This image haunts me for few days now. I can’t get it out of my mind but I can’t get it in my heart either!
It keeps on haunting me high and low and even though it’s that weight issue we all pretend to know and talk about, the visual form or Anorexia’s demons is powerful enough to bring sadness in my eyes at any time. Brilliantly photo-put by Mr Ross Brown.
Known for his amazing attention to detail and every aspect of the photographic work, Ross Brown knew he wanted to be a photographer when he was only 13 years old. Born in 1969 in New Zealand, he worked really hard to achieve his dream, bought his first camera and from there on, nothing could stop him!
Although he’s known and awarded for a wide range of topics (one of his photos hangs on a wall of the Musee du Quai Branly), Ross Brown keeps his focus on design and advertising nowadays. With the same dedication and attention for every aspect of his work – from the actual gesture of taking a picture to the digital retouching of each photo – Ross continues to impress with his style and vision.
The image above recalling an anorexic looking back at herself in the mirror, although in Ross Brown’s name and portfolio, was retouched by Geoff Francis, as commissioned by Eating Disorders Services. It even went on to win New Zealand’s yearly photo contest. After years of experience in the field, Geoff Francis can proudly list many causes he has helped make an image or spread a message. Below, his work for the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi while trying to promote the Women’s Refuge appeal.
Our initial image, meant to highlight the distorted self image of a person suffering from an Eating Disorder was taken by Ross Brown for the Eating Disorder Services as commanded by Clemenger BBDO Advertising agency from New Zealand was released in 2004.
The visuals aren’t that uncommon or new as going through some EAD resources over the internet, I came across an illustration (reading ‘Des troubles du comportment alimentaire: L’anorexie et l’obesite) and also an advertorial product by Austin Kelley Advertising agency for Counselling for Eating Disorders by the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders, July 2000. The photographer in question is Atlanta-based Chris Davis.
Apparently, the distorted image of one’s self was documented in a scientific study called ‘The Illusion of Pinocchio’, proving through brain scans that a certain part of the human brain, the Posterior Parietal Cortex, registered an unusually high activity with the persons suffering from Eating Disorders. They could actually, physically, project an entirely different image of their bodies in the parietal cortex!
Anorexia, just like bulimia and a wide range of unspecified eating disorders represent mental illnesses. Scientific studies weren’t able to completely sustain the theory of fashion models being solely responsible for the emaciated image young women and men try to identify themselves with. A wider specter of causes can trigger an eating disorder (among which genetics or even a psychological or physical trauma) and the biggest percentage of cases occur in young women starting from the pre-teen years (12-14 years) to the larger group of 18 to 30 years. Few cases were registered or documented after that age.
Coincidence or not, it’s the peak of their being. Youth and beauty, intelligence and success, they all seem somehow tied together with being thin. On the other side, obesity, which can also be related to an Eating Disorder, appears later in life, older they get, people tend to let go of their living and eating discipline, gaining more and more weight (the documented peak of age for obesity is between 55 and 64 years).
Like any and all other mental illnesses, Eating Disorders can be assisted and alleviated with a lot of love and support from the family or the close friends. Nobody is alone. Or at least nobody has to be alone. Admitting the problem and reaching out would work wonders in the recovery of the true individual crushed under this image/health issue before it becomes life threatening!