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Richmond photographer sees his emotion-inducing project as a way to 'honor mom'

Posted at 1:38 PM, May 08, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. — If the walls inside Shane Patrick Crews' home studio could talk, they would tell a story of survival.

"Portraits In Pink" is a collection of photographs Crews took of 100 breast cancer survivors.

“I wanted to show there was beauty amongst the pain and tribulations," the professional photographer said about the personal project that took eight years to complete. "The heartaches that typically come with breast cancer."

That heartache hit Crews close to home.

Crews’ mother faced her own cancer battle in 2008.

“I wasn't a part of that as I would have liked to have been because honestly, it scared me," Crews said.

In 2013, Crews’ mother battled leukemia, but it was her breast cancer journey that inspired Crews to tell stories through photos and videos.

“I think this is the way to honor my mom, but all the other participants as well,” Crews said.

The photos are candid and elicit a range of emotions.

“A lady told me that it was the first time she had been out of the house in 18 months... I showed her the picture and she said that was the first time I felt beautiful in 18 months,” a tearful Crews said.

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Blanche Wilder's whole world changed when she was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in 2015.

On this day, Wilder is seeing her survivors' portrait for the very first time.

“Wow. To me, this picture shows that I still have light for which quite a while hasn't been something I had,” Wilder said.

For support, Wilder turned to the group "Here For The Girls."

“I found my sisters,” Wilder said.

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The organization is known for its annual calendar, which was something Wilder has never had the nerve to do, until now — maybe.

“Maybe next year I’ll do the calendar,” Wilder laughed.

For Crews, all 100 portraits are finally done.

His 100th photo is his mom who died in 2016.

“I think my mom would be extremely proud of this project. The last photo. The one that means the most to me," Crews said.

Now that the portraits are done, the search is on for a sponsor to host a gallery showing in Richmond and possibly other cities in the future.

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