Migraine Register in the New York Times

My project Migraine Register in The New York Times is featured in an excellent article: “Women’s Emotions Do Not Cause Their Migraines” by JoAnna Klein.

Also on the NY Times Instagram

For Lorie Novak and millions of others, a migraine is #notjustaheadache. Lorie, who has suffered from migraines since she was 8, decided to tackle the representation of her debilitating headaches after she read Joan Didion’s 1968 essay “In Bed,” about the writer’s struggle with migraines. Starting in 2009, Lorie photographed herself every time she got a migraine. In the past, doctors said that migraines — a real, debilitating medical condition related to temporary abnormal brain activity — were a woman’s problem caused by emotional disturbances. They do occur 3 to 4 times more often in women than men. But guess what? Emotions do not cause migraines. One major cause: a shift in hormones. Follow @migraineregister to see more #selfportraits by Lorie Novak.

A photo posted by The New York Times (@nytimes) on

>> Migraine Register on Instagram and Tumblr

Sans Soleil

Migraine January 10, 2016
Today I have another migraine, it is sunny outside, I am inside, and watching San Soleil/Sunless by Chris Marker. Be inspired and take my mind off the pain.

More for my never-ending Chris Marker research:

Personal Effects: The Guarded Intimacy of Sans Soleil – From the Current – The Criterion Collection by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Letter to Theresa by Chris Marker – Behind the Veils of Sans Soleil

Sans Soleil / Sunless TEXT

more Chris Marker LINKS

Instagram @nolorie @migraineregister

I have been resisting instagram for years, but I have taken the plunge. I seem to have a desire around my birthday each year to start a new online project so this year it is instagram. First nolorie to post about my Above the Fold project and other studio happenings.

@nolorie Instagram

I quickly realized that Instagram is the perfect platform for my Migraine Register project and began @migraineregister. Not because I want to post daily photos, but that I can select images from the project and include short texts. Hopefully it will get the project out there  in ways twitter has not been able to. I see it as also generating ideas for the book I want to do. I’ve been posting images that are part of 100migraines.net as well as newer ones since that project launched 2 years ago on my birthday.

@migraineregister InstagramThe down side: I have been a little addicted to both feeds, and the one thing I don’t need in my life is more screen time.

Migraines #irl

Today is my 10th day with this migraine. I am now on steroids – after trying every form of triptan migraine medicine I have to get rid of it as well getting an injection of toradol from my doctor, it is still here. Today it is the worst it’s been.  When I have prolonged periods with migraine like this, I want to work on my Migraine Register project. I even started an instagram account for the project last week. As a result, I have been researching online alot, which brings me back to this piece I made in 2014. Looking at the images of women most commonly used: they have long straight hair, are white, have perfect photoshopped skin, need to touch their temples and foreheads, and don’t look at the camera. I offer an alternative.
Migraines in real life vs top Googlei mages

Original text from December 13, 2014:
Over a week with daily migraines. On steroids so can’t sleep. Trapped in my body. Not a pretty picture like the photoshopped straight-haired women with white flawless skin acting out migraines online. Pain is not beautiful.

Seeing Red

Lorie Novak - Migraine RegisterA bad week of migraines. I recently joined the Chronic Migraine Awareness Facebook Page, which I find painful to read so don’t visit often. I glanced at it today and saw several posts about the inability to read. My decrease in reading books is a fact that I have had a hard time admitting to. Only in the last year have I realized that it is due to my migraines. I left the Facebook quickly but am posting this admission.

Photo on 3-21-15 at 7.17 AM #5

2014 – My Year in Review

120 migraines that I photographed (I know I didn’t photograph them all)

Medication costs – $19, 353. (only $127. was non-migraine related)
I paid $860. (I would have no life without good health insurance.)

2014 migraines

I started photographing myself every time I have a migraine in May 2009 as a way to keep track of how  many migraines I had. I used to count the number between doctor visits, but this was the first time I actually counted how many I had in a year. I am sure that I was afraid to see the enormity, which, not surprisingly, is staggering. 100migraines.net draws from these 5.5 years of photos, and now I know that it contains less than a year’s worth

more migraine posts

Matisse & Me

I went to MOMA today to see the Henri Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition. I was so inspired and amazed at their power. I kept looking at the shapes and thinking that so many looked like migraine auras. I did a quick web search and yes, he had them. Saw references cited in two books. Have to find out more of course, but led me to make this.


On  my first visit to NYC in the early 1980s, I went directly to MOMA (in its original incarnation). Checked my suitcase in the coatroom and went immediately to see the permanent collection. I still remember walking into the Matisse room which was so intimate. “The Red Studio” and others surrounded me and I literally felt weak in the knees. Luckily in those days, the rooms had benches so I could sit down. I sat and just took it in for quite a while.