Sarah Pickering’s work had relevance for me as I continue to develop images for the FMP. It was interesting as well as informative to hear her speak about the process of image development that she employed during the development of her projects. Referring to Incident, she spoke about the definite vision that she had throughout the project for the finalised work and how she was not prepared to compromise on this vision.
Contemporary practitioners, Laia Abril and Mafalda Rakos, have both carried out photographic examinations of eating disorders. It was interesting to see, in both cases, how they have chosen to present accounts of multiple individuals who have suffered from eating disorders. This contrasts significantly with Jo-Ana which presents the account of one individual.
A further contrast is the way in which both Abril and Rakos have chosen to present the accounts of how eating disorders affect their subjects in a none time-based manner.
Each image represents a single moment in time from each individual’s life. Collectively, these images portray the characteristics of eating disorders which are common to most individuals – what Abril’s Thinspiration and Rakos’ I Want to Disappear present, then, are two generalised portrayals of eating disorders. Jo-Ana, on the other hand shows the effects of an eating disorder on the same individual over a period of time.
One thing that is becoming abundantly clear is that this is going to be a difficult subject to research emotionally. However, for me, that makes it more important that the story is told. These things are often difficult to witness, but those who only witness have the opportunity to walk away – something which is denied to those who suffer from, and have to live with, mental illness and its effects on a daily basis.
There are many possible public outcomes for the exhibition. Primarily Jo-Ana will be presented as an online gallery hosted on a purpose-built website. Beyond this, the project will be presented as a photobook in addition to be offered to schools and colleges where it could help raise awareness of the disease within a susceptible demographic. Additionally, the intention is to produce an audiovisual presentation which will feature on the exhibition website alongside the main gallery of images, giving viewing options to the audience. I am, however, a little concerned at the moment that producing the main images for the FMP has left no time for the audiovisual presentation. Fortunately, some time has been built into project timing plan to allow for delays, bottlenecks and slippages.