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The beauty of scars: David Jay's 'honest' portraits of imperfect beauty

13 March 2014 Last updated at 00:58 GMT

Photographer David Jay didn't set out to document scars.

It all started with one photograph of a friend who underwent a mastectomy at the age of 28.

Soon he began to take pictures of other young women with different stages of breast cancer, and the SCAR Project was born.

These searing portraits - of both men and women - show the physical reality of a disease that most people never see.

His next project, the Unknown Soldier, is a similarly raw look at severely wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jay told the BBC he hopes his portraits will make people think about their interactions with others and give some perspective on what defines beauty.

Produced by the BBC's Ashley Semler and Bill McKenna

Photographs copyright David Jay

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