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We Rise Again



Boy, it's been a very eventful couple of weeks, and not in the best ways! I'll get into more of the medical stuff on a later date when I feel up to t...
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Boy, it's been a very eventful couple of weeks, and not in the best ways! I'll get into more of the medical stuff on a later date when I feel up to tackling the whole story, but I had my sinus surgery. Unfortunately I also had a very strange complication afterward which caused an artery at the back of my sinuses to burst, leading to me losing 2-3 pints of blood and having to have emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. It's been about a week since then and nothing else weird has happened so I'm hoping I'm out of the woods now!



This does kind of lead me into the idea behind this self portrait. The initial inspiration came several months ago when, while routinely checking my blog's stats, I found a phrase typed into a search engine which had led someone to my blog: “I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I want to give up.”



I'll never know who that person was, but I wanted to help them. I wrote a post at the time, written to this unknown person, but I'd wanted to do a photo for my Enchanted Sleep series, http:--www.sarahallegra.com-ME.html, around the idea as well. It's obviously taken me a while to do; my first attempt was less than great and I had to figure out what was wrong and then find time to reshoot it. But the image is finally done and posted.



Surviving any kind of chronic illness is all about getting up again when you get knocked down. You try and minimize the number and severity of instances when you'll get knocked down, but it's certain to happen. The only way to beat it is to keep getting up... time after time, after time. It is not a sprint of pushing yourself through a hard time but a marathon of rebounding from falls and scrapes and breaks.



I certainly understand this person's feeling. Everyone with any chronic illness will want to give up at least at times. But I hope that they, and I, and everyone else with this struggle, will find the will to get up one more time.




See my blog, http:--sarahallegra.wordpress.com-2014-11-18-rising-again-, for more about the image and what else I've been up to!






*Twitter: http:--twitter.com-sarahallegra
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*Blog: http:--sarahallegra.wordpress.com-
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14 Comments | Report
Remraf
 
Remraf June 11, 2015
Great shot!
1991amanverma
 
1991amanverma June 11, 2015
i think the picture says it all .. awesome
Bernard3616
 
Bernard3616 June 17, 2015
Formidable!!
elizabethannelemke
 
elizabethannelemke June 23, 2015
I am a chronic pain sufferer. This picture hit home. Brilliant!
jennifersummer PRO+
 
jennifersummer June 25, 2015
This is lovely.
subhasisghosh
 
subhasisghosh July 15, 2015
very nice
Bishoop
 
Bishoop August 07, 2015
Wicked !
giannispietro
 
giannispietro August 16, 2015
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
giannispietro
 
giannispietro August 16, 2015
Wonderful liigt and sharpness... its as if I was there. Reminds me of all the entrance ways in all the houses I used to live in.
greenfrog482
 
greenfrog482 August 24, 2015
There is so much emotions within this photo! It is so strong of an image. The placement of the person ( in middle of a doorway), the hands( searching for the power within to go on),the curls of the hair and not seeing the face....truly heartfelt!....Thanks
Walt
 
Walt September 16, 2015
Dramatic Image.....
Kitsea PRO
 
Kitsea November 03, 2016
This is terrific Sarah. You seem to step outside to the fringes of your comfort zone with your art, and your boldness and honesty brings you to a higher level.
ablackwell PRO
 
ablackwell Jan 08
Marketing stuff aside ... I really enjoyed you testimony. Never Never Never give up ... and btw this image is simply fantastic. I love it and it is selfshot. Big big props!!!
rinhoshigumo
 
rinhoshigumo May 21
This sort of creeps me!

Behind The Lens

Location
This self portrait was taken inside a short hallway of my old home. The kitchen is to the left of the photo, where I had set up a softbox to provide some light.
Time
This was taken in mid-afternoon one day, after several hours of trying to talk myself into shooting this, and it was my second or third attempt at creating this image. The first few times trying it told me what I *didn't* want the image to be, but nailing the final shot proved trickier than I'd expected! I'd thought about giving up on the concept but I decided to give it one more try, even though I was very tired that day and I'm so glad I did!
Lighting
I used a nice, large softbox in the kitchen, which is the room you see the doorway of in the left frame of the image. Honestly, I put it there because that was basically the only spot I could fit any kind of larger light source!
Equipment
I used a Nikon D5100, an 18-55 old kit lens and a remote shutter release to trigger the camera. My camera was mounted on a small, lightweight tripod to keep it very still since I was shooting in fairly low-light conditions.
Inspiration
I have myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME, also known sometimes as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or fibromyalgia) which causes chronic pain and exhaustion. It's a bit like having the flu every day of your life (although, thankfully, usually without the intense stomach upset that typically accompanies the flu!) Very small tasks like going to the grocery store or even walking to my mailbox can be overwhelmingly taxing for me, so I spend most of every day in bed. ME is poorly understood even in the medical community, with no cause or cure yet found, and many doctors who still refuse to believe it's a real, physical illness. It's difficult to advocate for a whole group of sufferers, or even yourself, when simply surviving each day can be so challenging. However, we do not give up. Despite all the challenges we face, we keep going, and we keep pushing doctors and law-makers to keep searching for answers. I wanted to shoot this self portrait not only to remind myself that I can get through much tougher situations than I often think I can, but that so can everyone... whether you have ME or not. We are all stronger than we
Editing
I didn't do very much to this in post. I did some cleaning up of the image (like removing the remote shutter release from where I'd tossed it on the floor), tweaking colors, dodging and burning through curves layers, but this was a fairly straight-forward image.
In my camera bag
Up until now I've been mostly shooting with a Nikon D5100 (like what I shot this image with) but I recently upgraded my camera body. I haven't shot anything with the new one yet as I haven't had enough days in a row where I've been well enough to shoot! Other than that, I have my old 18-55mm kit lens, which I first got as a gift over 10 years ago, along with a beautiful, and comparatively newer, 1.4 50mm Nikkor lens. I always carry extra batteries, memory cards, remotes and batteries for my remotes because they can get lost easily! I also carry a flash, a diffuser for the flash, a zoom lens and a variety of physical filters to shoot through, but I actually rarely use any of those!
Feedback
People seem to respond mostly to the emotion that this image has, more so than any other element. I think that the image being so grounded in reality and displaying hope despite the darkness and difficulty is what catches peoples' attention. Try to photograph something that is true for you! It doesn't have to be a literal representation; you can shroud it in as many layers of metaphor and mystery as you'd like, but it seems that when you start with a kernel of truth, people can sense that and respond to it. I'd also say don't let any lack of a "proper" photography space ever stop you! This hallway was literally about three feet wide and four feet long... maybe five feet. There weren't any rooms in this house where I could easily set up my camera and just shoot away; it always had to be through a doorway from another room, from a high vantage to block out furniture, sheets pinned to a wall to make a solid background or other tricks of framing. Despite these challenges, I shot dozens and dozens of photographs inside and around this house and I love them! Sure, it would be nice to have a dedicated studio where I could leave my equipment out instead of rushing to put it away because it's blocking the doorway to the only bathroom, for example, but don't let any tight quarters you may find yourself living in stop you from shooting the images you want to create! A little creativity will get you everywhere! :)

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