A Note from the Director
It all began in Egypt. As we’d visited the many, magnificent temples, I’d marveled at the towering, topless figures of Goddesses and Pharaohesses. Clearly, this civilization had very different attitudes about women – and women’s bodies. At one temple in particular (PHILAE), I became inspired by an idea that women’s breasts contain an ancient wisdom, and this led to a decision to more deeply explore this question through the medium of film.
At the time, I’d been working as a producer for a PBS affiliate, and had been shooting interviews with crews all over New England on a regular basis, so asking women to talk about a breast-based wisdom felt reasonable and easy to arrange.
After finding 9 intrepid souls, a small crew and I shot the interviews over 2 weekends in 2012. It was immediately clear that the premise of the inquiry – the exploration of a breast-based wisdom – resuscitated a hidden trove of long-suppressed memories. I knew I’d discovered a framework for a discourse that deserved my full attention, so I resigned from the position I’d held at WGBY-TV for 12 years, and began to devote myself to The Breast Archives.
I’ll never forget those interviews for a long as I live… Each of the participants had agreed in advance to remove her blouse at some point during the interview, and there were moments of nervousness as they removed their clothing. But these moments were fleeting and quickly shifted toward feelings of generosity, authenticity, and a very dignified courage.
I know that the toplessness contained in The Breast Archives might make some people uncomfortable, and that it will elicit emotions, memories, and provocative discussions. But I am intrigued by a new context for how women and men can perceive and experience women’s bodies, and my hope is that the documentary will start a conversation that can benefit everyone, both female and male, and our society as a whole.