Photo Essay

Real Is Always Light

A simple photo essay about my ongoing recovery from alcoholism as I recently suffered a relapse and the consequences of how it affects my life. Photography is a life saver and even now as I battle with acute anxiety disorder at times like right now, my attempt at documenting it helps me understand. I am still apalled at the acceptance and tolerance of the abuse of alcohol. I never created anything worthwhile under the influence. Recovery can be difficult but it has opened my eyes and made my life worthwhile. I can actually see and feel reality and that is what you need to create, even if reality is harsh and unrelenting, it is life and I will not numb it out.

Real is always light.

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36 responses

  • rory cobbe

    rory cobbe gave props (16 Oct 2008):

    can you put this in for publishing Jill?

  • Jill Coleman

    Jill Coleman said (16 Oct 2008):


  • Delmas Green

    Delmas Green (Deleted) said (16 Oct 2008):

    you have my vote.

  • Joven DelaCruz

    Joven DelaCruz said (16 Oct 2008):

    beautifully said. short and sweet.

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (16 Oct 2008):

    So powerful. So real. So honest. Thank you. Love you and your work.

  • Patricia Shanahan

    Patricia Shanahan gave props (16 Oct 2008):

    You are amazing ! GREAT story and beautiful photo's ! STAY strong & congratulations on your 6th Anniversary !I come from a strong history of alcholism and can relate to your struggle ! Watched too many family members go through it ! Take each day"one at a time"! You are more powerful than you know !

  • catharine amato

    catharine amato gave props (16 Oct 2008):

    a must for publishing

  • Jill Coleman

    Jill Coleman said (16 Oct 2008):

    Thanks so much folks, I am trying to be open about my recovery to try and take away the stigma attached and so people can know that it can be done and judgement is never going to help anyone, Yes, Patricia , addiction affects everyone who loves the alcoholic or addict too, that is also one of the strongest reasons I wanted to go into rehab 6 years ago, my wonderful parents and sisters suffered with me and now are proud and happy that I made the effort as I am..

  • Tess Denis

    Tess Denis said (16 Oct 2008):

    We are proud of you - your braveness, your honesty, as well as your way of expressing yourself through your photos.
    You are so very talented. I do hope that JPG publishes your work.

  • Jill Coleman

    Jill Coleman said (16 Oct 2008):

    Thank you girls.

  • Cosmin

    Cosmin gave props (17 Oct 2008):

    I always said that art is about being honest. About yourself and the others. A very robust and beautifully crafted series. You have my vote.

  • Paul Alexander Knox

    Paul Alexander Knox (Deleted) gave props (17 Oct 2008):

    You have my vote too! congratulations on a beautiful piece of work.

  • Jill Coleman

    Jill Coleman said (21 Oct 2008):

    Thanks so much Liza for those words..

  • Karolus Naga

    Karolus Naga (Deleted) gave props (10 Nov 2008):

    cant say a wor d Jill ... thank ou for sharing this with us ...

  • Delores Harshaw

    Delores Harshaw (Deleted) gave props (18 Nov 2008):

    This is beautiful.

  • Kate Wilhelm

    Kate Wilhelm said (27 Nov 2008):

    Great work. And congratulations on your sobriety. I've suffered from panic and anxiety and I'm now almost entirely anxiety-free (relatively anyways). I felt so hopeless when I was suffering. Just wanted to let you know it's possible to live without anxiety.

  • d s

    d s gave props (28 Nov 2008):

    interesting story...great photos, too!

  • adniloj

    adniloj gave props (15 Dec 2008):

    Such a powerful collection!

  • Dan Kennedy

    Dan Kennedy said (10 Jun 2009):

    Very rarely does anything on jpgmag truly move me. This is one of those instances.

  • Brian Betteridge

    Brian Betteridge gave props (18 Sep 2009):

    fascinating series...your use of black and white is really good and the images are well composed...the story is moving. perfect!

  • Ebla Maleh

    Ebla Maleh gave props (17 Oct 2009):

    great work

  • Diane Peterson

    Diane Peterson gave props (16 Feb 2010):

    Jill, you are an amazing writer, photographer and woman..not necessarily in that order..and extremely brave..I have always enjoyed your work from the first time I found you..

  • Cristina Cocullo

    Cristina Cocullo said (18 Feb 2010):

    Outstanding works from an outstanding and strong woman! I am glad to see the real you through your photography...brave, brave, brave! I am astonished this essay has not been published yet! All my best wishing to you...keep yourself strong as you are have an amazing flair for feel and breath photography! Bravo!

    My vote!

  • The Man Who Isn't There

    The Man Who Isn't There (Deleted) gave props (29 Oct 2011):

    A great series. My vote!

  • Nicolette de Joncaire

    Nicolette de Joncaire   gave props (30 Mar 2012):

    You create such beauty and poignancy

  • JPG

    JPG gave props (25 Jun 2012):

    Story of the Week!

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (25 Jun 2012):

    congrats on story of the week - voted!

  • John Newland

    John Newland said (26 Jun 2012):

    Wonderful, powerful, personal. Nice work. Got my vote. And good luck with your ongoing recovery.

  • Susan B. Griffith

    Susan B. Griffith   said (26 Jun 2012):

    Someone close to me struggled during recovery and the stigma of his problem, but eventually he reached a managed sobriety. While many around this person may have wanted an overnight miracle, and I admit myself, we came to learn it was two steps forward and sometimes one back, but eventually he got his life together. Jill, it takes time. If you relapse, pick yourself up and keep going. Don't beat yourself up. You can do it. To have an outlet to express your emotions in a visual and beautiful way, and someday it will help you see far you have come. Whatever progress you make is success, and on that you can build and create the strength to face what comes next.

  • niko niko

    niko niko gave props (26 Jun 2012):

    keep aiming for the light. beautifully done all around!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (26 Jun 2012):

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (27 Jun 2012):

    I am sorry that I am too late to vote for this story, but am delighted that JPG had the foresight to give you Story of the Week. This work is quite outstanding, honest, very raw in some respects, powerful, heart rendering and last but not least joyous in that you are overcoming this horrible affliction!! Bravo for a really fantastic story and congratulations on being nominated Story of the Week, so well deserved!!! Good luck on your recovery you are going in the right direction and I am sure that your outstanding work will also help you win your battle!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (28 Jun 2012):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (28 Jun 2012):

    Congrats on making Story of the Week!

  • Marco Martinez

    Marco Martinez gave props (1 Jul 2012):

    I applaud your resolve and how you turned to photography to understand better your addiction but also your inner strength. It takes a lot to share something as personal as this. Stay strong.

  • Léa Bastien

    Léa Bastien (Deleted) gave props (2 Jul 2012):

    Wonderful, wonderful

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