Welcome to Capturing Chronic Illness

Title: Chronic Back Pain, from the series How I Hurt
Image copyright: Justin J Wee
Image Description: Image of a glass receptacle against a blue background, holding white, semi-transparent objects, with highlights of red.

This exhibition and online event are organised by Dr Donna McCormack (University of Surrey) and Dr Ingrid Young (University of Edinburgh). This project emerges out of our experience with and research on chronic illness, as well as our long-standing interest in and practice of photography. Capturing Chronic Illness opens up a virtual space for exploring the visual meaning of living with illness(es) and disabilities, and this includes a desire to engage with how we live with and represent illness. 

Chronic illness may shape our sense and experience of health, illness and medicine. We want to explore the meanings of these, as well as extend out to how gender, race, age, sexuality, disability, sex, geography and mobilities also inform our experiences and representations of chronic illness. We see this project as a development of our interactive feminist and queer thinking on chronic illness and in so being we see the dialogue on photography and chronic illness as an important political step in understanding and being active in the need for health, wellbeing and social justice. 

We acknowledge that our work in this area is indebted to many brilliant photographers, whose creative work has informed our thinking and our desire to engage more deeply in this topic. Therefore this website attempts to showcase existing photographic work from these artists, as well as to host discussions about how our experiences of chronic illness and photography have been informed and affected by this work.

This site will feature a digital exhibition in and resources that explore how photography can be used to capture chronic illness. Read more about who is behind the project , our current call for submissions to the digital exhibition and information about our live event in November 2020.