Human bodies move like butterflies emerging from a chrysalis in a series of stunning photos taken to launch Bloomhill Cancer Care’s The Chrysalis monthly giving community.

Zenko Yoga’s Lauren Verona and Adam Buechner feature in Joe Surace’s images which echo Bloomhill’s emergence from the constraints of COVID-19 into a new, sustainable future with The Chrysalis group of dedicated donors committing to monthly giving.

The Chrysalis Monthly giving community will be launched on Be There For Bloomhill Day, June 19. A community where donors from around the world can pledge an ongoing monthly donation to ensure a sustainable future for the community-health charity.

“In the post-COVID world, we are doing everything we can to emerge refreshed, re-energized and with a firm foundation on which to build the future of Bloomhill. It is absolutely vital we continue to serve the needs of people living with cancer who need us now more than ever,” CEO Chris Franck said.

It was Joe Surace’s professionalism, and his own cancer journey, that made him the perfect person for The Chrysalis shoot.

“Bloomhill wanted to capture some images using the human body representing a butterfly evolving, showing the cancer journey. The hope is you can come through the bad and find the good again,” Joe said.

“Being a cancer survivor I can understand that, it brings a different understanding and empathy.  I can look at it as a photographer and as a cancer survivor.”

The setup and positioning were also important to align with the brief of the silhouette with superimposed wings.

Before the shoot Joe and Nikki Firmin from Bloomhill’s Advancement Team had discussed the chrysalis concept and different ways to create a silhouette in photo form.

“I thought because of the bright lights they probably wouldn’t need to be nude,” Joe said. “But we had discussed it and they had been pre-warned which took some of the pressure off me personally.

“I used the set-up time to build rapport and the models started fully clothed and lost the clothing as we felt necessary.

“Both Lauren and Adam freed up quickly and were even proactive in suggesting ideas.”

As a cancer survivor and member of the Bloomhill family the shoot meant a lot to Joe. “And with what Adam’s Mum is going through, and Lauren’s spiritual side we made a good team.”

For Lauren, who has in the past had herself painted blue for Beyond Blue, appearing nude for Bloomhill was liberating and a way to inspire people.

Lauren sees parallels between yoga and the cancer journey and used this as, with Adam, she held the poses for photographer and cancer survivor Joe Surace.

“Child’s pose is about coming to the practice with a beginner’s mind, like being in a cocoon,” Lauren said.

“As I opened up and reached my arms out and lifted my body up it was those heart opening poses that were about the cancer journey. You have to be vulnerable to do those poses. I was thinking about awakening.”

Lauren’s dear friend is currently experiencing her own cancer journey and Lauren said this helped her to understand how yoga was “aligned to the journey of cancer”.

And as she approaches her 40th birthday the photo shoot was a way to use her brand to help Bloomhill as well as a way to “come into myself”.

Lauren said the Zenko yoga studio was the perfect place for the photo shoot. 

“It is a sanctuary, a wellness space. We stepped into that energy. There was yoga music playing. I think we got more out of the shots because of the environment.”

As for baring it all for the camera Lauren says “Yoga teaches us to get comfortable with discomfort as it’s from here that we grow. So sitting in discomfort, whether physical or mental is the only place for us to grow.

“I am always up for mental challenges like these in life to test my own resilience.

“I am not my body, I am more than my body.”

Adam took time off work for the “opportunity to give back” and pose for the Chrysalis photo shoot.

“I admire Lauren as a mentor and when she called and said ‘I’ve got something I’d love you to do for charity’. I said ‘yes’.”

While getting nude wasn’t something he would normally do, Adam likes to push his boundaries.

“I was way out of my comfort zone, but I thought my mum went through breast cancer twice, so if I’m able to be part of something to give back to those struggling with cancer, then going nude wasn’t anything compared to what they’re going through.”

Originally from Sydney, Adam moved to the Sunshine Coast following in the footsteps of his mother.

“I was looking for a balanced lifestyle, I’d been working big hours in Sydney and I wanted to get more in touch with myself.”

He took up yoga. “It’s a physical and emotional journey. It’s challenging.

“When Lauren suggested I do the teacher training I thought, this will push me to grow and help me to be able to share the gift of yoga with other people.”

As his mother’s primary carer Adam knew the cancer journey well and called on this during the shoot.

“The brief was about experiencing that journey, and there were stories told during the shoot.

“I felt vulnerable. It was emotional. There were tears at various times during the shoot.

“Joe was so lovely, he made us feel really comfortable. We were all there for same reason, for charity, for Bloomhill.

“It felt great to be part of that together.” 

Mr Franck thanked Joe, Lauren and Adam for giving their time and their bodies to the Bloomhill cause.

“Their efforts are truly appreciated. Like the butterfly that represents Bloomhill and these images created to represent rebirth with The Chrysalis monthly giving, Bloomhill is recreating itself. The foundation of monthly donations will give us wings.”

You can become a member of The Chrysalis monthly giving community and support Bloomhill as it enters this new phase.

And, thanks to one generous donor, every new monthly donation made on June 19 will be quadrupled!

Visit Bloomhill's Wellness Centre on Be There For Bloomhill day to make your ongoing commitment to support those living with cancer, or visit www.bloomhill.com.au/donate to donate on the day.

Photos: Just a few of hundreds of amazing photos taken by Joe Surace of Lauren and Adam at the Zenko Yoga shoot.