Shannon Maltbie-Davis


Project Statement

My artwork is a direct reflection of
my internal condition.

My artwork is a direct reflection of my internal condition. The composite photography I create is the manifestation of my ongoing relationship with scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that affects skin and connective tissues. The images produced become a visual journal that documents my experience and, as time passes, will track my journey with an incurable disease.

After being diagnosed with scleroderma, I felt overwhelmed and needed to reclaim some measure of control over my life. In order to be a fully informed patient, I chose to cope with the physical and mental effects caused by scleroderma by researching and developing bodies of artwork that illustrate the disease, document my medical journey, and portray my mental health. Through gathering knowledge about the medical facts, symptoms, and life expectancy associated with scleroderma, I am able to confront my fears and anxiety about the progression of my disease.

A primary component of my creative process is the completion of research. The information gathered from medical journals, websites, Facebook groups, podcasts, doctor’s appointments, and test results forms a base of knowledge I access and analyze when envisioning the scope of the disease. The accumulated data gives me a better understanding of myself and guides me when photographing, editing, and refining the subject matter and concepts depicted within the body of artwork.

While research shapes my artwork, composite photography allows me to illustrate the subject matter. Each finished composition incorporates multiple images that I have photographed, layered together, and merged with filters, masks, and adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop. By layering photographic imagery, symbolism, color, and texture, I populate the digital frame more densely. The purposeful combination of graphic elements visually defines the medical imagery, body dysmorphia, and feelings being portrayed. Symbolism constructs visual cues; details that aid the veiwer in their absorption of the content. Color injects emotional undertones and sets a mood. Texture adds visual interest and strengthens the intended meaning. The overlapping of these elements expands the breadth of visual communication shared with the viewer, provides knowledge, and enlightens them about scleroderma.

By documenting my medical journey and openly sharing my personal experiences with scleroderma, I combat my disease and hope to help others who face similar struggles.


Shannon Maltbie-Davis is a visual artist based in Basehor, Kansas. She received a BFA in Graphic Design and an MFA in Visual Communications from Kansas State University. She has worked as a graphic designer at The Coleman Company, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Friends University, and Communications Program Director at Friends University.

After leaving the workforce to raise her two sons, she has returned to her love of art through the pursuit of a BFA in Design with a Concentration in Photography at the University of Kansas. As a photographer, her practice encompasses a wide range of work. Her portfolio includes images of her children and surroundings, experimental self-portraiture, and expanded documentary art that reflects her experiences with auto-immune issues.

Shannon finds catharsis in creating composite photography inspired by her journey with auto-immune diseases. Through gathering knowledge about the medical facts, symptoms, and life expectancy associated with her personal diagnoses, she confronts her fears and anxiety about the progression of her disease. By openly sharing her experiences with her own health, she hopes to help others who face similar struggles.

Abnormal Capillarscopic Characteristics

Abnormal Capillarscopic Characteristics


Raynaud’s Syndrome


Lung Nodules

All rights and credit reserved to © Shannon Maltbie-Davis

2024 BFA Photography Exhibition

Solace In The Tallgrass