Amara’s Story [brisbane photojournalism]

Just before Christmas I decided to give away the gift of a portrait session via my blog. The recipient was drawn randomly and when I opened the piece of paper I excitedly emailed the winner. It’s always interesting with a random draw as I don’t know who the winner is or any details of their story or who they are.  And so, I came to meet a woman named Amara. Over the coming weeks we emailed several times and I learnt that Amara suffers from ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and for the most part is home bound.  She told me about her debilitating condition and a project that she and a friend created to provide solutions for people in circumstances like their own.  So for this session, I planned to help Amara capture a little of her journey.
When I met Amara on the day of the shoot,  I instantly felt the warmth of her soul. In the midst of a darkened room I could see a beautiful soul bound by the limitations of her body.  Even something as simple as getting a cup of water can be inhibited by weakness, confusion, stuttering, involuntary spasms and dizziness.  In my time with Amara I saw both sides of her daily life, moments of rest and clarity and in a split second followed by moments of involuntary movements and confusion. As I thought about her condition and how different it was to my life I tried to make a parallel to her frustrations.  I pictured in my mind her brain wanting to do something, but having a body that didn’t always work the way she desired.  As we chatted,  I told her how I somewhat likened it to the time I had borrowed a camera very different to my own to have a play with, and it seemed completely backward to what I knew of my usual gear.  Where I could see what I wanted to do in my minds eye but this ‘thing’ was holding me back, doing things I didn’t want it to and frustrating me in trying to achieve the basic settings and way of shooting I was used to.   Amara said that was a good illustration and is the way it frequently is on a daily basis.
However even with Amara’s illness so evident, I saw a true picture of the woman inside. A woman who loves to read books and yearns to write often. A woman who loves to help others and see people move forward. A woman who loves her cat and adores nature. A woman who would like nothing more than to spend a morning scouring for vintage treasures with a friend.  And in talking about these things with her I saw a beautiful hope inside her eyes. A hope that perhaps her change will come very soon.  With Amara’s permission I will share a few images from her story.   You can read more about Amara’s journey and project here.  Maddie x



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