I had a bit of good news today. Which I rather needed as this morning I went out to find someone had broken into my car, which left me more than a little bit miffed. Anyway, back to my news.
I found out that a photograph I took is going to be included in an exhibition of photos by young people (I still count as young!) about recovery from eating disorders. The exhibition is going to be displayed at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh during eating disorders awareness week (20th – 26th February) and then will be touring around Scotland. The people from the project say: ‘It is hoped that the exhibition will create a better understanding of eating disorders and the journey of recovery, while helping to tackle stereotypes and stigma attached to the illness.’ I sadly can’t go to the launch event, but I’m quite excited that so many people will see my photo (I’ve never had a photo in anything like this! I’m going to see if I can get a photo of my photo on the wall). I hope that people will see something in it, that it’ll mean something.
The photo I took probably isn’t one of my ‘technically’ best shots, but it’s one that I felt summed up a lot of my recovery (very much an on-going process). It’s quite simple, but it’s something about ‘making friends’ with my body, after putting it through so much. It’s a picture of my stomach, which if I’m honest, is the part of my body I’ve disliked the most. It does feel a bit strange to put it out there, to the world! I’ve spent many years obsessing over it, trying to hide it, sucking it in, measuring it, doing ever-more sit-ups and crunches. But it’s a part of my body, a part of me. And I don’t have to love it every single day, but I’m learning to live with it, to accept it. And maybe there’s something beautiful about the human body, just as it is. As a photographer I find the human body fascinating. I enjoy photographing people of all different sizes, physiques and looks, but I find it hard to apply this to myself. I’ve come a long way, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel 100% recovered. Maybe I will, I don’t know. It doesn’t dominate my life as it once did, and that’s amazing. There are days when I feel quite ambivalent about it all, but getting the email about this today kind of made me feel that even though it can be really tough, it’s worth it, it’s worth trying.
I haven’t seen the other photographs yet (part of my is hoping there aren’t too many images of smashed scales and tape-measures, but I guess a bit of that kind of imagery is inevitable), but I there’s going to be an online gallery. I’ll post a link when it comes up. I feel quite honoured to be involved in a project like this and be able to use something I love like photography to do something for the cause. Rather than a more public audience, I’m kind of wondering about what reaction I’ll get from other people with eating disorders, what they’ll think. If anyone’s in Scotland and gets a chance to see the exhibition in-real-life, I’d love to hear what you thought!