Internationally-renowned portrait photographer Rankin is unveiling a new exhibition – Beyond the Invisible – which shines a light on endometriosis. In conjunction with Standard Life’s partnership with Endometriosis UK, the exhibition will explore the lives of those suffering from the condition, which affects as many as one in ten women worldwide.
The series of videos and photographs features intimate portraits of fifteen women and men who have a relationship with this invisible illness in the hope of making it ‘visible’ to the public. Rankin’s subjects for the exhibition include endometriosis sufferers from all walks of life, including TV presenter Julia Bradbury and BBC 5Live presenter Emma Barnett, as well as professionals who support sufferers through their work.
Endometriosis is a long-term condition where tissue similar to those lining the womb grow in other places, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and bladder. It can have a significant impact on sufferers, many with different experiences - such as excruciating pain and infertility - which has far reaching effects on all aspects of their lives, socially and professionally.
Diagnosis for endometriosis in the UK currently stands at seven and a half years on average, meaning that women who are suffering from it are left untreated for a lengthy amount of time during which the disease may develop. The symptoms of endometriosis mean that those with it are often required to take time off work, severely affecting their earning potential and financial stability.
Nearly nine in ten (87%) women with endometriosis believe the condition has impacted their long-term financial situation according to research from Standard Life at the recent Endometriosis UK Conference. Endometriosis affects 1.5 million women in the UK and is reported to cost the economy £8.2 billion.
Rankin commented; “I didn’t know a huge amount about endometriosis until Standard Life approached me about collaborating on this project for their Invisible Illnesses campaign – I just couldn’t believe that one in ten women is living with this; the excruciating pain and the way it negatively affects basically every aspect of their lives. Their relationships, careers and finances suffer due to this sometimes-debilitating condition. I hope this exhibition can almost make tangible the invisible agony of endometriosis, which is so hard to understand if you are not affected”.
Barry O’Dwyer CEO of Standard Life Savings said: “The average diagnosis time in the UK for endometriosis is seven and a half years. By partnering with Endometriosis UK, Standard Life aims to raise awareness to ensure sufferers receive a faster diagnosis and therefore faster treatment in the future.
“For many, planning for the future is challenging enough without the added complication of an invisible illness. This campaign is about getting comfortable having difficult conversations so that everyone can access the support that they need.”
From left to right: Professor Andrew Horne (University of Edinburgh), Barry O’Dwyer (CEO, Standard Life Savings), Susie Logan (Brand and Marketing Director, Standard Life)
Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK said: “Delayed diagnosis can have devastating effects on women's quality of life. We are delighted to be partnering with Standard Life and impressed with their determination to raise awareness and reduce diagnosis times, helping improve the lives of future generations of women.”
The ‘Beyond the Invisible’ exhibition will be at La Galleria Pall Mall, 5b Pall Mall, 30 Royal Opera Arcade, London, SW1Y 4UY from 21-28 March, open to the public from 11am-5pm.
The ‘Beyond the Invisible’ exhibition will be at Stills Gallery, 23 Cockburn Street Edinburgh, from 1-8 April, open to the public every day from 11am – 5pm.
The photographs from the campaign can be viewed below.