Photography project highlights ‘painful’ hidden illness

CANBERRA photographer Margaret Kalms is embarking on an unusual project to highlight a common but rarely-discussed illness, Endometriosis.

'No-one can see it'

One year after the launch of the Art Photography Project, ‘Life with Endometriosis’ Kalms hopes to raise awareness by making endometriosis visible to the wider community.

A debilitating disease that affects approximately one in 10 women worldwide, making it about as common as diabetes and asthma.

Endometriosis is defined as a chronic condition where the endometrial cells lining the womb migrate to other parts of the body. It causes painful bleeding and may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems, matters many people won’t talk about, preferring to suffer in silence.

"One in ten feet"

Kalms points out that she is not a medical professional but rather an art photographer, an ‘observer,’ stressing that neither is she a sufferer of endometriosis. In ‘Life with Endometriosis’, participants tell their story and their experiences of living with endometriosis. Kalms translates that into photos in an enjoyable process and the photos are used in talks about endometriosis, in art exhibitions and in an art photo book.

At the celebration, she plans to introduce the ongoing project by describing what has been achieved in a year, showing a short story that inspired her and show a presentation including 25 art photos, 21 of which are Kalms’ response to what women with endometriosis have told her.

She has arranged for a make-up artist, Sarah Bates, to ‘make guests beautiful’, at a discount. Guests should express interest with Bates on arrival. She will do ‘colours’ only, come with foundation on already. Kalms will have her camera and lights set up. You may invite family members for this. Portraits will be emailed, I’m not doing printing.

There will be a small amount of finger food, but the bistro is in the next room. Belconnen Soccer Club has waived the room hire to support ‘Life with Endometriosis’.

Kalms says Women with endometriosis are welcome as well as friends, family and people interested in endometriosis awareness or art photography. She is asking for a note as a donation of $5 or over. 50 per cent will go to endometriosis research and 50 per cent to ‘Life with Endometriosis’.

‘Life with Endometriosis’ celebration, at Belconnen Soccer Club, cnr Springvale Dr & Belconnen Way, Hawker Wednesday, August 26 6:30 – 10:00pm. RSVP by August 23 to Margaret lifewithendo@artofwoman.com.au or 0414 652 567.

(Photos by Margaret Kalm come from the ‘Life with Endometriosis’ project)

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Helen Musa
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