“Changing Room:” watch one woman lose 160 pounds, one iPhone photo at a time

Her name is Julia Kozerski, and she documented her weight loss (and struggles with body image) on her website using just the camera on her telephone:

Following my wedding in July 2009, I decided to make a series of changes to my lifestyle in order to lose weight. During the year that followed, I successfully lost over 160 pounds. Throughout this time I was also working towards my BFA in photography at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD.) Utilizing self-portraiture, I explored my physical and emotional experiences, subsequently developing my long-term photographic project entitled “Half.”

Both in front of the lens and not, I struggled to come to terms with my changing body. As the weight came off, the shape of my body shifted dramatically and the monumental task of maintaining a well-fitting wardrobe ensued. I felt lost, not understanding the person looking back at me in the mirror. My physique was always in a state of flux and, in an attempt to strike a balance between how I felt and how I looked, I ventured out to stores on a daily basis, piling my arms full of clothing of all shapes and sizes. There was no method to my madness and I subsequently spent hours within the confines of store dressing rooms trying to “find” myself. Purely for personal reference, I used my iPhone to document these endeavors.

The first photograph in “Changing Room” was taken in early 2009, well before I embarked on my healthy-living journey. I was shopping for my wedding dress with my sister, Jamie (who actually doubled as the photographer for the image.) Evident is my discomfort; not only with the dress I was modeling but also with the act of allowing myself to be “captured” by the photograph. Nearly 200 images followed. From swimwear and ballgowns, to lingerie and high heels (some items more serious than others,) the digital captures harness not only the physical, but also the emotional, changes I endured – unrestricted by the photographic constraints embedded from my training.

Follow her journey here.  It’s remarkable: inspiring, revelatory and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once. You can also read an NPR interview with her.

UPDATE, AND A CAUTION: A reader wrote to point out that if you explore some of the other images (beyond “Changing Room”) on the photographer’s web site, you may be in for a shock.  NSFW. (Nudity, in various stylized interpretations.) Consider yourself warned.

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