John Adair, a Lawrence artist and photographer, has begun work on a photo series called “Scars,” a project that uses photographs of people and their scars as a window into their lives and pasts.
Adair, a former University student who returned to Lawrence in March, came up with the idea as a way to tell people’s stories and encourage people to look past their physical imperfections. The latter was inspired in part by media portrayals of what it looks like to be beautiful.
“I’ve always had an appreciation for the imperfections that come with being a human being,” Adair said. “The idea behind the project is that you should embrace your imperfections. Skin doesn’t have to be flawless and smooth to be beautiful.”
Since he began experimenting with a camera he found in his father’s belongings when he was younger, Adair has harbored a passion for photography that has grown in recent years, with “Scars” being his latest project.
Adair said he believes the combination of photographs of his subjects and their written stories make the project more impactful than either component could by itself.
“Stories are important,” Adair said. “And every picture tells a story. Regardless of how big or small the scar is, the story behind it is what pulls people in.”
In keeping with the spirit of the project, Adair does minimal editing to each photograph in the series. Apart from changing the photograph’s colors to black and white and slightly increasing the contrasts, Adair makes no alterations to the photos.
Kyra Roesle, a third year University student from Shawnee and close friend of Adair, has been photographed for the project and likes how the project gives new perspectives on the people featured.
“There’s always more to people than what you see,” said Roesle, whose knuckles on one hand show the scars of a hit-and-run she survived while riding her bike on Massachusetts Street. “You’re peeling away the layers of people’s lives.”
Preliminary photos from “Scars” can be seen on the Facebook page John Adair Photographs.
— Edited by Ashley Peralta