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I have had chronic migraine since June 2008. Without medication, the pain makes me lose the ability to speak; with medication, I have side effects that cause me to forget words. For My Days of Losing Words, I created color photographs that act as synthetic memories of my lost words and this time of being inarticulate and in pain. The one-word titles refer to words that got lost in a netherworld between pain and sanity. The self-portraits remain (inarticulately) untitled.

I never stop shooting. I carried a list of words that I've lost over time, and when I saw something that jogged my memory of a word, I shot it and crossed the word off. Early on in the illness, I was stuck either in my house or in medical spaces for months on end, so I started shooting words there. This early work consists mainly of three types of images: domestic still lifes; documentary images of medical spaces; and self-portraits at home and in medical spaces.

For a long time, I thought my headache was as good as it was going to get—constant, low-grade pain. Thanks to a medical breakthrough, I now finally have days without pain. This has meant the inclusion of new work that shows how my life has improved. Natural light, once rare in my photos, began to creep in and take over the images at the end of the series. The tunnel vision of my earlier photographs gave way to space, light, and, eventually, the vast expanse of a new horizon.

Growth.

Cliche verre.

Looking out the window from 35,000 feet up, so much of what you see could be anywhere: above the clouds, the world is identical. I travel a lot, and so spend a lot of time in these in-between spaces. I am everywhere, anywhere, nowhere.

Flying, for me, is a fantastic way to be away from everything. Without my phone or computer, I am able to observe the skies passing by me as a pure form of entertainment and beauty. The sky changes by the minute. I photograph the passing skyscape, sometimes catching the reflection of my camera or myself in the images.

I present the resulting images in grids of different sized archival pigment prints mixed together, a field of shades of blue, gray, pink, and white.

The circus is a tiny closed off arena of forgetfulness. For a space it enables us to lose ourselves, to dissolve in wonder and bliss, to be transported by mystery.

—Henry Miller, The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder

I photograph spaces normally restricted to the public in some way. I create voyeuristic experiences that result in the feeling of peering into a world where one is not supposed to be. These photographs are rarely about a particular object; rather, they focus on the absence of people in the space. It is this relationship that creates the subject matter.

Under a Circus Sky is a series of large scale intensely colored traditional c-prints shot in the quiet moments in and around old-fashioned one-ring circus tents. Between performances, I go inside the big top, photographing the glittery detritus and empty seats after the circus. As the lights come up, I disappear backstage, behind the tent, into the performers' shadows, amongst their props and homes. I use long exposures to capture what is eclipsed by the spectacle—performers' trailers, the machinery and heavy cables needed to erect and support the tent, the ropes and rigging gear for each apparatus - the stillness and anticipation behind the spectacle.

In shooting the circus tent without the performance, I emphasize the illusion that the tent adds to the experience. Each aspect of the edifice seems designed to throw off your sense of normalcy. Entering a temporary fabric building thrown up on an empty lot, you are protected from the elements but still feel surrounded by them. The floor is asphalt or dirt, and the deep blue ceiling mimics the night sky. The ephemeral, illusory essence of the circus itself emanates from the building that houses it. Devoid of the performers and spectators who give the circus its usual energy, my images evoke an unnatural sense of silence, like a nomadic ghost town.

RACHAEL JABLO
My Days of Losing Words - Book Project
This sequence of photographs is a minor miracle. As it diagrams the photographer's inarticulateness in the thrall of pain, the imagery simultaneously implies recovery and self-consciousness.
Jablo's self-portrait is both personal and universal, acutely capturing the interrupted actions, idiosyncratic details, and pharma-centric phenomena that are endemic to all who suffer such debilitating disorders. Jablo charts the topography of migraine with remarkable eloquence.
—George Slade, re:photographica, Minneapolis
I believe that My Days of Losing Words is not only an art book; it is a book about us. Chronic migraine affects over 3 million people in the US alone - and yet, we are largely invisible.
My Days of Losing Words is available through any bookstore or online at, for example, amazon.com or photoeye.com.
Media Coverage
ABC Los Angeles | CBS Los Angeles | NPR - The Takeaway | Migraine.com | L'Oeil de la Photographie | Slate Magazine | Photo District News Photo of the Day | LENSCRATCH | fototazo
Thank you!
The book would not have come to life without the support of the great people who generously backed the fundraiser: Alejandro Cartagena, Alexander Mauskop at the New York Headache Center, Alex Barszap, Alex Linde, Alex Price, Alice Towey, Alison Gilchrest, Alison Read, Alyssa Shannon, Amy Gould, Amy Hughes, Amy Martyn, Amy Wellersdick, Andrew J Sullivan, Anne Jablo, Anton Berteaux, Arsenio Santos, BethAnn Earl, Bill Knudstrup, Bill Stern, Brandie Albright, Brendan Coffey, Brian Cayne at Qatalyst Partners, Brian Donovan, Britt Levy, Bryan David Griffith, Bryan Kutner, Candy Meacham, Carolyn Susannah Tysor, Cindy Grindr, Corinne Crowley, Craig Kaplan, Dana, Dan Morgan, Dan Tran, Darren Riesz, David Katz, David Pace, Deborah Haber, Deborah Jackson Weiss, Derick Bulkley, Devin Pfister, Dr. Diane Wirz, Diep Truong, Dominik Lopatic, Doris Beers, Eileen Jones, Elaine McFarland, Elisabeth Allen, Elizabeth Hendler, Ellen Avery, Elliot Olschwang, Erica Roggeveen Byrne, Erika and Alfons Lopatic, Eryn Starun and Graham Stroh, Fiona Russell, Gail Woodall, Gregory Murphy, Heather Musto, Heather Sauer, Henry Andrews, Holland Gary, Jaime Michele Sanders, James Wells, Janet Corroo R.N., Janet Jones, Jean N. Goodrich, Jeffrey Thomas, Jeff Smith, Jen Lucas, Jennifer Bishop, Jennifer Temple, Jenni Prokopy, Jessica Cramer, Jessica Ree, Joanie Ward Smith, Joanna Casson, Joan Weisberg, Joan Wolkerstorfer, Joel Messerer, Johanna Walsh, John McDonald, John Simon, Jordana Golden, Jordana Joseph, Jordan Burton, Julio Mendez, Karin Krier, Karla Rossi, Kasey Ochs, Katherine Hendler, Kathryn, Kathryn Utsey, Kaye Van Valkenburg, Kemp Mullaney, Kevin Criqui, Kimberly Blessing, Kristin Wright, Larissa Taurins-Crawford, Lars Klawitter, Laurence & Samantha Malinger, Leslie Wright, Lien Zimmerman, Lindsey Burk, Lisa Stein Stoutmeyer, Liz Nutting, Lori Orson, Lori Summers, Louise and Lake Polan, Louise Elizabeth Parker, Lyle Gray, Lyrania, Magda Pecsenye, Mandy Foster, Margaret Maldonado, Maria Maragudakis, Marilyn Polan, Marsha Steirn, Martha Bayless, Mary Peelen, Matthew Black, Matthias Kunze, Melissa Jankowski, Melissa Serpa, Merrill C Hoyt, Michael Cates, Michelle Mansour, Miriam Pokora, Mojgan Khodadoust & Brendan Coffey, Myriam Joire, Neil Kandalgaonkar, Nicole I. Bernat, Nina Pan, Patricia Lopatic, Peggy McGovern Stumhofer, Petrina Wielgos, Rachel DiVerdi, Raf Vantuykom, Ralph, Ralph Bloch, Ray Thro, Rebecca Olla, Rebecca Pearson, Rebecca Polan, Rebecca Sherouse, Rhonda Nicole, Rob Vass, Ms. Robin Sharrer, Robyn Strelitz, Rosilyn Polan, Ruth Mays, Ryan Moran, Sally & Cy Jablo, Sara Garcia, Sarah Crane Newman, Sarah De Berry-Caperton, Sarah Einstein, Sarah Nelson, Sarah Rose Cole, Scott Miller, Sean McCormick, Selene Foster, Shabbir Safdar, Sharon Vinson, Shiela Lowman, Sidney Polan, Stacy, Steve Jablo, Susan King, Sven Haiges, Tara Harwood, Terry Lowery, Theresa Timlin, Toban Nichols, Tom Whittaker, Traci Morgan, Victor Landweber, Wendi, Wendy Keebler, William
Education
2003 MFA, New Genres, San Francisco Art Institute
2001 Post Baccalaureate Certificate, Photography, San Francisco Art Institute
1997 AB, History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
1996 Goldsmiths College, University of London
Books and Catalogs
2013 My days of losing words, monograph, Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany
2009 Under a Circus Sky, solo exhibition catalog, George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, California
2012 Momentum, group exhibition catalog, Women's Caucus for the Arts, Los Angeles, California
2009 Analogous, group exhibition catalog, Runnels Gallery, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico
2007 Home, group exhibition catalog, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2007 Systems and Transmutations, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
Solo Exhibitions
2014 My days of losing words (upcoming), MSB Gallery, New York University, New York, New York
2013-2014 My days of losing words, The Gallery at the LRC, UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California
2009 Under a Circus Sky, George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, California
2007 Circus Project/Proyecto Circo, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland, California
2007 New Works by Rachael Jablo, Epic Arts, Berkeley, California
2003 San Francisco Art Institute Masters Thesis Show, Fort Mason, San Francisco, California
2002 Circle, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California
Selected Group Exhibitions
2014 Encuentros Abiertos (upcoming), Soirées Fotograficas, Festival de la Luz, various locations, Argentina
2014 Paris Photo LA, Kehrer Verlag booth, Los Angeles, California
2013 Crafted at Rayko, book signing, Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco, California
2013 Me, Myself and I, Rayko Gallery, San Francisco, California
2013 New Directions, Wall Space Gallery, Santa Barbara, California, and Seattle, Washington
2012 Momentum (juror Rita Gonzalez), Gallery 825, Los Angeles, California (catalog)
2011 Insatiable, Kniznick Gallery, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
2010 The New Normal, Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado
2010 Garden of Earthly Delights, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2010 SICK, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2009 Family Pictures, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2009 Under the Big Top, Femina Potens Gallery, San Francisco, California
2009 Analagous, Runnels Gallery, Portales, New Mexico
2008 The Weather Underground, Garage Biennial, San Francisco, California
2008 Red, San Mateo City Hall Gallery, San Mateo California
2008 Biophilia, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2007 Carny Art, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, California
2007 Glimpses in Time, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland, California
2007 Home, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2007 Systems and Transmutations, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2006 3 Minute Film Festival, San Francisco, California
2006 Boombox, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
2006 New Visions: Introductions, 2006 Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California
2006 Awake! Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland, California
2005 You Don't Know San Francisco, InvisibleVenue.com (screenings in London, UK and San Francisco, California)
2005 New Visions: Introductions, 2005, Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California
2003 Proyecto Circo, 8th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba
2003 An Evening of Performance, Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, Cuba
2002 Loaded, Reed Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio
2002 Continuing MFA Exhibition, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California
2002 Nevada Plus, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California
2001 Nevada Plus, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California
Curatorial Projects
2010 SICK, co-curated with Jaren Bonillo and Sarah Stolar, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco, California
Awards and Residencies
2012 Scholarship, Review Santa Fe
2011 Clarence John Laughlin Award, Honorable Mention
2010 Contributing Artist, Society for Curious Thought
2006 - 2010 Resident Artist, Root Division
2008 Critical Mass Finalist, Photolucida Book Contest
2007 Gordon Parks Award, Joyce Gordon Gallery
2006 Eureka Prize Nominee, Fleishhacker Foundation
2003 Residency, Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana
Media Coverage
Chronicling Migraine Pain through Photographs, ABC Los Angeles, January 27, 2014 | Link
Woman Who Survived Four Year Migraine to Share Story at UCLA CBS Los Angeles, January 27, 2014 | Link
Relearning Language through Photography, The Takeaway, John Hockenberry, January 2, 2014 | Link
Review: My days of losing words, L'oeil de la Photographie, Laurence Cornet, December 16, 2013 | Link
Using Images to Relearn how to Speak, Behold, Slate, David Rosenberg, December 7, 2013 | Link
Memories of Memory Loss, Photo of the Day, Photo District News, November 26, 2013 | Link
Still Life: Chronic Migraine in Pictures, Migraine.com, March 11, 2013 | Link
Soirées Fotograficas
I'm happy to announce that this month, the work from my book My days of losing words will be shown all throughout Argentina as part of the Soirées Fotograficas slide shows, along with 24 other international photographers. If you are in Argentina in August or September, please check it out!
Centro Cultural Recoleta, Microcine 1st Floor, Buenos Aires - August 29th, September 5th, 12th, 19th, 6 pm
Museo Franklin Rawson, San Juan - August 19th and 26th, 8 pm
MAC - Museo de Arte contemporáneo, Salta - during August
Galería de Arte del Museo Marítimo, Ushuaia - during September
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Neuquén and others venues - during August
Hall de Exposiciones de la Universidad Nacional de San Luis - August 5th, 8 pm
Centro Cultural de la Municipalidad de San Luis - August 1st, 8 pm
Villa Hortencia, San Luis - August 9, 8pm
Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Juan Yaparí, Posadas, Misiones - September 11th and 19th, 7 pm
Museo Provincial de Artes. Santa Rosa, La Pampa - August 9th and 16th, 7:30 pm
Book Signing II
I will be doing a book signing at Kehrer Verlag's pop up bookstore during the Rencontres d'Arles Festival on July 11 at 7pm. Come meet me and get a copy of My days of losing words.
Book Signing
I will be signing books at the Kehrer Verlag booth (B2, the New York lot) at Paris Photo LA on April 25 from 4-5pm. Come get a signed copy of My days of losing words!
Television Coverage
CBS and ABC news came to interview me about My days of losing words and my artist talk with the med students at UCLA. Follow the links to view the videos: ABC Los Angeles | CBS Los Angeles
Upcoming Solo Show
I am excited to announce that the LRC Gallery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will be presenting the first solo show of My days of losing words this November, accompanying the release of my book based on the work. The exhibition will be up through February.
Me, Myself and I
My work will be a part of the Me, Myself and I exhibition at Rayko Gallery, juried by David Hilliard, opening September 12, up through mid October.
The exhibition pictures the individual, through self-portraiture, images of self-discovery and identity, pictures of friends, family, and place. All proceeds from this juried show will go to support PhotoAlliance. PhotoAlliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the understanding, appreciation and creation of contemporary photography.
New Directions
My work will be in the two New Directions exhibitions at Wall Space Gallery in 2013 curated by Ann Jastrab. The January show is at the Santa Barbara gallery and the February show is in Seattle.
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