SEEN Survivors


SEEN is a powerful and compelling new collection of fine-art portraits which offer glimpses into the complex healing journeys of survivors of sexual abuse.

Commissioned by the Sexual Assault Center of Middle Tennessee, documentary photographer Dan Heller conceived the project as a series of collaborations between artist and subject—a means to share nuanced recovery experiences and emotions that would otherwise remain hidden.

The result: survivors stepped into the light, broke free of reductive stereotyping and revealed authentic inner worlds, untethered by judgments and cultural overlays. Survivors are truly seen–not reduced to one event, trauma, or circumstance, but viewed as courageous, strong, resilient and whole humans, sometimes raw and vulnerable, ultimately sharing unfiltered truths for all the world to see. Shaping their own images, telling their own stories, and defining their own spaces, SEEN survivors embody the essence of courage and hope. They achieve a greater sense of power and balance within themselves, and become an inspiration to others.

SeenSurvivors.org will publish the first series of eighteen portraits starting with “Duanna,” whose uplifting story and positive energy inspired the defining image of the collection. We encourage you to sign up to receive updates on future exhibitions and moderated public forums. The First Edition book of the book was released in Spring of 2022.

The Second Edition will be available for pre-order beginning Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can reserve your copy with a $30 donation beginning Black Friday. 

Dan Heller and the Sexual Assault Center thank Presenting Sponsor HCA Healthcare/ TriStar Health as well as The Frist Foundation and Smith-Douglas Homes for their generous support.

Keep up-to-date on the latest SEEN photos, stories, and book release.

Presented by HCA Healthcare / Tristar Health

With additional and generous support from
The Frist Foundation and Smith-Douglas Homes

20 thoughts on “S E E N

  1. Woww when I say the images were Amazing. Dan your talent is wonderful. The way you capture the emotions. Tears have been flowing all day after seeing these photos. The entire project was Awesome. Thank you Dan for all you do your work and talent is Amazing.

    1. I’ve been blessed to know Derek for just a few short years! He’s definitely a victor! His love and happiness is felt by all of us honored to know this wonderful man!

  2. I’ve known Derrick over 10 years and his story touched my heart and soul. His positive attitude and love for life has the ability to inspire others through his founding of Victim to Victor.

  3. It is so inspiring to see survivors thrive. These images are breathtaking. It’s amazing to see so many beautiful souls push through the trauma. I can’t wait to see the entire book. 🌻

  4. What astoundingly authentic, exciting images these are! I can’t wait to read every single story. Dan Heller has initiated and brought to fruition a vitally important project that will lift and heal each reader with these soul searing photographs and stories. Astounding!

  5. There is incredible power in moving from the role of victim to survivor. Dan’s images are way worth more than a thousand words and gives each of these stories room to breathe.

  6. What an amazingly profound project! The images not only poignantly capture the survivors’ unique healing journeys, but inspire others to tell their stories and be SEEN as well. This is healing in action. Thank you.

  7. These images pierced my heart. SEEN has inspired me to (finally) seek the help I need to begin my own healing journey. I’m ready to be SEEN, too! Thank you so much.

  8. What an incredible range of emotions Dan Heller captured in these photographs-from tranquil to triumphant, it is a revelation to see the subjects rise above their abuse each in their own way. Thanks to everyone involved in this project for shining light and spreading inspiration, I am truly moved and am positive that countless others will be too.

  9. Powerful stories and images that will undoubtedly be an inspiration to so many other survivors. Beautiful and moving!

  10. The imagery combined with the personal stories has created a work of art that is truly personal, significant, and memorable. These humans deserve their stories to be told and Dan was able to capture them in a beautiful and dignified way that only he could.

  11. Life imitates art, and art imitates life. Dan Heller has proven that is true in this awesome collection. The emotional depth of these photographs really makes me feel like I know the survivors. Dan has captured stories through his photos. Beautiful stories.

  12. “Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” Georgia O’Keeffe
    This project is a fine example of how great portrait photography can take the time time to truly see the subject and share that relationship with an image. Great work!

  13. A wake of effervescent light rolls through my innerlandscape as I stop and stare at these vingettes of true intimacy. Hello, I see you; I love you; I know you, Thriver. Thank you, Dan Heller, for empowering us all with your gentle listening and kindling for true stories. May all beings be FREE. With Love, Skye

  14. Hello im Dylan johnson, I was wondering if anyone knew how to get ahold of this company I would love to share my stories everything has been going on for about three years know

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