When I did this shoot with National Geographic adventure photographer Ben Moon we hadn't planned to make a statement about raising awareness about #coloncancer and wearing a #colostomy bag. We met, and we hit it off, but I wasn't assigned to tell that story about him - yet it is the story that he decided he was ready to tell... a couple years after that is.
Ben is a truly special human. Over the span of my past career as a photographer (which I recently have transitioned away from) I met many special humans through my work. They have taught me so much about humanity.... Politicians, immigrants, athletes, entrepreneurs, advocates, editors, musicians, journalists, artists, designers, firemen, laborers, journalists, scientists, leaders, homeless - literally every kind of human you can think of I have worked with on telling their story for the public to engage with. We call this content now, but back when I was storytelling for a living we called it journalism... it wasn't for branding, it was for connecting each other thus making the world a little bit closer and a little bit better.
Ben and I took many pictures on this day, but when he asked me to take a portrait showing his colostomy - I felt an element of personal success inside, as it reminded me of the reason I began shooting as a very young woman, to connect and to educate. Then, the story we photographed for was cancelled, so this portrait was put away - until now.
I think Ben would say he's not special, he's a survivor and he got lucky. I often ask myself why some people survive a disease and others don't. My own partner artist Michael Lazarus is a Cancer survivor 7 years in the clear. I personally do not see any pattern, rhyme nor reason around illness and death. There are so many factors at play, and then there is luck.
I'm lucky to have met Ben, worked with him for a day, and lucky he is proud enough of this portrait - the first one showing him living with a #colostomy - to have asked to post it with his story. I hope to work with him again now that I have delved into Creative Direction and Brand Consulting. He has reminded me of what creation is all about at the end of the day - relationships. I found in the commercial world of creative advertising - MANY good people lose sight of these standards in the speed of production. I cling to anyone and anything that resembles balance and kindness paired with strong leadership through example - and who is in it for the same reasons as I am.
Over the years I've worked with literally THOUSANDS of subjects; famous, not famous, infamous, models, friends - people... thousands. The wisdom I have gained is that we are all so much more alike than not. Every story is unique, but every person longs for similar things. You can use honest branding to tell your story, support your business, and contribute to your community - just like Ben. Drop me a note for (3) complimentary tips.
And psst, thanks for the reminder Ben. I needed that.
Please feel invited to repost this image along with the proper credits tagged #christinetaylorcreative #benmoon #coloncancer #colostomy, and your own story about humanity and survival to help spread awareness around Cancer and #survivors.
Note: The first image links to Ben's words on the matter.
(You can also watch Ben's famous film, 'Denali' highlighting the moving relationship between a person and their pet.)