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Published by Diana Tula · November 1st 2012

Seeing "Scars" photograph for the first time leaves you wanting to know the history behind it. This guest post is by Julian Holtom, the man who took this photograph. Julian is a freelance photographer and entrepreneur based in Wakefield, United Kingdom. His rich photographic past beautifully translates into his photographs and "Scars" is a great example of the same. Without further ado, here is Julian’s and Liara’s tale.

Scars by Julian Holtom
Scars by Julian Holtom

Liara approached me to shoot her via a modeling site, where she will have no doubt faced relentless prejudice from many photographers only wanting to shoot bright orange, pneumatic breasted, dirigible headed models. Fortunately, not my cup of tea.

We arranged an initial meeting and talked through some ideas, why she was doing what she was doing and so forth. My initial feelings of wanting to help her through my photography were amplified tenfold as a result. If my work with her could help in any way to promote her causes, brilliant, and a bonus if it helped to give her more confidence in herself.

Shoot day arrives, and despite the freak snow fall causing havoc across the North, she still manages to get the train half way across the country, and arrives early. All too often models will cancel on a whim, but not this lady. We discussed the two shots we were certain we wanted over a mug of builders tea and got down to it. Her sporadic giggling throughout the afternoon was infectious and made for a thoroughly enjoyable shoot, and boy does she light up the room when she’s smiling, you get a glimpse of her inner spirit, indomitable. Before I knew it, the shoot was over, I took Liara back to her train and sent her safely on the way home. Shots backed up, contact sheets exported and sent for her to look at. It’s a wrap.

During her time with me I explained I’d like to do a post on this, the causes she’s supporting through her work, and asked if she would like to share with anyone reading what her motives were for doing what she does.

So, in her words…

As an artist my aim is to portray beauty in its imperfect form that can evoke new meaning to the beholder’s eyes. My work is dedicated to the Burn survivor community around the world; not only to represent all other burn survivors but to encourage and inspire greater self esteem. To prove scars are not something to be ashamed of but they can become one’s identity, they should never obscure a person’s perception of themselves nor hinder them from living life to the full. It is possible to overcome the emotional turmoil that comes with scars and that is our aim. There are organisations in support of burn survivors; such as the Katie Piper foundation, Phoenix Burns Society, Victim Survivors group on Facebook and Burn survivors through the world whom I represent for example.

I approached Julian with whom I was able to work on the concept of portraying the scars as part of character and personality, with the aim to achieve something genuine yet beautiful in its true form. To prove that scars do not change a person, they make that person who they become.

Thanks Julian and Liara for sharing your story, and thank you for reading. If you'd like to see more of Julian's work or add him to friends visit his 500px page.


Login or sign up to comment on this post.

Gloria Roldan  almost 2 years ago
Thank you for giving us a new insight. As I read this post I thought of those who have scares on the inside. The ones that are not seen which are internal or external but not exposed.
Bibin Kumar  almost 2 years ago
Amazing shot. Inspiring, and henceforth I'm widening my ideas in portrait photography. Thanks a lot for this post. Wishes to Julian and Liara.
MSK  almost 2 years ago
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Siegfried Desmet  almost 2 years ago
After reading her words I look different to her picture. Respect! Awesome picture btw.
Enrico Queirolo  almost 2 years ago
great !
Minas Avakian  almost 2 years ago
amazing shot no doubt,
i believe this story with this photo should be published in newspapers, and magazines
Liara is very courages in the step she had taken, i think she had overcome all her problems
Guru Prasad  almost 2 years ago
Inspiring shot!! Great work!!
Douglas Tschetter  almost 2 years ago
Absolutely stunning! Both the model and the photography.
Dmitri Tcherbadji  almost 2 years ago
This is great. Moving shot.
Liat Aharoni  almost 2 years ago
Beautiful, meaningful and just absolutely moving. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Ryan P. Fonkert  almost 2 years ago
Beautiful woman, beautiful photograph. Great work, both of you, and good for you for what you're trying to do for the burn survivor community.
Steve Dyball  almost 2 years ago
Lost for words. Good luck Liara in your efforts and well done.
I had seen the picture before but never the story.
Oz Sawdayee  almost 2 years ago
great portrait, beautiful story and model
Cristiana Verazza  almost 2 years ago
Splendido! Complimenti per la grazie e la bellezza, ma soprattutto la fierezza che trasmette questo lavoro.
Brenda Dann  almost 2 years ago
The scars are no different than seeing a person in a wheelchair. People see the chair before they see the human being in it. We always see the disability, or the difference, before we see the ability and the common ground. From this photo, I can't tell if she is a beautiful person, but from her statement, I can.
Philip Golan  almost 2 years ago
Awesome Account
Paul Howard  almost 2 years ago
Wonderful, wonderful portrait!
Mani ax  almost 2 years ago
Daniel Chekalov  almost 2 years ago

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