Category Archives: Dissertation

Body shaming in the media.

In all probability I think that this would be a huge list if I had the time to look through each link and to search for separate celebrities who have been fat shamed in the media in the last 12 months.  Instead I have just picked the top few for this post under the google search term of ‘celebrity body shaming’, to give an idea of who and why people are shamed.  It really is pretty sad that in a world screaming out for equality in everything instead people, and writers in the media, forget that people have the right to enjoy their own diverse bodies without criticism.  Health is the key – if people are healthy and happy then we need to exercise some discretion and be kind to others with our words and thoughts.

Pink, the singer, is here criticised for her weight – she looks super fit to me and very pretty.


Another article put together features the above Pink reply, and also the ‘attack’ on Kelly Clarkson by Katie Hopkins, as well as other celebs.

This video clip from youtube that features the model, Tyra Banks, talking about the fat shaming she experienced is very emotional, and the response from the women in the studio audience show just how much women are affected by this type of behaviour.

And it would seem that the body shaming has no qualms about criticising pregnant women too.  This report shows that women are shamed for being too fat, too thin (pregorexia is the derogatory term used here!), or anything in between.

Now I really love this twist on the troll’s and fat shamers.  This man was filmed at a party having fun and a dance.  Somehow it made its way onto the social media scene and the poor man was absolutely ripped to pieces and teased for being fat.  Then a wonderful thing happened – people worldwide started defending the chap and sticking up for him.  In the end the chap was traced and a huge party was thrown for him!

What I find sad about all this body and fat shaming is that people fat shame themselves.  It seems to be a ‘normal’ part of life to be criticised for your body shape and weight, with some teens giving up on feeling good about their bodies, perhaps forever!  I came across a teen acronym that is currently being used – DUFF – and the phrase on a t-shirt saying “I’m somebody’s DUFF”.  What does it mean?  Well the acronym is for the saying “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”.  How sad that a label needs to be put on someone in a group of friends.  Its almost like saying you should only be friends with people who look like your body shape or else your only purpose is to make the slimmer people look better!  If this is the type of teen talk that is going on then its time to move, and fast, to educate these people on diversity and kindness to other humans!


Its not just women celebrities that are criticised.  Texas Ranger MLB star, Prince Fielder, received huge amounts of hate and body shaming for this image.


This is an interesting article to finish with by Jessi Andricks on Body Shaming.  Jessi is a health coach, yoga instructor and health blogger.  She says in the article:

Treat your body kindly. Nurture it and love it. Feed it with nourishing food and movement. Do things that make you feel good on a deeper level and you’ll notice the surfaces changes don’t matter quite as much. 

Drop the ideas of perfection.Tell your body it is beautiful and absolutely, perfectly, imperfect. These are your unique qualities and traits that you deserve to be proud of. 

Look at yourself and notice the things that you love, not the things you hate. Focus on the positive and the negative won’t seem as prevalent. 

Take action now and do one thing today to quit the body shaming and start living your life.


Plus sized models – Healthy bodies should be the goal.

Looking through my random pins on my Pinterest account I rediscovered this e-zine on which talks about plus sized models and their insight into the business.  Fantastic magazine that is full of positive images of models larger than a UK size 8 (although I still can’t see how this is considered to be a plus size!).  There are even advertisements in it from modelling agencies that celebrate curves (like IPM Model Management) that state that they take plus sized models from 8 – 18 sizes (This still shocks me immensely that this is considered a plus size when so many women are well into those sizes as normal) but the blurb on the agency home page states that they:

“We‘re always striving to push the envelope of beauty and today more than ever before, our models range in sizes from 6 to 18. We strive in working with models that live a clean healthy lifestyle. With well proportionate curves that show what a healthy woman body looks like.” (IPM Model Management)

Below is a screen shot from one spread of the magazine, featured on, which emphasises the use of ultra slim models in the fashion industry compared with a ‘normal’ sized woman.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.35.38

Although this may be one step closer to achieving a fair portrayal of what a real woman looks like and to act as achievable goals for other women it should be noted that each larger model has still undergone a huge ‘Photoshop’ treatment (for example, on hair, blemishes and skintone).  So, although they mean well, and obviously have a lot of investment to protect by selling their plus sized models to the fashion industry we are not yet completely there for the ‘real women’ thing in an unbiased and honest way.

Ultimately there should be a range of body sizes featured in all fashion magazines with the emphasis on ‘healthy’ models and there needs to be a push for less ‘body shaming’ in the media and more models with healthy bodies and also a healthy mindset.  I feel that then size would be irrelevant if these were the revered goals.


Kim Lathe – The Bare Experience

Whilst searching through to see what photography projects are currently seeking funding I came across this photographer from South Dakota, USA.  She has been photographing men and women without their clothes and without using Photoshop and now has over 100 portraits that she wishes to make into a book and an exhibition.  In her kickstarter bid she says:

Why did you decide to do this BARE project?

As a photographer, I have done portraiture for people for years, and inevitably most people wanted me to “fix” things on their pictures in Photoshop – a double chin, blemishes, etc. etc. It intrigued and exasperated me to see so many people with so many self-perceived “flaws.” Everybody always want to hide something from the world, so I thought it would be interesting to ask people to bare themselves instead. I want to try and show people the beauty they already posses, even if they don’t look like the people we see in magazines and on TV.   


I looked at her website ( and was surprised that her ideas are very similar to mine.  From this I can assume that this subject is something that is touching people all over the world and is something that is close to everybody’s heart.

Below are screen grabs of three of my favourite images from the slide show.  Love the fact that they are black and white and are as much to deal with shape and form as they are of portraits.

They remind me of some of the nude images by Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston.

Book Reviews

Literature Reviews

Leibovitz, A. and Sontag, S. (1999). Women. New York: Random House.

From pages 19 to 36 Susan Sontag writes about the images produced by Leibovitz for this book entitled ‘Women’.

In this passage Susan Sontag discusses the implications of making judgements on a photograph purely on the basis that an American woman is the person in the image.  Sontag discusses stereotyping, both historically and in the modern day, and the inequality of how male and female images are assessed.

These judgments are exactly the same as the general public make on a daily basis with every image that they see in the media.  Without even being aware of humans make decisions based on what a person is wearing, their pose and their bodily appearance and then use these judgements to decide what we feel their morals and lifestyle are.

One quote from the book that stands out to me is this one by Susan Sontag:

‘Nobody looks through a book of pictures of women without noticing whether the women are attractive or not.’ Women, (1999, 22)

Data Collection for Dissertation via SurveyMonkey.

As part of my research for my dissertation and my specialist production I have used Survey Monkey to produce a short questionnaire on thoughts on body image manipulation.

There are only 10 questions as this was the limit for a free survey.  The questions are short and are multiple choice so that they do not take too long to complete.  I have also kept the questions fairly vague so as not to raise topics that would need me to get permissions from the university ethics board and so that nothing in them would be too distressing or cause people to overthink the study.

This questionnaire is far from perfect and my investigations into the workings of surveys needs to be much deeper to understand how to get the best from them.  Also, obviously, a budget is helpful to get the questionnaire out to the public.  It is the beginning of a long journey I think, but a whole new avenue into first hand research.

Update on my questionnaire

My questionnaire has now been online for 12 hours and I have found that because it is a free version the amount of data that I can collect is limited (you can upgrade for a fee though).  If like me you do not need that much detail but were interested in seeing how far the questionnaire has reached (without putting it as a question obviously!) you can locate the area of the country/world that your respondent comes from you can copy and paste their IP address into your browser which will give you an approximate location.

The questionnaire can be found at:

National Portrait Gallery, London.

Taylor Wessing Portrait Photographic Prize 2014

This half term I was lucky enough to go to London to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see the Taylor Wessing Portrait Photographic Prize to give me some inspiration for my own portrait project for my Specialist Production Project.

This image below is the one that won first prize.  I love the lighting in this – it makes the subject choice look almost biblical!   The image reminds me of the works under the series ‘Persons Unknown’  made by Tom Hunter  (Woman Reading a Possession Order is my favourite).  I wonder if David Titlow also takes his inspiration from Johannes Vermeer’s paintings as Hunter does?

Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow,

David Titlow for Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow

The exhibition was surprisingly good value for money, with a full priced ticket being £3.  If you are clever enough to bring the correct change with you then you can skip the long ticket queues and go straight into the exhibition by paying the concierge at the exhibition entrance.  If you are planning to buy a program for the exhibition then your ticket price is deducted from the price, which made mine a wonderful £12 for a fantastic brochure to treasure.

One thing that did surprise me about the exhibition is that the frames were not in perfect condition, with chips and splinters out of some of them, and fingerprints on one of the mounts used.  This could be of course that the exhibition is showing signs of wear and tear as it has been running for some time.

Definitely a show worth visiting if you are in London.  Details of the exhibition can be found at:

I found the technical details of some of the images really interesting and being able to see what range of camera equipment was used was enlightening.  Details of the technical details can be found on this link:

Lizzie Churchill Workshop

Went to Lizzie’s workshop today on editing in Photoshop for magazine work.  Workshop was really interesting as it was all about the editing process that is necessary to publish images in magazines at the moment.  Lots of skin smoothing process and refining of the image necessary for todays consumer.  Very in contrast with what I am planning to do for my specialist production, in which I will be using no photoshop at all.

The process we used involved using Frequency Separation (i.e. working with 2 layers) to achieve the results.  One layer was for the colour of the image, the other was for the texture of the image.  This is my final image of Emily, our model for the session, and my notes on how to do it.