"The Alopecia Project is a long-term photographic portrait project supporting people affected by the autoimmune hair loss condition alopecia. The condition can cause partial or total hair loss for unknown reasons and can affect people of all ages, backgrounds and genders. Regrowth is unpredictable and in many cases non-recurring. The condition is thought to affect 1.7% of the population.
There is a huge amount of shame associated with alopecia, especially for women. When a woman loses not only their hair but also their eyebrows and eyelashes they immediately begin to feel like less of a woman. Parts of the body that our society places so much pressure on, that apparently epitomise the very concept of femininity, are lost and there is little help offered to sufferers in the way of psychological therapies for a disease that can cause significant damage to self-esteem. Alopecia is not only a condition that affects the body but also the mind. It alters the way that a person perceives him or herself. Imagine looking in the mirror one day and not recognising the person that is staring back at you. Some people grasp the change quickly, embracing their new look, whilst for others it can have a devastating effect.
Throughout this project I invited people to be photographed as and how they wanted to be photographed. For some it involved baring all and showing their ‘naked selves’ and for others they wished to keep their eyelashes or eyebrows.
The true message of the project is that it’s OK being you, but most importantly being the you that you choose."
© Lily Mae Falkingham, all rights reserved