.' "


Izumi Hirayama, Breast Cancer Survivor


Duwenavue Sante’ Johnson, Breast Cancer Survivor


Emily Morrison, Brain Tumor Fighter


Lindsay Hernderson, Breast Cancer Survivor


Lori Stone, Endocervical Adenocarcinoma Survivor


Lisa Smith, Breast Cancer Survivor


Mailet Lopez, Breast Cancer Survivor


Bernadette Leno, Breast Cancer Survivor


Erica Yee, Breast Cancer Survivor


Brian Simpson, Testicular Cancer Survivor


Steve Melen, Stomach Cancer Survivor


Underwater Healer website
Erena Shimoda website
via [Laughing Squid]
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