Documenting the reality of chronic Lyme patients through photos

Zoe Lu, a fine art photographer based in New York, was diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease and co-infections two years ago.

She tells me that for a period of time, she could not walk, think, read or even sleep. She suffered from severe headaches, brain fog, stiff neck, fatigue, joint pain and depression. “I completely lost the ability to function normally,” she says.

Fortunately, with treatment she has improved enough to undertake a special photography project called “Nowhere Land.”  It focuses on the plight of people living with chronic Lyme and other tick-borne disease.

“I want to document and photograph people who are experiencing chronic Lyme,” she says. “I hope the public can see our situation and the reality of our suffering. “

So far, she has photographed 18 people from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California. She’s looking for others who would like to participate from around the US.

You can find out more about her project at her website or her Instagram page. If you’d like to participate, you can DM or email her.

Her are some samples of photos she has already taken for this project.

TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, President of She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at



I always appreciate when people use their sphere of influence to educate others about tick-borne illness.  I’m always amazed at the number of people that still haven’t heard of this devastating illness or believe myths about it.

Unfortunately, Lyme/MSIDS is hard to capture on film.  One of the often repeated phrases from well-meaning friends and family is “You look fine!”  Patients, on the other hand, feel like they are dying on the inside but the outside often looks quite normal.  This is one of the worst facets of the illness – people not believing you are as sick as you really are.

But, hopefully this project will educate people that could only be reached this way.  Regardless, undertaking a project like this is cathartic for the patient doing it as it is a way to express deep trauma that needs the light of day to expose it.  Kudos to Lu!

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