Photographing Invisible Illness
Over the next two years I will be embarking on an interesting new project on the subject of 'invisible illness' and how certain illnesses are misunderstood and under-recognised within society because they are not outwardly visible.
As someone with an auto immune condition I understand the challenges this presents and how hard it can be to be understood. I will be looking for people to photograph in the West Cornwall area who consider themselves to have an invisible illness and would be willing to explore that in a visual way.
We all owe it to each other to use whatever means possible to make our voices heard, raise awareness, challenge assumptions and create a world in which illnesses that are not immediately apparent are treated in the same way as illnesses that are visible.
I am aware there have been photo-projects before on this same subject however, I want to try and do something quite different. I will be asking everyone who wishes to be photographed for this project to answer some simple questions about their condition in a visual context. The questions I will pose to you will help me find a visual metaphor.
What is your invisible illness?
If your condition was an animal what would it be?
Can you describe your condition in 3 words?
In a sentence can you describe how your condition makes you feel PHYSICALLY?
In a sentence can you describe how your condition makes you feel EMOTIONALLY?
Nothing is off limits really. For example, if you would like to be photographed surrounded by roaring lions because this is how anxiety feels then I can use some editing magic to make that happen. So don't hold back on your visualisations! Of course being photographed curled up in bed with your dog is also a perfectly acceptable way to describe your condition. It doesn't have to be surreal or outlandish – it can also be a gentle portrayal of how your condition has shaped you into who you are today.
Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of invisible illnesses and conditions
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
· Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain
· Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorder
· Digestive Disorders (such as; IBS, Colitis, Crohns)
· Migraine, tinnitus
· Lyme Disease
· Multiple Sclerosis
If you would like to feature in my photography project please get in touch either through my website or Facebook. If you would like to get involved but remain anonymous in the finished portrait that's fine too.
I am in the process of seeking crowdfunding for this project. I'll post more details of what the funding is for, whether I was successful in finding it and what I plan to do with the portraits in terms of exhibiting later on.
This information including the questions is available in PDF:
Thanks for reading,