Sam Barker's story started when he was 19. The British photographer was involved in a motorcycle accident that almost required a leg amputation.
"My leg was lying limp at a right angle halfway down the shin," Barker narrates in a new video for Nowness. "The bone poked out under my trousers, then my leg swelled like a pig’s bladder — hard and shiny. They cut it open on the side of the road to stop it from ballooning."
Director Matthew Donaldson and writer Jack Dyson shot the video, Define Beauty, which shows Barker's healing marks through striking imagery and words.
I used to get almost queasy when I’d rub cream on the deep scars so close to his bone," his unnamed lover adds. "It was almost like I’d be feeling the pain with my fingertip."
But Barker — who also has scars across his abdomen — is able to see how the deep markings can be viewed as a type of traumatic art. Though few of us would choose to have scars, they can be absolutely beautiful, no matter if they're from something as simple as a scrape or as life-altering as breast cancer.
"As much as a scar is caused by trauma, it's also proof of a healing process, torn into my skin."
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