Heather Blackshire

Heather Blackshire

Photographer Heather Blackshire wants to capture a moment in time for breast cancer patients and survivors.

Blackshire, 22, who discovered her passion for taking pictures in a high school photography class, works at a studio while putting herself through college to be a photojournalist. She said her mother’s struggle with breast cancer — and resulting death in 2006 — was what inspired her to begin taking photographs that document women and men impacted by the condition.

“My main idea here is just to raise awareness,” said Blackshire, who wears a tiny camera charm on a chain around her neck. “I want to capture this cancer’s effect on people.”

Photography served as an outlet for Blackshire when her mother was struggling with the disease, and now the artist says she hopes her photographs serve as a way to help raise money for breast cancer research and awareness about victims and survivors.

She has volunteered her time to photograph half a dozen families as well as her own family members — besides her mother, Blackshire’s mother-in-law has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“This is a personal thing for me as well as a way to help others,” she said. “These stories need to be heard, and I would like to help make that happen.”

Blackshire’s project is in its early stages, she said. She is partnering with area organizations to find more breast cancer survivors and people undergoing treatment who are interested in being photographed. Her portraits are done in black and white, or with only one other color — usually pink. She takes photos of survivors with their families and also hopes to photograph surgery scars and hair loss.

“This project is in the building stages,” Blackshire explained. “I’m going to sell the art and donate that money to cancer research. And, I want to put it on exhibition … I’m hoping that this project will eventually go international. There’s an unlimited number of people impacted by breast cancer, so I am going to keep taking pictures. This is a long-term project.”

Blackshire, a Long Beach resident, is looking for locals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are willing to help with her project. She also is seeking exhibition space and community partners. To help, email Heather Blackshire at blackshirephotography@yahoo.com or call (310) 564-6969. The photographer also has a website with some examples of her work at www.seewhatmyeyessee.com.

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