"This photographic piece was taken in Switzerland near Montreux, in 2010. I was with a friend and receiving alternative medical treatments. When I had a window with low pain my friend and I would take a walk-about. You don't need to go far in this land to find beauty."
- Laria Saunders
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“Creating these works connects dots in a world that I cannot always connect in my own life.”
Laria was born in Boston and comes from four generations of artists and performers. For twenty years, Laria has survived ten recalcitrant pain syndromes with pain from head to toe, including cervical demyelination and daily migraines. She is often bedridden in a dark house with ice packs and due to multiple drug allergies, has never been able to sufficiently manage the pain.
For unknown reasons, this mysterious invisible illness started at age 27 while she was a student at University California LA. She lost her marriage and life-long passion for dance. She even lost her health insurance and had to move to India to be treated in a western style specialty hospital. After nearly three years, in near total isolation and over seven months of hospitalization, her pain was no longer at emergency levels most days. At that point, Laria picked up photography more seriously but despite being awarded many times for her work, her real passion lay outside the normal bounds of photography.
Laria created a five-year series of moving camera work called “Despite the Pain” that focused on transformation beyond suffering. Then the smart phone technology took off and she began collaging on her iPhone. Ten years later, this remarkable technology continues to be her creative outlet and keeps her connected with the world “of the living” she rarely sees.
For Laria, creating abstracts blurs lines and merges objects, providing a poetic portal to altered states of consciousness. She does abstracts to get different perspectives and to make sense of things. This process allows her to enter a world that gives her a sense of empowerment and to attempt to convey suffering or a brief moment of normalcy.
Laria lives with her husband, James, who has been devotedly by her side throughout her journey.
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