The other day I blogged about the groovy flickr app that let's you to type in a word and then gathers all the images tagged with that word. Well I've been playing with the tool and LOVING it. It's so fun and it's amazing how many images of dogs or graffiti or embroidery that are out there. Literally hundreds of thousands of them. Interestingly though, there aren't hundreds of thousands of images of diabetes. There are barely thousands. Around 3,000 images to be exact. Now when I think about how many people have diabetes, my first thought is that there should be lot's more. But then I think, hm, maybe it's not the funnest thing to photograph. And frankly, once I'm done with taking care of all the stuff I have to take care of just to manage the disease, spending time photographing it is probably the last thing I want to do. It's much funner to photograph flowers or my cat or friends at a party, right?
But then I got to thinking. Maybe one of the reasons this disease is so invisible to the world, is because, well, it actually is invisible. Meaning it's not really captured or shown much. There's no real picture of it. 600,000+ images of dogs, 3,000 images of diabetes. Hm. Calvin's video moved me so much because I saw him, but I also saw myself in him, as I watched his story. It was visible to me through a media I'm totally familiar with. Film, video, pictures. As human beings, we're visually oriented by nature. Yet, if very few actual PICTURES exist of diabetes, how do others (or even ourselves for that matter) really SEE it. We've all commented on our blogs, in one form or another, that the act of making this experience visible has helped us immensly. Visibility does help. It helps me see my experience from the outside in. It helps me see others experiences and empathize, learn and be comforted that I am not alone.
So I've been thinking that I'm going to start taking a few pictures a week to try to capture and make my life with diabetes more visible. I'm not going to get hard core about it and say "I need to take a photo a day" (though I think that would be cool to see too). I'm going to start small and see where it takes me. At the very least it'll add some more visible images of diabetes to the 3,000 ones that already exist on flickr. It'd be cool, if anyone else out there wants to try this too. I'll set up a flickr set of my images and a flickr pool called diabetes made visible for anyone else who wants to add their pics to the pile. It could be an open source, collective type "documentary" of diabetes...or not. We'll see where it goes. We'll see what becomes visible. We'll just see, which is the point really.