Photographer Showcase: "Strength in Disorder" by Olivia JohnstonEating disorders are psychiatric conditions that are characterized by extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviours surrounding weight and food. These disorders are incredibly serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect day-to-day life. Canadian Photographer Olivia Johnston decided she wanted to create a project that addressed the incredibly harmful effects of eating disorders, without glamorizing or romanticizing the issue, as it often is in the media.
"Strength in Disorder" explores the juxtaposition between true beauty – that is, inner strength, intelligence, vitality and confidence – and indescribable suffering. A huge component of the project is an audio track (scroll down to find the audio track HERE), comprised of interviews conducted with each woman; this audio track is not meant to reflect the individual, but instead, the experience of suffering from an eating disorder. These images, accompanied by the audio, are a complete portrait of strength in the face of incredible mental and emotional distress.
In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified. For more information, visit the National Eating Disorders Association. In Canada, check out the National Eating Disorder Information Centre.