Jo-Ana visually describes diary entries made by Jo, a 30 something recovered anorexic, throughout her period of illness.
Key events before, during and after her illness are recorded. Presented as a series of still life compositions, they offer the viewer insight into Jo’s struggle with anorexia.
Items of food consumed by Jo are portrayed, the nutritional value corresponding to her transition from health, to illness, and on to recovery.
Her thoughts are displayed alongside text she found inspirational. Everyday objects offer a glimpse of her interests and her personality.
Examining an alternative relationship with food and played out on a very small stage, it is the story of what happens when food stops being a friend.
There were two primary objectives for Jo-Ana.
The first being to ensure that the voice of the participant, Jo, was clearly heard, and the second being to present the images in a clean website with supplemental text and images which enriched the viewing experience rather than detracting from it.
Have I been successful in achieving these objectives?
Sutherst (2018) reviews as follows:
‘The words from the diary are the reminders that this is a real person’s account of their road to recovery. The inclusion and placement of personal items in each image remind us that there is more to an anorexia sufferer than them just not eating. They have lives and interests like everyone else and they are more than just the disease – it does not define who they are, it is something they are suffering with.’
Clear confirmation, then, that the first aim for Jo-Ana has been achieved.
‘Each image is expertly showcased on the responsive website. The style is understated and does not intrude on the viewer’s experience of work. Viewing the sequence of images of food and pages from Jo’s diary, the visual narrative is one of despair through to hope (with a multitude of emotion in between). The viewer starts to appreciate the mental distortions that anorexics have in their relationship to food. The unhealthy thoughts recorded in the diary are sympathetically and cleverly reflected in the accompanying food images.’
Clear confirmation, then, that the second aim for Jo-Ana has also been achieved.
Such confirmation can only be viewed very positively as I not only look to extend the range of surfaces across which Jo-Ana is presented, but also assess the feasibility of future project themes.
Jo Sutherst’s full review can be read here.
Sutherst, J. (2018). ‘Final Major Project: Review of Philip Morris’s ‘Jo-Ana’ Project’. josutherstphotographycom [online]. Available at: https://josutherstphotography.com/2018/08/23/final-major-project-review-of-philip-morriss-jo-ana-project/ (accessed Thursday 23 August 2018)