The TuTu Project

By Cherai Mills

“The Tutu Project began in 2003 as a lark. I mean, really, think of it. Me photographing myself in a pink tutu, how crazy is that?” (Bob Carey, founder).

After moving to the East Coast nine years ago with his wife Linda, Bob Carey needed a way to deal with the drastic change and taking pictures of self-portraits helped him express himself. The Tutu Project started in 2003 when Carey donated a picture of himself wearing a custom-made ballet skirt as part of a fundraiser for the Arizona Ballet. Soon after Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though she beat it then, it came back in 2006. When talking about his wife’s cancer, Carey said, “During these past nine years, I’ve been in awe of her power, her beauty, and her spirit. Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.”

Photo by: Bob Carey
Carey’s first “self-portrait in tutu” was taken on April 18, 2003 near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Using a tripod, Carey has shot more than 100 pictures of himself in various locations ranging from Times Square to the Arizona desert. Carey plans on compiling all of his photographs into a book titles Ballerina which will be out this fall. All of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go directly to breast cancer organizations, including and the Beth Israel Department of Integrative Medicine Fund. The goal is to raise $75,000. For $500, you will receive a special edition 20-by-24-inch signed tutu print, valued at $1,200 along with a first edition of the book, Ballerina. You will also receive recognition on my Facebook fan page and in all other project materials, including mention in Ballerina.

Other ways you can contribute are by purchasing a T-shirt and pre-purchasing a signed copy of Ballerina, which will ship once it is published. Also you can always donate any amount of cash. Links to all of these are at the bottom of the websites home page.

With cancer being a touchy subject and so common theses days it is great that one man has come up with a fun and create way to not only raise money for cancer patients, but help to put a smile on his wife’s face if only for a moment. Putting a smile on other cancer patients faces is a bonus. Carey is certainly an inspiration and a hero in my eyes. Who would have though that a man simply putting on a tutu could bring such joy into the lives of those battling cancer.


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