The PhotoBook

January 5, 2013

Laia Abril – Thinspiration

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Copyright 2012 Laia Abril self-published

First be warned, this is a troubling, if not disturbing, photobook.

As such, it is a photo-documentary of a community of mostly young women who appear to obsessively starving themselves to death. In a bazaar twist on social networking, these women post and share self-portraits of their current anorexia state amongst themselves. .

As a social documentary artist, Laia Abril has researched this self-destructing group by re-photographing what these women have posted about themselves on certain web sites and other social media. In by so doing, she calls attention to the act of social networking as well as photography as a medium to propagate an illness.

Abril asks the rhetorical question; does photography help them to be aware of reality or has the camera turned into another trick for anorexia to control their body and perpetuate the distortion of their own image? To what extent does photography influence the deterioration of their illness?

Abril mashes the subject’s self-portraits with text that the members post. Concurrent with the posting of their self-portraits, the pro-ana (anorexia) members provide “encouragement” on their quest to become invisible, to physically waste away.

The photographs reveal how the subjects document their current state of “success”, usually standing partially undressed or nude in front of large mirrors situated in bathrooms or bedrooms, posing to reveal the their protruding rib and hip bones, sunken stomachs or boney wrists or legs that are skinner than their knees. Abril edited and designed the layout of the resulting photographs to create a visual map of this destructive state of mind with the double gate-folds hiding and then revealing this complex condition, perhaps symbolic of how the women attempt to conceal/reveal what they are attempting to accomplish.

Indirectly, Abril has created a social commentary about and an investigation into what constitutes beauty and femininity, while exposing an addiction that has serious, if not deadly, consequences.

As a photobook object, it is a complex stiff cover book constructed of a series of double gatefolds. The introduction is by Silvia Omedes and the Afterword is by Abril with the text provided in Spanish and English.

As an interesting publishing note, the book was designed in collaboration with Ramon Pez and Guillermo Brotons with Edition Consulting by Christina de Middel and Silvia Omedes. Pez and Abril had similar roles in the publication of Christina de Middel’s The Afronauts, one of the most interesting artist photobook in 2012.

Douglas Stockdale for The Photobook

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9 Comments »

  1. I pray women will begin too feel valued and cherished to the point where they feel loved automatically and stop hurting themselves to be loved.

    Comment by myoungdale777 — January 5, 2013 @ 6:08 am

  2. Reblogged this on pintowski's Blog and commented:
    This has to stop. Anew world order must be instituted to curb the menace….

    Comment by pintowski — January 5, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

  3. Reblogged this on Introverts Are Welcome.

    Comment by slove98 — January 6, 2013 @ 3:42 am

  4. So sad

    Comment by journeymans — January 6, 2013 @ 4:35 am

  5. Reblogged this on bigbongdongsolong.

    Comment by loukask — January 8, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

  6. Reblogged this on dimka01blog and commented:
    ghg

    Comment by dimka1mai — January 19, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

  7. I’m a recovering Bulimic with Anorexic tendencies, but it’s been over a year since my illness has had any remote grasp over my life. They say five years out of an eating disorder breaks the cycle. Do you think that reading this book/purchasing it would be irresponsible of me given the condition of my health? I’d really like to look into it, because it seems so tastefully done and so harsh unlike the sensationalism ever-present throughout the documentation of eating disorders. I’d be reading it for knowledge and shock not to reconsider my past choices.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is, from reading this, do you think someone who has been through an eating disorder could handle reading it as well?

    Comment by coysbontdry — January 21, 2013 @ 4:45 am

  8. You hope these photos serve to awaken these women to the reality of their situation not further the grip the disease has on them. Unsettling to say the least!

    Comment by Storm Copper — January 22, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

  9. Reblogged this on Products and Juice for the 21st Century Girl and commented:
    Some photos speak a thousand words. May we remind all the ladies out there that you are beautiful no matter what size you are. Love yourself! Don’t forget that!

    Comment by xxixxi — January 30, 2013 @ 6:13 am


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