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A pubic cervix,...,er,...public service announcement!

Steve Russell - Staff Photographer

My spidey sense was tingling when my photo assignment editor was giggling.

I walked into the office with photo assignment editor Tim Finlan talking to Amy Dempsey about an assignment.  

Tim looked over and said, "this sounds like the perfect assignment for Steve!" 

I wasn't sure what the assignment was and as it was explained to me my eyes widened.

It seems that some women, inspired by Movember, are creating their own month-long hair themed cancer awareness event. This one to raise awareness for cervical cancer and the hair? Well it was down there. Julyna! 

When the assignment dropped on me I had no idea what to expect. I did not know what to expect at the address and what exactly was going to happen.

The challenge was two-fold, take a picture that would be able to run in the newspaper and keep my marriage intact!

I wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen but, before I left the paper I grabbed a small roll of seamless, I'm not sure why, but I felt better with it!

It turns out the address was one of the women's apartment and not a spa as I feared!

Now the challenge was make a photograph that we would be able to publish in the paper and when published would only generate a trickle of letters to our public editor.

The seamless coupled with the rediscovery of my long lost ability to draw naked ladies - when I was thirteen and living in Peru I was awesome at drawing surf scenes that included palm trees, tubular waves, surfers and naked females - made for the basis of the concept.

I allowed the women to pick out their favourite designs and draw them themselves, thankfully they picked the David Suzuki as one!

I also brought up a lighting kit, but the light coming into the apartment was nice and the drawings supplied all the light atmosphere that we would need.

I have to thank the ladies for being great sports!

Inspired by Movember - where men grow moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer - a group of 20-something Toronto women Vanessa Willson, left, and Jessie Behan are encouraging females everywhere to design their under-there-hair to raise money for cervical cancer and raise awareness about the sexually transmitted infection that causes it. Their website has host of different styles including the David Suzuki, left and the Side Part, right. The Canadian Cancer Society doesn't usually back local initiatives, but it liked the idea so much it is supporting this one.

It was a very fun assignment to shoot!


Read Amy Dempsey's Story here


Learn more about Julyna and cervical cancer



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Well done Steve! Would have loved to be there when you were handed the assignment!

Great creative solution. I have to admit though, when I saw the tweet I thought someone had hacked your twitter account.

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