Thursday, 1 March 2012

Raising awareness of ME with Juliet Chenery-Robson

Hello lovelies,

I hope you are all well. What a lovely sunny day it is today!

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about an exhibition preview I went to last night (29th February 2012). It was by the wonderful photographer and my friend, Juliet Chenery-Robson and ME North East. I've seen Juliet's work before a little while ago when I worked with her on her 'A Diagnosis of Exclusion' exhibition at the Durham Art Gallery. It was such a privilege to be able to work with Juliet, and help her exhibit her amazing work.

The exhibition I went to see last night was an amalgamation of both 'A Diagnosis of Exclusion' and 'Unpredictable Patterns'. A series of images that explore the illness Myalgic Encephalopathy, or ME. It detailed the lives of those living with the illness, and raises awareness to audiences who perhaps disbelieve, or do not understand the complexity and severity of ME.

Juliet's images make you realise just how debilitating ME can be. It isolates the sufferer, and makes every day a struggle. For those who have been ill in the past- maybe with things like the flu, you can remember just how ill you felt- but could you imagine feeling like this for years? Sufferers of ME can be ill for a very long time, with awful symptoms, sometimes being just too poorly and weak to even leave their beds.

Here are a few of the images from the exhibition...

Juliet has created a series of striking portraits of people who live under the shadow of this illness. Each portrait is taken in their personal space where they spend the most time with their possessions around them but little clue to their situation.

“ME is still shrouded with an aura of disbelief and misconception,” said Juliet. “I didn’t want to show them as victims. The double standard is that people with ME often look fine which is also the problem, as people think they are making up their illness.”

ME is another one of the 'invisible illness'' like depression etc, that people often do not believe- they think it's 'all in the mind'. But it is only once you come face to face with images like Juliet's, the writings of those who suffer, know a sufferer, or care for a sufferer, or even have the illness yourself, do you understand the true nature of these such awful illness'.

Every time I look at Juliet's images I really can feel the ME sufferers pain. Having been a sufferer of an 'invisible illness' (depression) myself, I know what it is like for everyone to think you look okay on the outside and not understand the pain you're going through inside, and my heart goes out to those with ME. The images can be quite upsetting, as my Mum demonstrated last night- crying at the exhibition! bless her- but it is just the reality of ME. There is hope though, many people do recover from the illness, and there is so much support and love available for them from those who understand the condition.

I hope that through this blog and showing Juliet's amazing work, I can maybe just help to raise awareness a little and help people to understand the illness.

Thank you for reading,

Much love,

Laura xXxXx
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  1. Wow, I love this post :) Very inspiring xx

  2. Thank you hunny :) Juliet's work is wonderful :) xXxXx