Health & Wellness

Stunning photo project helps cancer patients forget their illness...for a moment

  • Slideshow Photos

    If only for a second

    Photographer Vincent Dixon teamed up with the Mimi Foundation to give 20 cancer patients a unique makeover experience.

  • Monique

    If only for a second

    of

    Stunning photo project helps cancer patients forget their illness...for a moment -

    A group of 20 cancer patients were invited to a photography studio by Belgian charity group the Mimi Foundation, in collaboration with advertising agency Leo Burnett France. Each participant helped choose their hair and makeup.

    This is Monique.

  • Josiane

    If only for a second

    of

    Josiane -

    They were asked to close their eyes while being made up.

  • Ann

    If only for a second

    of

    Ann -

    Sitting in front of a one-way mirror, they could not see photographer Vincent Dixon.

  • Michelle

    If only for a second

    of

    Michelle -

    The moment of truth came when they opened their eyes.

    According to the Mimi Foundation, Dixon’s role was to “immortalize a second of carefreeness to forget the cancer…if only for a second.”

  • Ariane

    If only for a second

    of

    Ariane -

    Some, like Ariane, chose fantastical wigs.

  • Noella

    If only for a second

    of

    Noëlla -

    This was the grandest beehive hairdo in the bunch.

  • Patrick

    If only for a second

    of

    Patrick -

    Patrick found his mullett quite amusing.

  • Arlette

    If only for a second

    of

    Ariette -

    Ariette couldn't resist a red pouf added to her 'do.

  • Katy

    If only for a second

    of

    Katy -

    Katy is featured on the cover of the book. She died a month after this photo was taken.

  • Fabienne

    If only for a second

    of

    Fabienne -

    The fabulous Fabienne was shocked by her hair.

  • Nicolas

    If only for a second

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    Nicolas -

    Nicolas gets a nifty nest of hair.

  • Christelle

    If only for a second

    of

    Christelle -

    Photographer Vincent Dixon describes each particpant's expression as magical.

  • Jeanine

    If only for a second

    of

    Jeanine -

    Jeanine and her pink coiffe.

  • Martine

    If only for a second

    of

    Martine -

    Wigs, such as Martine's dreadlocks, were fitted by Gregory Kaoua.

  • Sandra

    If only for a second

    of

    Sandra -

    A crew of 15 people worked on the photo shoot.

  • Brigitte

    If only for a second

    of

    Brigitte -

    Photographer Vincent Dixon: "A lot of work went into preparing for the photos which finally took just a few minutes."

  • Corinne

    If only for a second

    of

    Corinne -

    Photographer Vincent Dixon: "These photos would transform a negative, losing your hair to chemotherapy, into a fantastical, magical achievement. "

  • Jean-Christophe

    If only for a second

    of

    Jean-Christophe -

    Jean-Christophe cracks up at his reflection.

  • Regina

    If only for a second

    of

    Regina -

    Regina's wig was a mix of a mohawk, a mullet and dreadlocks.

  • Hayat

    If only for a second

    of

    Hayat -

    Photographer Vincent Dixon: "Despite their illness, each one of these men and women brought a sense of laughter and joy that touched me deeply."

What if you were a cancer patient and could forget about your illness…if only for a second?

That’s what happened to a group of 20 cancer patients, who were invited for a hair and makeup session at a photography studio by Belgian charity group the Mimi Foundation, in collaboration with advertising agency Leo Burnett France.

Today
Noella

The participants had to keep their eyes shut throughout the process as they were fitted with fantastical wigs – from beehives to mullets – and dolled up in make up that would make Lady Gaga or RuPaul proud.

After sitting in one front of a one-way mirror, with photographer Vincent Dixon on the other side, they were asked to open their eyes. Dixon captured their incredulous, truly buoyant responses the moment they registered what they looked like.

Today
Ariane

According to the Mimi Foundation, Dixon’s role was to “immortalize a second of carefreeness to forget the cancer…if only for a second.”

“It was one of the most humbling and enjoyable experiences I have had as a photographer," Dixon says. "Despite their illness, each one of these men and women brought a sense of laughter and joy that touched me deeply.

Today
Fabienne

“The moment the patients opened their eyes was magical. They knew what their disguise was because they had chosen it, yet you see that moment of disbelief as they try to register how fantastic they look,” says Dixon. “The video was shot at very high speed but this all happened in a fraction of a second -- then they burst out laughing.”

Dixon says that while it was beautiful, it was also bittersweet in that “not everyone would get to see their portrait.”

Vincent Dixon / Today
Katy, who is on the cover of the book, died a month after the photo was taken.

Katy, the woman on the cover of the book, died a month after her portrait was taken. “She was very sick but brought such grace to the project. I hope that with this photo we created a memorable image for her husband and her 4-year-old daughter,” says Dixon.

The images are all part of a coffee table book, If Only for a Second, proceeds of which go to the Mimi Foundation.


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