Final Major Project: Review of Philip Morris’s ‘Jo-Ana’ Project
The trouble with a lot of photography exhibition websites is how often a great set of images have been ruined by a poorly put together site. Philip Morris skilfully avoids this with a sensitively and clean presentation of his project ‘Jo-Ana‘. The site can be accessed at www.jo-ana.co.uk.
Morris has produced an emotive and beautiful exhibition website that showcases his stunningly composed images. Meticulously researched, planned, and executed Morris has created such a powerful and yet gentle portrayal of such a debilitating disease. His attention to detail in each image results in beautiful images that draw the viewer in.
The words from the diary are the reminders that this is a real person’s account of their road to recovery. The inclusion and placement of personal items in each image remind us that there is more to an anorexia sufferer than them just not eating. They have lives and interests like everyone else and they are more than just the disease – it does not define who they are, it is something they are suffering with.
Each image is expertly showcased on the responsive website. The style is understated and does not intrude on the viewer’s experience of work. Viewing the sequence of images of food and pages from Jo’s diary, the visual narrative is one of despair through to hope (with a multitude of emotion in between). The viewer starts to appreciate the mental distortions that anorexics have in their relationship to food. The unhealthy thoughts recorded in the diary are sympathetically and cleverly reflected in the accompanying food images.
Viewing the sequence of images of food and pages from Jo’s diary, the visual narrative is one of despair through to hope (with a multitude of emotions in between). The viewer experiences these emotions, empathising with Jo. This means that the viewer starts to appreciate the mental distortions that anorexics experience in their relationship to food. The unhealthy thoughts recorded in the diary are sympathetically and cleverly reflected in the accompanying food images.
Stigma prevents conversation. The images in Morris’s project communicate and connect instantly with the viewer on a subconscious level. This happens before the stigma that surrounds anorexia can affect the message. Morris’s photographs start the conversation when so often words would fail.
Jo’s words are so emotional and offer hope to those currently suffering. So beautiful and thought-provoking.