It’s not often you find influential propaganda on the dredges of Facebook. Yet, there it was, bold and impressive, wedged between the updates of drunken exploits and albums bursting of newborns. A striking sepia image of a woman in pastel underwear, a subtle feather tattoo on her left inner forearm. The image is cropped from the base of her breasts to the peak of her knees. It’s captivating. An alluring introduction to The Julyna Project. A subtle call to arms in the fight against cervical cancer. Naturally, I was engaged.
Quipped as the “Female version of Movember”; The Julyna Project aims “To increase awareness of cervical cancer, and to promote healthy lifestyle choices in an effort to prevent the spread of HPV.” The premiss of Julyna is rather simple; women concoct an elaborate grooming method of their pubic hair as a means to raise funds. Yes, their pubic hair. Being the first year, there was reservations about flashing one’s muff (even anonymously) for the sake of fundraising, no matter how quiff the look. How each fundraiser chooses to use their “muff” to raise finances is completely under their creative control. Halifax based photographer’s Dean Casavechia and Krista Comeau decided to support Julyna through a PG-13 Rated style; semi nude images of women’s torso’s with emphasis on the cervical region. Simply put; snap-shots of ladies undies. He put out a call for volunteers via the social media empire of Facebook, and the rest relied on fate with a hint of luck. I was one volunteer.
On July 23rd, I walked through Dean’s studio doors. It took no more than 10 minutes for my shorts to be off. Then I tossed off my tank-top. No hesitation. I did it with laughter and confidence. If he had asked for something more daring, I would have done it.
In the company of complete strangers, I was walking around half naked; in black lace panties and a bright purple push up bra. As I was posed into different positions, the aggression of each shutter snap and flashes of lights blinding me, I couldn’t help but smile. The conversation revolved around the glaciers of British Columbia, the Gay Pride Parade, and camera equipment between myself, Dean, and my partner Jonathan who had accompanied me to document this occurrence for my blog. It was intoxicating to be using my body as a means of information. The final shots were of Jonathan and I; his hands wrapped around my hips and my fingers caressing his arms. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Images will be formatted to an online gallery; using social media as the tools to show each photograph and raise awareness for the cause. In the future Dean aims to auction off the photographs as a fundraising event, hoping for more volunteers and wider recognition for Julyna.
Learn more about The Julyna Project off the official website Julyna.com.