In 2001 I met a burn survivor who allowed me to photograph her. She told me that she wanted to be photographed so that people could stare at her without feeling embarrassed. It was such an extraordinary experience that a few months later I flew to a burn conference and set up a makeshift studio in a hotel room, and asked people to let me know if they would like their portraits made. I was astonished at how many people did. What I learned from this extraordinary experience was that every burn survivor has a tale of courage to tell, and that the burns have their own eerie beauty. I also learned that after a few hours it becomes very difficult to see the burns anymore. When I returned and developed the photographs, I had to keep asking my wife “does this person look burned to you?”, because they all looked quite normal to me. My only regret is that I didn’t continue with this project longer than I did, but life intervened.
I love love love the possibility of not being able to tell who is scarred and who isn’t. Eye of the beholder.