Student Artist: Kaitlyn Brennan

artist statement

"I'm okay!" This is the immediate response of everyone with a chronic illness. We put on a smile and positive attitude and pretend we are fine. Beneath the surface though we are crying out in pain, in sorrow, in anger. The goal of myself and my amazing photographers was to capture what is beneath the facade of the chronically ill. Our photo series digs beneath the surface of my positivity mask that I put on to hide my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, POTS, and hemiplegic migraines. The rawness of these photos helps to illuminate the truth that chronic illnesses are debilitating. An "I'm okay" face does not mean that I am okay. I am not okay.

About the Artist

Kaitlyn (Katy) Brennan is a teenager living with multiple chronic illnesses including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Hemiplegic Migraines, and more. She uses her writing and photography to help spread awareness for her various conditions. She is also very involved in Best Buddies, Sign Language, JSA and Interact along with being a third grade cheerleading coach. You can find her writing on The Mighty and The Odyssey. Special thank you to the amazing photographers, Isabelle Chin and Sophie Perry, who perfectly captured these photographs.

About the Photographers

Sophie Perry is a high school photographer who loves taking pictures of anything and everything. She is an avid volleyball player, involved student counsel member and an overall great person. She hopes to play volleyball in college and continue her photography and videography. [Perry's photography is featured in the gallery above.]

Isabelle Chin is an aspiring high school photographer who is getting her start taking portraits. In her free time Isabelle takes photos, participates in her community, and plays violin. She is a violinist in CYSO and Vivaldi Strings in addition to her musical presence in her high school choir. Isabelle hopes that these photos can aspire others with chronic illnesses and help her model, Kaitlyn Brennan, cope with her diagnoses. [Chin's photography is featured with Brennan's contributor bio.]