The Invisible Body Disabilities Project is the vision of artist and photographer Chiara DeMarchi. From her home studio located in northern Italy, she captures stunning, unretouched photos of women living with invisible illnesses. “I’m so blessed to have so many people come into my home studio. They came in with hope in their eyes, wearing the scars of their battles and a great desire to live,” she told The Mighty last year.
It’s no coincidence that this project uses the same acronym as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) because in 2009 Chiara herself was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Her mission is to combat negative feelings surrounding chronic intestinal diseases, surgery, and scars. This video openly shares the struggles she faced with loneliness, depression, disability, and body issues throughout her life.
In collaboration with the Italian Association of IBD, AMICI Onlus, Chiara is using these portraits and other projects to increase awareness about IBD and ostomies. On her blog she wrote, "Education is a powerful tool that can change perceptions. We hope that viewers will see the beauty of life because of having the surgery. My wish is that others are inspired to love their unique differences and feel beautiful within.”
These stunning portraits of women living with invisible illnesses are simply gorgeous.
“I decided that it was time to take back my life. So scared but convinced of the choice, I had surgery which made me a permanent ileostomate. The hospitalization was tiring and difficult, but I was full of energy and wanted to start living again. My new life and my new story begins from there, July 2014. From that moment, I understood that this disease was not a monster to defeat, but a gift that allowed me to grow and mature. It has allowed me to become more sensitive, so I can better understand the struggles of others."
Chiara DeMarchi's book, Women Fighters, is available on Amazon.