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 the project uses the same acronym as Inflammatory Bowel Disease—IBD because in 2009 Chiara was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This video openly shares the struggles she faced with loneliness, depression, disability, and body issues throughout her life.
Her mission is to combat negative feelings surrounding chronic intestinal diseases, surgery and scars. Awareness is an incredibly powerful tool to help us change, and Chiara is using these portraits to educate others about IBD and ostomies. "We hope that viewers will see the beauty of life because of having the surgery. My hope is that others will be inspired to love their unique differences and beauty within,” she says. These beautiful portraits of women who live with invisible illnesses showing their surgery scars and ostomies are amazing.
“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."