Julia Kozerski is courageous. I couldn’t do what she did. I can barely look at myself in a mirror, much less document my body on film. Through Julia’s work, I think we can all be a little more courageous, face our fears, learn a little more about ourselves. Her beautiful, stark, graphically elegant photographic diary is a universal story of triumph. Mind over matter, of persistence and commitment. Her story of body image, self control and the emotional roller coaster she herself takes us on is worth a period of self reflection. How would we live through this experience ourselves? This is a powerful honest series of images.
We all have at least one attribute about ourselves that causes us to be self conscious; something that causes us to feel as if we are not “normal.” For myself and countless others, our weight is a constant source of such insecurity. By the time I had reached the age of 25, I tipped the scales at 338 pounds. With a body mass index (BMI) of 49.9 percent, literally half of my body consisted of fat, and I was classified as “morbidly obese.” Throughout childhood and adolescence, my weight led me through spells of depression caused by associated physical and emotional issues. For so long, I wished nothing more than to physically be someone other than myself believing that doing so would make me happier.
In December 2009 I decided to take charge of my life and embarked upon my own self-directed, healthy-living journey. Through calorie counting, focus on nutrition, portion control, and increased exercise, my efforts have resulted in a loss of over 160 pounds. While I genuinely believed that my hard work and dedication would transform me into that “perfect” person of my dreams, the reality of what has resulted is quite the opposite. My experience contradicts what the media tends to portray. While it is easy to celebrate and appreciate the dramatic physical results of such an endeavor, underneath the layers of clothing and behind closed doors, quite a different reality exists.
These photographs are self-portraits. They serve as reflections of my experience and address and explore my physically and emotionally painful, private struggles with food, obsession, self-control, and self-image. These brutally honest images shed light on the truth of what it is like for me to live life as Half of myself.
b. 1984, Milwaukee, WI
Julia Kozerski is an artist and photographer based out of Milwaukee, WI, having received her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD.) Her work explores universal themes of beauty, body-image, and identity and has been exhibited internationally. Kozerski was recently published in PDN (Photo District News) magazine as part of the 2012 Photo Annual and has also received significant exposure online, having been highlighted in Fraction Magazine, on Lenscratch, as well as on the CNN Photos Blog.
For more of Julia’ s great work, please log onto her website.