Pop Culture

Kickstartable: My Days of Losing Words: a Photo Book of Chronic Migraine

This week’s featured Kickstarter project is one that so many people will relate to. Rachael Jablo is creating a photo book that chronicles her struggle with chronic migraine headaches.

What made you want to share your personal experience with chronic migraines with the world? 

Migraine is by its nature an isolating disease. My instinct when I got sick was to hole up in my house, close the blinds, put on my sunglasses, and not talk to people. I feel fortunate to be an artist; for me there was never the chance of not doing something during those times, as it’s my instinct to always have a project going. My illness just became my project because it was the focus of my life. It took a publisher’s eye to tell me that the world would want to see the work. She pointed out that a lot of people have migraine, and said Kehrer Verlag wanted to do a book with me. The work was in a very early stage then, and I felt very vulnerable showing it, but I started researching and realized that I thought it could do a lot of good in the world.

Can you tell us three things you’ve learned along the way? 

A. Self-portraiture is incredibly difficult to do well. I’d never done it before this project, and I realized that while the photographs while I was sick were fairly easy (lie down, hit the shutter, done), as I tried to take good self-portraits while I was feeling better, to get a sense of healing, they became harder and harder, because I lacked the ability to relax my face while I was working. I have a new respect for models.

B. The migraine community is amazing, supportive, and needs more visibility. I recently did a piece on my work with, and I’d never before gotten such an amazing response to my work. I’ve heard from people all over the world sharing their stories and telling me what my work has meant to them. It’s by far the most gratifying experience I’ve had since starting this project, and definitely told me that I was on the right track. It also pointed out that while stories of migraine abound, we’re not seen often. Something about the visual changes things, I believe. It’s powerful and it resonates in a way that other things don’t.

C. Getting an art book published is difficult! Emerging artists with publishing deals need to front at least part of the money required to get the book to press, and so I spent a good part of the last year approaching various companies to see if they wanted to sponsor my book. Unfortunately those deals would have required giving up creative control, so I opted instead to go with Kickstarter. I’m thrilled with the decision because of the community involvement.

How do you see this book making the world a better place?

My hope is that “My Days of Losing Words” brings some much-needed visibility to chronic migraine. Because people see it as “just a headache,” it’s often overlooked. It really is a lot more than that, though. It can be fairly devastating to people’s lives, and hopefully if people see what it is, and understand a bit more about it, it will both bring more empathy, and perhaps in some part this new visibility will get some more funding to research projects.

Anyone who has ever suffered from delibilating headaches, or any chronic malady, can appreciate Rachel’s struggle. I love the idea of bringing awareness to something so common, yet so misunderstood.

My Days of Losing Words is available to be funded through Kickstarter through May 30, 2013.

Disclaimer: Please do not take this review or my personal endorsement of this project as investment advice. I am a lady blogger on the Internet, not an investment adviser, nor am I an angel investor myself.

3 replies on “Kickstartable: My Days of Losing Words: a Photo Book of Chronic Migraine”

It sounds like a good project. And I have never thought before about how difficult it would be to get an art book published! It’s hard enough getting a text-only book contracted.

I’m not saying it’s reasonable, but I’m irritated by Zach Braff raising so much money on Kickstarter, even more annoyed than I was at Amanda Palmer. I feel like famous people should stay off of there.

I’m actually fine with Zack Braff on Kickstarter. I mean, I won’t be donating to his project because I want another indy film about middle age white man problems like I want a hole in the head, but a few big attraction projects get people on the site and get them donating to other projects. Double Fine put the gaming category on the map, and I’d like to have a few other big names jump in on the other categories. It gets the site in people’s minds as a way to find new products and projects that are catered to their interests, and bigger projects getting successfully funded make room for other large projects. People worry about them steeling funds from other projects, but it seems more common that they act like doorbuster sales on Black Friday.

Amanda Palmer on the other hand… Getting over-funded and then asking for musicians to preform with you for free strikes me as exceedingly bad taste.

Leave a Reply