I Woke Up Like This

For Anyone Who Doesn't Love Who They Are


Photograph By: Steven Kowalski 

Photograph By: Steven Kowalski 

My name is Jillian

I'm a photographer located in Chicago, Illinois who has struggled with mental health her entire life. Art, writing, and photography have gotten me through the toughest parts of my life. I started as a journalist, evolved into the owner of a wedding photography business, fell out of love with it and began this project as a means to cope with multiple physical and mental illnesses. 
This project is my everything now. 
I will illuminate the struggles of others for the rest of my life.

Q: How can I participate?!

Write me and tell me a little about yourself! If you have a story to tell, I'd love to help.

Q: Will these photographs be public?

Yes. Absolutely. The project needs a following, and in order to get that following we must post some photograph online. We are on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. These photographs will also be featured in a book when I've completed the task of photographing a certain number of women from each body type, age, sexual orientation, ect. Participants are allowed to select their featured photographs if it means they wouldn't otherwise share their story. We want to make sure this is a safe and comfortable experience so we are happy to collaborate in that respect.

Q: I love the cause but I just don't feel comfortable modeling nude...is there any other way I can help? 

If you enjoy this project, please help me keep it alive. In order to keep going with it I can always use more donations and social media exposure. If you're someone who is a fan of the blog, just sharing your favorite session or liking the Facebook page can help greatly. If you're a patron of the arts; please donate whatever you feel comfortable with. Any amount is appreciated more than you know. If you are a writer or run a blog yourself; features are also extremely helpful in getting my message across to a broader audience. 

Q: Where do donations go?

Donations help keep this train rolling. It takes a lot of my time to shoot, interview, post, and promote this thing so any amount helps. Donations go towards my cost of living and the travel fund. Again, you may donate if you wish via my Patreon account.

Q: What did you name it "I Woke Up Like This?"

I wanted to play on the time of day and state of presentation I photograph my subjects in. All of my subjects are asked to come to my location directly after they wake up, in the state they have woken up in. This was inspired by the first session I did in which my subject was asked to test out lighting before she even brushed her hair or teeth. I chose this time because it illustrates a person before they do anything to make themselves acceptable in societies eyes or their own.