Taken by the artist who was deeply impressed by the radiance of women who are thriving and surviving with cancer, "SHINING WOMAN #cancerbeauty" is a collection of portraits of these powerful women.


SHINING WOMAN #cancerbeauty

For women, losing their womb, ovaries, breasts, and hair is extremely depressing.

Feelings of despair and madness.

Young women who dream of giving birth.
Women who are receiving infertility treatment.

Due to their cancer, they are not only losing their uterus, ovaries, and breasts but are also simultaneously losing their dream of having their own child.

The fear of losing their female organs brings a premonition of death to their femininity.
It feels like hell for them to accept such fears.

Nevertheless, women still put on lipstick, nice clothes, and wigs, and head out to their battlefield—the outside world.

Verbal abuse and prejudice.
Unawareness can be truly horrifying.

Disappointed in myself for hating people who use mean words,
while I myself may unconsciously have used mean words as well.

It can happen to me as a woman, and to men, to their loved ones.

I want to change how people perceive female illnesses and cancer patients.

I want the world to become a place where women can live more comfortably so that they can continue to treasure their everyday life and feel free to go outside, without having to experience any verbal abuse just because they have lost their breasts, wombs, ovaries, and hair.

Femininity is not determined by one’s body parts. Everything is a testament to choosing to live.

Women can always turn despair into strength and continue to let their beauty shine out.

The true meaning of shining lies in the power with which we fight for our lives.

Women who dream to see their children grow up.
Women who dream to become an adult and fall in love.

Any case.
The essence of life is always beautiful.

All women are shining.

― Hideka Tonomura

-Book Size
200 × 200 mm
144 pages, 76 images
-Publication Year
English, Japanese
-Limited Edition

Artist Profile


Born in 1979, in Kobe, Hyogo prefecture, Hideka Tonomura graduated from the Broadcasting and Filmmaking Department of Osaka Visual Arts School and began photography in 2002. She published her first photobook “mama love” in 2008 with Akaaka Art Publishing, revealing her deepest pain and the dark, hidden secrets of her family, leaving an unforgettable impression. In 2013 she published “They called me Yukari” with Zen Foto Gallery, in which she documented the life and people around her when she was working as a hostess in Kabukicho, Shinjuku. Her publications include “orange elephant” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015), “cheki” (Morel Books, 2018), “die of love” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2018), “SHINING WOMAN #cancerbeauty” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2020) and “mama 恋 love” [New Edition] (Zen Foto Gallery, 2021). Actively presenting her work in and out of Japan, she participated in a group exhibition titled “Shikijo: Eroticism in Japanese Photography” in Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong in 2016 and a group exhibition in Daiwa Foundation Japan House Gallery in 2018. Her work is currently presented in the exhibition “Love Songs” at Maison Européenne de la Photographie and in the programme “10/10 Celebrating Contemporary Japanese Women Photographers” at Kyotographie this year.

Gallery Exhibitions