Bob Carey has been taking photos of himself in nothing but a pink tutu for nine years in places from the Grand Canyon to a corn field to a motel bed.
But the 51-year-old Arizona native and his tutu photos have become an Internet phenomenon this week after he e-mailed his 1,300-plus Facebook friends about his book, Ballerina, to benefit breast cancer research.
It's just like blown up. My head's going to explode, Carey told International Business Times.
Carey said the symbolism of the pink tutu and its connection to breast cancer awareness [pink ribbons denote breast cancer awareness] is entirely coincidental; he started taking the self-portraits before his wife Linda's diagnosis.
It was not planned. It's a great coincidence because people have been really responding to it, he said. And the comments I've been getting on Facebook is amazing.
It's amazing all the love and support everyone's given us around the world, he said, referring to The Tutu Project, which has a Facebook page that has nearly 6,000 likes as of Tuesday afternoon along with a website, www.tutuproject.com.
I knew the project was important for me to do because my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago, Carey said.
Ballerina will include photographs of Carey in his pink tutu and humorous stories about his experiences. Proceeds will go to breast cancer research. Carey is raising money to self-publish the book.
The photos show Carey [he's wearing shorts underneath the tutu, although they're not visible in the pictures] and his tutu at the Grand Canyon, a motel, a New York City subway platform and a corn field, among other locales.
Carey said the pink tutu sometimes led to stares and questions about whether the images are appropriate for children. But Carey argues kids see humor in the photos and don't think he's crazy or gay.
They say, 'Not around the kids,' But kids love these pictures and they think it's hilarious, Carey said.
While Linda initially beat breast cancer, the disease recurred in 2006. But she has been on chemotherapy ever since and Bob Carey said his wife's condition has not worsened in those five years.
The doctors can't believe how good she's doing, Carey said. This [book] is kind of just sending a message to women and families: the doctors say one thing, there's always hope for people that they can live with [cancer] and function with it.