Salty Girls

By CooperGenomics — May 8, 2015

Some of us can get very self conscious when asked to pose in front of a camera. Imagine being asked to pose while revealing the marks and scars resulting from treatment of a genetic disease. Ian Pettigrew, a fashion photographer based in Ontario, photographed 60 women with cystic fibrosis (CF), and the result was outstanding.

The photographs are part of Ian’s project, Salty Girls. The title refers to the sweat test performed to diagnose CF, which measures the amount of salt in the sweat. CF is a genetic disorder which affects the respiratory and digestive system. CF is not associated with cognitive impairment, but the physical manifestations can be debilitating, mainly due to the thick, sticky mucus that clogs lungs and other organs leading to infection and overall damage. Although there isn’t a cure for CF, the increasing availability of treatment has led to longer life expectancies than previously seen in affected individuals.

Salty Girls and Ian’s CF Project are driven by the fact that CF is no longer a disease that only affects children. Ian hopes to portray the positive impact that research and treatment have had on the CF community, as many children diagnosed with CF can expect to live into their 30s and 40s. The project also aims to draw attention to the struggles adults with CF face, such as body image issues and depression.

The Salty Girls Project is going viral at the perfect time–May is National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. Check out the inspiring photos here!

To learn more about Ian Pettigrew and the CF Project, visit ianpettigrew.com.