If you are interested in reading about my personal struggle with eating disorders, I have recently posted about it here.
If you or anyone you know happens to be struggling with an eating disorder, I have included links at the bottom to organizations that have helped me and where you can acquire support.
After being inspired by Lynn Chen’s blog, The Actor’s Diet, where she documented her recovery from disordered eating, I chose to start my own recovery blog. It was password protected and only shared with a select few but updated diligently. For roughly nine months, I documented everything that I ate, drank and experienced through images and text. Thankfully, it never felt like work to me and I enjoyed doing it. Looking back, I am so grateful that I took the opportunity each day to record my life at that time because it’s nice to be able to review and appreciate how far I’ve come.
During college I was enrolled in a photography class where I was able to incorporate components of my recovery blog into a final project for class. I wanted to depict various aspects of how eating disorders can affect people and try to make it more easily understood to spread awareness.
I revisited posts from my blog to search for images of food that I ate frequently and made them into “polaroids” where I also included small excerpts of text from each coinciding post (of the image). The text was not necessarily directly related to the food or eating disorder, although it frequently was. I wrote blurbs in the caption line of what I did that day or a thought that crossed my mind, etc. in order to show that eating disorders are a suffocating mental illness but life still goes on regardless of how deep in it you are. From there, I set up visual scenarios for my photos that allowed for me to tell a story that was personal and yet vague enough for open interpretation by each individual viewer.
Despite being extremely nervous to share this project with my class (since sharing that you’ve struggled with an eating disorder is not something you generally tell), it was well received. The most significant compliment that I heard from other students was that they were able to gain some insight into the complex mental patterns of eating disorders. They expressed that viewing my images allowed for them to understand in a way that they hadn’t been able to.
These prints have sat in my closet for almost two years and only seen by maybe three people outside of my class. I made the decision this year to participate in National Eating Disorders Awareness week in order to help spread knowledge about the terrible mental illnesses that are eating disorders. It’s a cause that has become very important to me and I hope that I can continue to become more involved in the future so others don’t have to experience as much hardship.
I would rather not interrupt the flow of images by explaining each one because I would like for you to be able to process them without bias. Therefore, I will not include notes and allow for you to interpret them however you choose to.