Artist: Julie Starling, Los Gatos, California

In 2013, to distract herself from the difficulty of treatment for chronic Lyme disease, Julie Starling picked up the camera and quickly became fascinated with nature and macro photography. Treating Lyme disease is a full-time job, as it is complex and difficult to treat. Isolation, social disconnection and feeling meaningless are profound challenges facing the those with Lyme disease, often causing sufferers to be cut-off from friends and family for months and years.

Photography kept her sense of wonder about the world alive, sparked a curiosity to learn more about her subjects and helped her form a deep connection to nature. Shooting macro photography, Julie discovered that though her own world grew smaller due to the disease, it was no less beautiful, nor less impactful. Looking through the macro lens, opened her eyes to the truth that nothing, and nobody, is too small to make a valuable contribution to the world.

As the field of macro photography grows exponentially, Julie differentiates her work not by getting closer, as the technology allows the photographer to do, but by maintaining a wider composition to better illustrate the context of the story. Though her photography can stand on its own, she often complements her work with colorful stories, humorously anthropomorphizing her subjects with fascinating facts that draw parallels between human and animal behavior. Sharing her photography and stories keeps her grounded and socially connected with the world during difficult phases of treatment when it becomes tempting to become isolated and disengaged.

Julie is a full-time Lyme disease warrior, writer, nature photographer, yogi and dog-enthusiast residing in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Los Gatos, California. Prior to her diagnosis, she had an 18-year career in marketing communications. She published her first photography and nature story book, Wild Distractions, in 2016, available for sale at

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