Thinspiration are images of skinny women, usually celebrities or models, who may be anything from naturally slim to skeletal with visibly protruding bones. Thinspirations are posted on Pro-Ana blogs and sites by bloggers, forum members and social networking groups to motivate themselves or one another toward further weight loss; many of these girls suffer from an eating disorders, specifically anorexia or bulimia. This community of bloggers, also known as the Pro-Ana community, promote the eating disorder anorexia nervosa as a 'life style choice'; they personify anorexia into Ana, a character with dogmas about the illness. These girls venerate Ana; as a result, they created 'Thin Commandments' and motivational tricks, which together with the Thinspiration images, help them to stay thin or loose more weight. Recently, there are more Pro-Ana bloggers that have begun to take and post self-portraits in order to inspire and display their success; these self-portraits are called the "Real Thinspiration".
My knowledge of this community comes firsthand. In 2010, after leading a year in recovery to overcome ten years of bulimia, I decided to document the struggle of girls battling the same disease.
For two years, I worked on Chapter Two: 'Thinspiration', a documentation of the Pro-Ana community members, who started to take self portraits of their thin bodies, and a portrayal of their obsession with their bodies having to be a certain way, like knees apart, sharp clavicles or highlighted ribs and spine bones. The images in this chapter are the result of photographs that I took of the computer screens depicting thousands of vernacular self-portraits taken by Pro-Ana members and shared on their blogs and websites. This project is an introspective journey across the nature of obsessive desire and the limits of self-destruction to denounce the disease’s new risk factors and motivators, like social networks and photography.
This is the second chapter of a long-term project on Eating Disorders I started 3 years ago. My mission is to bring awareness about the existence of new triggers for Eating Disorder's in our society; clarify taboos and misconceptions about these diseases; and, create a better informed community capable to deal with eating disorders and its victims.
Diccionario de fotógrafos españoles, Laia Abril among others, LA FABRICA, Madrid , 2014 From here on (catalogue), Laia Abril among others, RM, Barcelona, 2013 THINSPIRATION, LAIA ABRIL, LAIA ABRIL, BARCELONA, 2012
Laia Abril (1986) is a documentary photographer raised in Barcelona. Currently she is working as a staff photographer and Consultant Photo Editor at COLORS Magazine combining with her freelance career and personal long-term project about Eating Disorders.
Her work has been published in different magazines as The Sunday Times Magazine, D Repubblica, Ojo de Pez, Le Monde, FT, PDN, Burn Magazine, GUP, The British Journal of Photography, Esquire or COLORS Magazine where she is a member of the editorial team since she enrolled FABRICA - the Artists Residency of the Benetton Research Centre in Italy - in 2009.
After finishing her degree in Journalism and studied photography workshops at the ICP in New York City; she decided to focus her photography in telling intimate stories which raises uneasy realities related with femininity. In 2009 and 2010 she was a finalist of the Ian Parry, participating in the exhibition at the Getty Gallery in London both years, first with her project on the young lesbian community in Brooklyn, and then with 'The Last Cabaret' about a sex club in Barcelona. Her body of work has been exhibited and appraised mostly in Italy, Spain, Poland, London and New York. In 2010 she joined the agency Reportage by Getty as an emerging talent and selected at Plat(t)form Winterthur PhotoMuseum 2012.
Three years ago she starts a long-term project about Eating Disorders, with the First Chapter: 'A Bad day' a multimedia focus in the daily life of a young girl struggling with bulimia. The piece has been featured internationally on several media and selected at the NY Photo Festival 2011 or 3rd Lumix PhotoFestival in Hanover among others. In 2012 she releases her self-published fanzine, 'Thinspiration', the Second Chapter of the Eating Disorders series, which explores the use of photography in the Pro-Ana websites, highlighted as one of the best books of the year and exhibited in many festivals. The photographic project was also finalist at the Burn Emerging Photography Fun in 2012, shortlisted at Fotovisura Grant 2013 and selected as a jury choice award at Santa Fe Center 2013. Most recently has been exhibited in the collective show 'From Here On' in Barcelona and in the Lodz FotoFestiwal 2013 in Poland.
Currently she is working on her book project 'The Epilogue', the Third Chapter, which documents the aftermath, after the death because Eating Disorders, on the indirect victims; patients' families and social environments.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.