Women in Shadow and Light


“In Women in Shadow & Light, Jan Goff-LaFontaine tells the stories of forty women who show us there is nothing more powerful than coming together with the intention of helping each other, and all other women to heal. She has created the potential for these women to become healers as they bring their message of hope and love into the world through this book.” 

– Iyanla Vanzant, Author, Host of Iyanla, Fix My Life, teacher of Oprah’s Lifeclass.

Forty women—ages nineteen to ninety-five—bared all to express their triumph over trauma. In this daring approach, fine art black and white photography combines with moving interviews to portray the essence of each woman’s journey from the violence of abuse to transformation and healing. This is the most hope-filled book you will ever read about abuse and recovery.

Throughout my life I have carried tremendous shame and emotional pain around the physical abuse and rapes that happened to me from my childhood to my mid-twenties. At 52 years old, I still had not mustered the courage to address the abuse. When I discovered Jan’s book Women in Shadow and Light, I couldn’t put it down. A heavy lid cracked opened and tremendous emotion broke through. Feeling connected to the women in the book helped me realize I was not alone. This began my healing journey. This inspired book is a must-read for women survivors of abuse. Thank you, Jan, for this beautiful and powerful gift you have given us.—a reader in California

Jan Goff-LaFontaine’s came up with a revolutionary idea: that reconnecting abused women with their sense of beauty—achieved through fine art photography—would assist them in throwing off the shame that abuse so often causes. Goff-LaFontaine says, “Helping abused women rebuild their self-esteem, I have watched the wounded become healers. My new workshops utilize digital cameras to help abuse survivors find the beauty within themselves. I’ve discovered this method to be empowering and liberating for abuse survivors.”

“I’d like to hold out hope to other women…to let them know they aren’t alone; they aren’t the only ones these things happened to, and they can survive.”—Ellie

Begun as a photography exhibit, Out of the Shadows, the project started in rural Door County, Wisconsin, but eventually led Goff-LaFontaine to subjects across the nation as she sought to complete Women in Shadow and Light. The subjects are women who have experienced every economic situation from homelessness to the champagne lifestyle; they span many ethnicities and ages; they are the famous—such as Laura Davis, co-author of Courage to Heal—to the obscure—like the “ordinary” 62-year-old farm wife who left her abusive marriage. Each woman helped create her portrait as a personal symbol of healing, often focusing on one aspect of her body she felt was most affected in the healing process.