Anorexia

(click on photo for full size image) Anorexia is a serious psychiatric condition. 10 – 20% of people who have anorexia will die from this illness. If you, or somebody you care about, is concerned that you/they may have an eating disorder then please speak to your doctor, or seek guidance from a national eating disorder charity.

 

Anorexia

A conceptual photo about anorexia. This photo is of a saying that is made from food items. The saying is "If I eat food I will die".

A conceptual photo about anorexia. This photo is of a saying that is made from food items. The saying is "If I eat food I will die".

Anorexia is an eating disorder, a serious psychiatric illness, and can affect anyone. Ten to twenty percent of people with anorexia will die from their condition, and the causes of death maybe suicide, heart failure/heart attack, or organ failure. If you think that you, or someone you care about may have an eating disorder then please seek help from your doctor. There are many eating disorder charities throughout the world. In the UK please see BEAT eating disorders for advice and support.

Anorexia

A conceptial photo about anorexia, which includes a wine glass, candle, low calorie food, laxatives and diuretics. This is a sociology photo.

A conceptial photo about anorexia, which includes a wine glass, candle, low calorie food, laxatives and diuretics. This is a sociology photo.

Anorexia is an eating disorder, a serious psychiatric illness, and can affect anyone. Ten to twenty percent of people with anorexia will die from their condition, and the causes of death maybe suicide, heart failure/heart attack, or organ failure. If you think that you, or someone you care about may have an eating disorder then please seek help from your doctor. There are many eating disorder charities throughout the world. In the UK please see BEAT eating disorders for advice and support.

Anorexia – Exercise 3.4 – Documenting Change

I would like to request critique for this piece of work. I like the concept, but I am really not happy with the result. If you could let me know what doesn’t work and why, how you think this could be improved, what you think of the concept, and ideas on how to approach this differently. I am going to re-shoot this image so that it can be a part of a larger body of work that I am producing about eating disorders. Many thanks for those that are able to provide critique.

Anorexia

I find that the image is too flat, laying down on the back is probably OK, but I believe that I should work with models of several sizes so that the clothes are not flat on the floor, but have some life to them. I’m not comfortable with the legs and the upper torso probably needs to be included.

To create a feature image for this post I have cropped centrally and I prefer this version. What do you think?

Anorexia-2

Not perfect but if I were to include the chest it would help I think.

This has taken me a long time to create and the reason for this has been my lack of insight in the shooting and developing process. The individual photos of clothing were taken laying flat on the floor. Although I used a tripod I didnt mark a grid of where the clothing should be which meant making use of the telephoto for some and not for others. Some of the clothes were larger and also out of position. This made developing difficult because I had to both resize and warp certain items.

Shooting on a carpet with a similar tonal range – what a nightmare that created for me with Photoshop. The quick selection tool and the magnetic lassoo tool were both ineffective because I had shot without an opposing or white background. They both ripped the edges to pieces. Next I tried the background eraser tool, and being a bit of a perfectionist I worked in fine detail around the edges, which was a little over the top and took a long time to complete for ten layers (each item of clothing, face, left arm, right arm etc were all individual layers). My lack of knowledge in relaation to the background eraser was non existent and I onle researched how to make the most of it on the last layer.

The positives have been-

  1. valuing my idea whilst knowing I need feedback on how I can improve upon what I have made.
  2. Creating a piece of work with the knowledge that it was going to need to be re-worked – a new way forward for me, allowing uncertainty but progressing anyway.
  3. Learning how to use the background eraser.
  4. Understanding about the need for contasting backgrounds and grids for laying out each photo in the same space.
  5. Continuing to take photos for upcoming learning exercises, and remaining focused on getting this piece ready for feedback.

Certainly not my best piece of work, but with your feedback who knows what the future holds.

Although the brief for this exercise asks us to produce a tryptich (which I’ve previously done for this exercise – here), I wanted to push the limits to explore documenting change by producing one image. Eating disorders are something that I’m exploring with photography and will continue to do so. It a theme thats dear to my heart, and I believe that the physical and emotional changes can be documented in one photo with consideration, time, practice and your critique.

Sick Of Bulimia – Conceptual – Exercise 3.3 – Sequence

Reflections upon Sick of Bulimia.

I have published Sick of Bulimia as a separate blog post, because I believe that it warrants being presented as a stand alone project. It can be seen here.

Bulimia-Grid-Presentation

Exercise 3.3 is about photography as sequence, and I have now explored many of the options, based upon the ideas and learning about the photographers that we have been asked to review. Keith Arnatt’s Self Burial is a conceptual sequence, which I reviewed as part of the coursework (seen here).

It helped that I have had an idea that I wanted to explore about bulimia, and created some test photos around 6-9 months ago. Two of the photos in my final sequence have come from those, and the rest I have taken over the past couple of weeks. The opportunity to build upon my previous photography and to do so for exercise 3.3 was influenced by reviewing Self Burial.

Background

I have an eating disorder, and was first diagnosed with Anorexia – binge-purge subtype in my late teens. I was actually a restrict-pirge but that’s not a separate diagnosis. My eating disorder has changed its shape over the years and I haven’t purged for many years. Having a personal investment has meant that I could explore bulimia from my own perspective, the experience of others, and from additional research.

There is a sequence, a ritual that is often associated with eating disorders, and I have tried to express the mental urgency around going out, buying food, bingeing and vomiting by using blurred photos, movement,  the use of bright colours. Some of the photos are taken from the perspective of the person engaged in the depicted activities rather than going with the golden rules of photography. Bulimia is personal, deeply emotional, and both thrilling and devastating. The excitement and the rush of buying and bingeing is short lived, and is quickly replaced by overwhelming shame and distress.

The central portrait is the signifier of shame, and I think the sequence would have worked better if I made this image larger and more dominant.

Research

Reviewing eating disorder charities and websites from around the globe has evidenced that death is a very possible outcome for people with an eating disorder. Up to twenty percent of individuals with an eating disorder will die from either heart failure, organ failure or suicide. This made second photo important for me to include. The symbolic references by including the memorial and the shop where the food was purchased has a deep significance.

Bulimia is secretive, as are other eating disorders initially. Overtime it becomes obvious to family, friends and healthcare workers that a person is severely underweight and may have anorexia. People with bulimia may be underweight, of a healthy weight or overweight, and this poses many problems because it is less obvious to loved ones.

Purging depletes the body of the vitamins and minerals that it needs for electrical conduction (we are electro-chemical beings) and death can come from disturbances to the hearts electrical conduction as well as organ failure. Of those who die from bulimia, heart failure is the biggest cause of death.

However recovery is possible if help is asked for, so I included a link to eating disorder charities from a few countries.

Technical

Self Burial (Arnatt) helped me to formulate how I could build upon my original photos and create a sequence. The urgency of HAVING to go out and buy food, knowing that you were going to binge and then purge was a starting point, and lead onto re-creating the journey to do so, and things flowed from there. I made use of two cameras, Olympus OMD EM10 MKii and Mzuiko 25mm (50mm equivalent) prime,, and Huawei P10 smart phone with dual Leica lens, 27mm, 20mp raw. The Huawei gave me the opportunity to create good bokeh, if slightly unusual, which can be evidenced in photo 5 where the shopping is on the floor.

Fully aware that it is important to take lots of photos of each scene and from different angles, using different lighting (building upon 100 photos, soft light landscape, smash – part one of FiP coursework (seen here)), I set to work and took many photos.

Creating the vomit was a simple process of blending dog food, baked beans, carrots and eggs together. It’s visually effective. I have made the toothbrush the focus of that photo because the photos of just the vomit were too graphic. A tooth-brush may often be used by people with bulimia to make themselves sick.

The selection process also built upon previous coursework in relation to evaluating and selction, as well as the skills that I have learned from reading The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers, 2015 by Scott Kelby.

Through following the blog of an OCA degree student (can’t remember who) I picked up the idea of writing upon contact sheets as a method of aiding the evaluation process, and this was indeed very helpful.

Lightroom (Bulimia 1.png and 33 others)

The weakest two photos are the first – the trainers, however they are symbolic of the urgency to get food, and the third photos of the shopping basket and trolley. Nine Photos make for an aesthetically pleasing grid, so I have included these. I had not planned to use a combination of portrait and landscape orientation, but the final photos were important to me because they carried the message that I wanted to express.

Reworking from Feedback

Sick of Bulimia has received a lot of welcome feedback, which has included using photo two, the memorial with its symbolism od death as the central photo, keeping the same background, and changing the background to white. Having tried these options and also a white background and a grey border, I feel very strongly that my original presentation is the strongest, along with the grey background, which I was originally unsure of. The restructured grid to have death as the central photo doesn’t work because it significantly changes the grid layout. The shame of having an eating disorder is also the strongest emotion that I have in relation to my own experience of bulimia (I have no shame about anorexia), so the portrait of me crying has to be the central photo. The white background with the grey border is presentable, however the focus is taken towards the colours rather than the content. Having the grey background draws me deeply into the photos, and that’s what I would like for the viewers.

Here is the original presentation, and the other forms of presentation that I have tried.

Original

Bulimia-Grid-Presentation

Re-worked

Grid-Symbolic-without-layers

Grid-crying-without-layers

Grid-crying-without-layers-White-background

Grid-crying-with-LAYERS-White-background-grey-border

The Individual Photos

Bulimia

Bulimia

 

Bulimia

 

Bulimia

 

Bulimia

 

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

 

Bulimia

I am deeply grateful for the feedback that I have recieved.

References

Kelby, S; 2015; The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers; New Riders; Pages 47-54

Keys, R; 2018; Review – Keith Arnatt – Self-Burial; Online AT: https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/review-keith-arnatt-self-burial/ (accessed on 09/03/2018)

 

Sick Of Bulimia

Sick Of Bulimia

Bulimia-Grid-Presentation

Bulimia is an eating disorder, a psychiatric illness. eating disorders have the highest death rate of all of the mental illness. Between ten and twenty percent of people with an eating disorder will die as a consequence of this illness. Those deaths are attributed to heart failure, organ failure and suicide.

Bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) is a serious mental illness. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background. People with bulimia are caught in a cycle of eating large quantities of food (called bingeing), and then trying to compensate for that overeating by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or exercising excessively (called purging). Early intervention offers the best chance for a rapid and sustained recovery from bulimia.(Source link)

If you have an eating disorder – recovery is possible, speak to a family member, someone you trust, a doctor, or search google for an eating disorder service in your country.

United Kingdom

BEAT

Men Get Eating Disorders Too

United States

NEDA

Canada

NEDIC

India

The Minds Foundation

Australia

NEDC

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia

Bulimia