Thursday, January 8, 2009
A new exhibit called "Thirty-Two Kilos" opened tonight at the Goethe- Institut in Washington, D.C. It is a collection of digitally manipulated photos looking like emaciated, anorexic models (posed by her friends, not real models) by German photographer, Ivonne Thein. Thein says this was her response after feeling shocked at pro-ana websites.
However, as with many creative expressions of art, it is not always intended as it is meant to be. You can better believe that the pro-ana websites have taken a liking to these photos, calling them "thinspiration."
One commenter said, "Those pics are beautiful! I want to look like them! They look so fragil [sic] and like an angel."
Thein says, "That's not what I wanted. It's important for me that if I show my pictures, there's a statement that it's a critical position and I don't glamorize anorexia."
Although I know this photographer is not trying to glamorize eating disorders, it is unfortunate that this is part of the outcome. It seems just like another "shock" value content in perhaps preaching to the wrong audience. Then again, maybe I'd feel different if I saw the exhibit in person. There is always a different element with that.
If anyone sees this exhibit in person, I'm interested to hear your thoughts. Do you feel like the photographer made her point? Is shock value the way to go for change?
Sources: Pro-anorexia websites inspire controversial photo exhibit
'Thirty-Two Kilos': A stark look at anorexia
Other photos from the exhibit here
*Thirty-two kilos is about seventy pounds