I just finished looking through the photographs of Julia Kozerski, a photographer who captured her 160 pound weight loss in two different photographic projects.
We all have at least one attribute about ourselves that causes us to be self conscious; something that causes us to feel as if we are not “normal.” For myself and countless others, our weight is a constant source of such insecurity. By the time I had reached the age of 25, I tipped the scales at 338 pounds. With a body mass index (BMI) of 49.9 percent, literally half of my body consisted of fat, and I was classified as “morbidly obese.” Throughout childhood and adolescence, my weight led me through spells of depression caused by associated physical and emotional issues. For so long, I wished nothing more than to physically be someone other than myself believing that doing so would make me happier.
In December 2009 I decided to take charge of my life and embarked upon my own self-directed, healthy-living journey. Through calorie counting, focus on nutrition, portion control, and increased exercise, my efforts have resulted in a loss of over 160 pounds. While I genuinely believed that my hard work and dedication would transform me into that “perfect” person of my dreams, the reality of what has resulted is quite the opposite. My experience contradicts what the media tends to portray. While it is easy to celebrate and appreciate the dramatic physical results of such an endeavor, underneath the layers of clothing and behind closed doors, quite a different reality exists.
These photographs are self-portraits. They serve as reflections of my experience and address and explore my physically and emotionally painful, private struggles with food, obsession, self-control, and self-image. These brutally honest images shed light on the truth of what it is like for me to live life as Half of myself.
The second project is called Changing Room, and it’s comprised of photographs she took of herself in fitting rooms during her weight loss.
It’s amazing to see these iPhone photographs of her physical transformation, but I was really moved by her statement from this piece, (you can read the entire Changing Room statement here)
Both in front of the lens and not, I struggled to come to terms with my changing body. As the weight came off, the shape of my body shifted dramatically and the monumental task of maintaining a well-fitting wardrobe ensued. I felt lost, not understanding the person looking back at me in the mirror. My physique was always in a state of flux and, in an attempt to strike a balance between how I felt and how I looked, I ventured out to stores on a daily basis, piling my arms full of clothing of all shapes and sizes. There was no method to my madness and I subsequently spent hours within the confines of store dressing rooms trying to “find” myself. Purely for personal reference, I used my iPhone to document these endeavors.
I wanted to share this after appreciating all the work this woman has done – physically, emotionally, artistically. We each get one body, do something amazing with it!