March 13, 2011

What Do You See?

Pictures are powerful.  Images of the devestation from the earthquake in Japan have been flying around the web and news outlets, expectant new fathers stand anxiously by while their wives give birth, camera in hand, and photographers sometimes generate the highest bill for couples getting married. 

Those of us with invisible illnesses spend quite a bit of time thinking about images; about the visual world around us.  As you know by now, we more and more turn to images as symbols of the unseen battles our bodies fight each day.  Our illnesses are like the wind - known only by the effects they have, effects which can move heaven and earth and shape mountains in our lives.  You can't see the wind but know it is what blows leaves from the trees.  Likewise, you often can't see something under a microscope for our diagnoses, but the pain, exhaustion, or damaged joints are just as real as the naked trees.

We used many pictures to help convey our messages at the VU+UII panel (thank you again to everyone who contributed).  Our display was one way to use images to send a message.  Blogger Mama, a fellow Sjoggie who writes about her experiences as a patient with invisible illnesses and stay at home mom to a dynamo of a toddler, has taken on her own project using photos in another way to spread awareness.  Visit her latest post, Pop Quiz Time.  There, you can look at a few pictures and leave your guess as to who has an illness and what that illness might be.  It promises to be a very interesting reveal when she shares the results in a week!

Want to "see" more?  Check out these blogs and friends of mine on Twitter, who use photography and other visual arts in amazing ways!


  1. Hi,
    Thank you for mentioning my blog - The Feeding Edge. I agree that images are very powerful and can be used to convey messages in a stronger way. When you can tie those images to powerful words or a story that also support a cause... that is when I'm most captivated. Some days I've made images that directly relate to Ankylosing Spondylitis but my blog serves mostly as a place for people to go to be uplifted and given hope. With the community of health bloggers I'm becoming connected to I find that we all tell the story of our chronic invisible illness in unique ways - helping raise awareness - one word and one image at at time. Best, Jenna Visscher

  2. just found your blog thru a RT of @abeeliever. Glad to read your thoughts! I love the imagery of the wind.. the unseen being powerful in that way.

  3. Wow a meeting of the "Jen" minds! I can't tell you how many Jennifers/Jennys/Jennas I've met in the past few weeks - it's bizarre!

    Jenny V - I love what you do, it's very exciting! Also, I saw something about AS today and thought of you;)

    Jenny - Welcome, and nice to meet you! As I'm sure you know, I'm not that creative - the wind as a metaphor for invisible illnesses it one of the older references; truly an oldie but a goodie! The wind has so many effects on the environment, but has NO visible qualities unto itself. It's a perfect comparison to so many conditions. Glad you enjoyed it - hope to see more of you here!


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