Jodi McKee has quickly become one of my heroes. Among other things, she's a talented photographer, a wife, a friend, a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient, and just a wonderful person.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon Jodi's work a few months back and have to share her with you all. She has a wide range of subjects and interests, but one of my favorite sets of photos is called "64 colors " - a project she developed with her friend that presents a "a diptych each week inspired by the names and colors found in the sixty-four pack of crayola crayons." Her work is amazing...take a look around!
Jodi's Autoimmune Portrait Project (yep, that's me on June 3rd) is what really drew me to her. Her goal is to portray the often vibrant, strong faces of chronic illness and bring awareness to a world that often can't believe disease could reside there. She writes, "My hope is that I can spread the word about all of the younger people out there who are dealing with these chronic, often painful, illnesses. Also, I think it is very important for the newly diagnosed to be able to see all of these beautiful, happy faces and know that they are not the only one out there."
It took me about - oh a minute - to know I wanted to be part of this project. While I can't say I like having my photo taken, Jodi made the experience so enjoyable. It was awesome to spend those hours with her and I felt understood in a pretty fantastic way. Among other reasons, I think it was that "arthritis connection" between us. It was unspoken, but it was there. If we needed to stop and rest, we just did. We talked and laughed and met a puppy named Randolph. I'm excited to do it again.
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis hasn't been easy, but Jodi has obviously found tremendous purpose in her diagnosis. She has a certain grace about her and I think this project speaks to the special person she is. Thanks for everything you do, Jodi!