"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

Viennese photographer Mafalda Rakos understands that eating disorders are often hidden under the veil of silence and shame, but he knows that the only way to healing is to talk about them. The photo project "I want to disappear. Approach to eating disorders" (I want to disappear – Approaching Eating Disorders) is a collaboration of the photographer with the women who entrusted her with their stories.

Races met with most of his heroines in the support group for those recovering from eating disorders. Some were friends even before work began on the project. If someone wanted to remain anonymous, the photographer has fulfilled this wish.

(8 photos)

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

C. decided that the burns on her abdomen will work well as symbols of her experience: "I always get cold. Always... that's why I never go to bed without a bottle with hot water. Sometimes she's just too hot, and left these footprints."

"I tried to be as delicate and respectful. "No" could turn into "Yes", even if I wanted to hear from them more details," — says the photographer.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

John. — a young student from Vienna. She was bulimic for almost three years, but eventually was able to overcome the disease, spending a lot of time at the local clinic. She is confident that she no longer suffers from this disease. But she regularly attends meetings of the group of mutual support, where it communicates with other people with eating disorders. When team members hear her optimistic and cheerful words, it gives them courage on the path to self-esteem and acceptance of oneself. John. the source of inspiration for many of them. The girl chose to remain anonymous in the photos. She has a strong attachment to water, so the photographer decided to shoot her in the pool.

The majority of women were willing to share this part of his life with the photographer. According to Rakos, popular media portray eating disorders is not always fair and not always right, and women who participated in the project, was grateful for the opportunity to speak honestly about what they have experienced.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

The photo was taken by one of the participants of the photo project. "I took this picture to capture how I look now. I want to compare it to the original look of my body when I lost weight".

The photographer emphasizes that it is not only to be slim. Eating disorders, like addiction — the effects of complex events, traumas and accidental accidents. "It comes from what is happening in human consciousness, not his body," — says the photographer.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

C. suffering from bulimia for almost five years. It has been several times a long time was in hospitals where it helped to cope with the disease. Still, the recovery seems very distant. "It's very similar to addiction. I really almost don't care how I look... but this ritual of overeating and emptying... I think it somehow helps me to cope with everything that is constantly going on around me."

What is the most memorable Mafalda Rakos in the process of working on the project? She mentions a picture that was not included in the album. There was one woman who painted pictures and fashioned sculptures, and her work background has always been mysterious shadow. She told the photographer that this figure represented her own self-loathing. In the end, they decided to make the staging a scene where a woman comes face to face with this figure, which plays the role of a man in black clothes.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

The photo was taken by one of the participants. "For me it reflects the duality of eating in General. I think the knives look very aggressive. It's like you're fighting with yourself every time you eat a piece of bread or something".

The project was sometimes painful and emotionally exhausting, and Races admits that he was ready to quit, if not for the grant from the Foundation of the documentary project (Documentary Project Fund). But not only the sense of responsibility motivated her to bring the case to the end. "There was something else," says the photographer.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

The photo was taken by one of the participants. On a piece of paper repeatedly written the word "disgusting".

Rakos deep down felt that this story had to be told. She believes that the conversation on this topic helped participants to recover what they lost because of illness.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

The photo was taken by one of the participants.

The photo project "I want to disappear" will be published in autumn 2017, and yet has its page in Facebook.

"I want to disappear": a frighteningly honest photo project about bulimia

C. in his parents ' home in Cologne.

Keywords: Disease | Food | Mental disorder | Photographer | Pictures

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