Broken Beautiful | Overcoming scoliosis and celebrating new life
I met Katie in the Spring of 2021 when she was pregnant with her first child. I had a new maternity dress that I wanted to photograph, and Katie was the perfect fit.
Katie’s pregnancy was a joyous gift after enduring multiple scoliosis surgeries and chronic pain. She has a scar along the length of her spine and asked me to capture the beauty of her scar, as it’s an integral part of the woman she is today. Planning Katie’s photography session reminded me that strength is born from struggle.
As I searched for inspiration to photograph Katie’s scar, I found the art of Kintsugi. Kintsugi is a Japanese tradition that pieces broken pottery back together with real gold, a metaphor for embracing flaws and imperfections. The repairs form part of the history of an object and become emphasized instead of hidden. By manifesting this transformation, the scars intensify the beauty of the restored art.
We decided to paint Katie’s back as a representation of restoration during her maternity modeling session. Our incredible makeup artist, Bia, painted Katie’s scoliosis scar gold, and we added a pearly leaf for a little something extra.
Katie currently holds the title of Mrs. Houston County and plans to compete in the Mrs. Texas pageant this Fall. Katie has a heart of gold, and she boldly shares her story to encourage women who are battling chronic pain and mental health to keep fighting for their future. There is beauty in the broken pieces of our lives, and healing is just around the corner.
To support Katie, follow her on Instagram @mrskatiedowell
Hair and makeup by Bia: @makeupbybiastudio