Am I not scared anymore?

Shortlist 2020

Sergei Stroitelev

Sergei Stroitelev is an independent documentary photographer from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, who regularly works with National Geographic Russia, Vice UK/USA. He also works with RIA Novosti and Kommersant Photos as a stringer. Sergei worked as a human rights lawyer for three years before becoming a photographer. During that time, he dreamt of fieldwork instead of doing paperwork, and documentary photography happened to be the best tool for it. In 2013-2014, Sergei spent ten months in Asia cooperating with non-governmental structures and organizations such as Red Cross Nepal and Nepal Leprosy Trust. He focused on human rights issues in the country - children with HIV, discrimination of people suffering from leprosy, and drug addiction. At the moment, Stroitelev is interested in social issues such as gender/racial prejudice, discrimination of HIV-positive people, migration, the aftermath of conflicts and natural disasters, which he explores using various visual languages. Sergei prefers to work in regions vulnerable to human rights violations, including his home country and countries of Southeast Asia such as Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Stroitelev believes that a well-executed documentary project is the best instrument for raising awareness about social issues, which is missing in those regions.

The Compromise

Am I not scared anymore?

About 55 thousand cases of breast cancer are identified in Russia every year - that's a lot. There are stories of thousands of women hidden behind statistics and numbers who fight this disease every day. 

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, not only surgery is important, but also the post-surgery condition. First of all, this is hard emotional work - the process of accepting a new body: from surgery and first steps to first look in the mirror, chemotherapy and hair loss. It is a process of fighting the fear of death or simply that people around won't accept you anymore. 

In the project "Am I not scared anymore?" eight girls tell their stories and share thoughts about what happened to them. The diagnosis and following post-surgery processes transformed their personality - they changed their attitude towards themselves, their femininity, time and priorities. These girls found the inner strength to fight all fears. This project is a powerful message to all women who couldn't accept themselves after the surgery. It's about the fight with beauty cliches and stereotypical perception of a woman's body.