Seattle photographer Amanda Koster and The CEDRIC Centre are putting out a call for women on Vancouver Island of all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities to participate in This is Beautiful , a photo shoot and video interview, August 21st & 22nd .
Participants in the Victoria shoot will pose in the nude and take part in interviews, as part of a documentary and book on the project. Koster will return to Victoria in the New Year, and re-team with The Centre to exhibit the photos for the general public at a gallery space in Victoria.
Koster, a professional photographer, started This is Beautiful in 2001, “I work in the media and wanted to contribute with images that I think are beautiful, in addition to those that are already out there. I want to show the beauty in every body.”
This is Beautiful aims to create a dialogue about women’s bodies and the lack of realistic images of women in media, a critical factor in the rise of eating disorders and distorted body image.
Michelle Morand, director and founder of The CEDRIC Centre, an eating disorder counselling centre, says, “Women of all ages are under incredible pressure to strive towards an arbitrary physical ideal, and it’s up to all of us to counter those messages with positive images that celebrate all women as beautiful.”
Backgrounder for Amanda Koster
Amanda Koster is a documentary photographer based in Seattle. Besides shooting for national magazines and NGOs/non profits around the world, writing, and videography she gives equal energy to her personal projects that orbit socially conscience ideas.
Amanda picked up a camera to get an edge on her fellow anthropology students at university in and hasn’t put it down since.
“I want to teach through photography, a medium whose only requirement to appreciate is to see. I want to give this planet the perspective that life and the world is an incredible and very precious thing.”
She is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, with a Bachelors degree in Art History and Anthropology and studied at the International Center for Photography New York City.
-911 Media Arts: Digital Video shooting and editing: 2003.
– Santa Fe Photography Workshops: master workshops, 2002-3.
– Coupeville Art Center , ( Whidbey Island , WA ): master workshops, 2000-01.
-Maine Photography Workshops ( Camden , Maine ): Master photography workshops 1997-98.
-International Center of Photography (ICP), NYC: Documentary, portrait, photojournalism courses, 1994-96.
-Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven , CT : basic to advanced photography 1992-94.
-Media Arts Center ( New Haven , CT ): basic to advanced PhotoShop.
-Citizens Television ( New Haven , CT ): video/television production courses 1994.
-2004 Teacher/mentor and only photographer on education curriculum committee: Bridges (www.bridgesweb.org). Spearhead first African site in Takaungu , Kenya : train Peace Corps volunteer and collaborate with UN, “Cyber School Bus”. Teach students digital photography, web site creation and internet communication to partner with schools in USA and worldwide.
-2003, 11/03: invited speaker and presenter for Popular Photography Magazine’s national “Digital Days” workshops.
-Photographic Center Northwest ( Seattle ), photography instructor for adults, 1998-present.
-InsightYouth: photography program for youth-at-risk, Photographic Center Northwest, 1999.
-City of Bellevue (WA), ‘Shutterbugs’, photography mentor for adolescents, 2000-present.
-Creative Arts Workshop (CT), photo instructor for adults, 1995-98.
-‘Looking Out, Looking In’, photographic mentor program for mentally and physically disabled adults with a national traveling exhibition, 1997.
-‘LEAP’ program, ‘Hotshots’, a photo program for youth-at-risk, 1996-7.
-’13 Camps’, photo program for elementary students, CT, 1996.
-Editorial photographer for over 20 regional and national magazines
-“AIDS Is Knocking”, still and video documentary and interviews of AIDS orphans and widows in Kenya.
-“Faces And Voices”, Shoreline Community College, documentary project of immigrants and refugees for the purpose of creating new ethnography, anthropology, sociology course curriculum, publications and presentations, funded by the Department of Education (F.I.P.S.E. grant).
-‘This Is Beautiful’, Seattle based photography project focusing on women’s body issues.
Exhibited: Hugo House (Seattle), Frye Art Museum , Theatre Off Jackson.
Permanent acquisition by the American Cancer Society.
-Doctors Without Borders: Documented a pre and post maternal health post in Rio de Janeiro.
– National Museum for Women: International traveling exhibition about domestic violence, for the international year of the women. Exhibition began in Beijing , toured the world concluding at the National Museum for Women, Washington DC.
The CEDRIC Centre Backgrounder
The CEDRIC Centre, (Community Eating Disorder and Related Issues Counselling), specializes in the treatment of clinical eating disorders, sub-clinical disordered eating patterns, and related issues such as anxiety, depression, and distorted body image. Their counselors provide bodywork, group, and individual counselling, as well as community outreach presentations for schools, educators, and health professionals. All of The CEDRIC Centre’s counsellors have long standing recovery from an eating disorder, and are proud to have facilitated the recovery of hundreds of men and women in Victoria , BC and beyond.
The CEDRIC Centre was founded by director Michelle Morand MA, February 18 th 2001 . Morand started The Centre due to her own experiences as a compulsive eater. She recovered over a decade ago, and went on to earn her Masters in Counselling Psychology from Gonzaga University in 2002, and is now a Registered Clinical Counsellor. In January 2004, Michelle was nominated as YM/WCA Women of Distinction in the Community Legacy category.
In addition to her work at The Centre, Morand is currently writing a book that details her experiences with disordered eating. The book incorporates a decades worth of wisdom and professional experience and will allow readers to experience freedom from their own disordered eating patterns.
The CEDRIC Centre uses a multi dimensional approach to recovery. They provide group and individual counselling, complemented by supportive office staff, a resource library, newsletter, and a yearly retreat. They also recognize the need for an integrated, holistic approach to recovery. And to meet this need they offer Zero Balancing bodywork in addition to traditional cognitive behavioral therapy, for an integration of both body and mind.
Why do we need This is Beautiful?
- Fewer than half of female students (43%) are satisfied with their appearance. Satisfaction decreases with age among girls, from 50% who are satisfied at age 13, to 41% at 15 and 17. (Healthy Youth Development, 2003 Adolescent Health Survey III, The McCreary Centre Society, 2004)
- 49% of girls and 14% of boys reported that they used dieting to lose weight in the previous year (Healthy Youth Development, 2003 Adolescent Health Survey III, The McCreary Centre Society, 2004)
- More than 17 % of high-school girls in B.C. suffer from some form of eating disorder. About 8 % of males are affected (Dr. Laird Birmingham, Provincial Director, St. Paul’s Eating Disorder Program as quoted in The Vancouver Sun, February 5, 2004)
- In 2002/2003, there were 110 Referrals to the Eating Disorders Program at BC Children’s Hospital. 11.8% of those referred were in from the Vancouver Island Health Authority. 90% of those referred were female. Mean age at referral 14 yrs. 8 months.
- There were 42 admissions into the Intensive Treatment Service at BC Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program. Average length of stay is 104 days.
- 37% of Canadian females age 11, 42% of Canadian females age 13 and 48% of Canadian females age 15 say they need to lose weight (Health and Welfare Canada (1992). The Health of Canada’s youth, views and behaviors of 11-13-and-15-year-olds from 11 countries. Ottawa ON : Minister of Supply and Services H39-239/1993.).
- 52% of girls begin dieting before age 14 (Johnson et al. (1984). Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 13.).
- 17% of girls aged 12-18 years self reported substantial disordered eating patterns (National Institute of Health, Toronto )
- The fear of being fat is so overwhelming that young girls have indicated in surveys that they are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of cancer, nuclear war, or losing their parents (Berzins, l. (1997). Dying to be thin: the prevention of eating disorders and the role of federal policy. APA co-sponsored congressional briefing. USA. ).
- Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. The mortality (death) rate for eating disorders is approximately 18% in 20-year studies, and 20% in 30-year follow up studies. The annual death rate associated with anorexia is more than 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all other causes combined for females between 15 and 24 years old (Cavanaugh, C. (1999). What we know about eating disorders: facts and statistics. In lemberg, Raymond, & Cohn (Eds.), Eating disorders: A reference sourcebook. Phoenix , AZ.: Oryx Press; SuHivan P.F. (1995). Mortality in anorexia nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(7), 1073 – 1074.).
- Approximately 3% of women will be affected by an eating disorder during their lifetime. (Health canada , A report on Mental Illnesses in Canada , 2002)
- 52% of female students in BC are trying to lose weight and 27% of male students are trying to gain weight (The McCreary Centre Society’s 1999 pubtication Healthy Connections: listening to BC Youth)
- Factors believed to contribute to eating disorders include biological and personal factors as well as society’s promotion of the thin body image. (Health Canada , A report on Mental Illnesses in Canada , 2002)
- “Children and youth pay attention to social messages of who is acceptable and who is not…In discussions with children and youth across North America, weight was the most cited reason for victimization – by peers and adults alike.” (Beyond the Hurt: Preventing Bullying and Harassment, RespectEd Violence & Abuse Prevention, 2002).
- Eating disorders carry with them a high risk of other mental and physical illnesses that can lead to death. (Health Canada , A report on Mental Illnesses in Canada , 2002)
- Since 1987, hospitalizations for eating disorders in general hospitals have increased by 34% among young women under the age of 15 and by 29% among 15-24 year olds. (Health Canada , A report on Mental Illnesses in Canada , 2002)
- Men are often forgotten because their eating disorder goes undiagnosed, yet about one in ten men is affected with bulimia (Bitomsky, (2002). Men often untreated for eating disorders. The Medical Post, 38(37).).
- In a study in Ontario of 2483 female students; significant symptoms of eating disorders and binging and purging, or both, were reported by 27% of girls aged 12-18 years. Dieting was the most prevalent weight-loss behavior, also common was other unhealthy weight-Joss behaviors such as self-induced vomiting (Jones, Bennett, Olmsted, Lawson, & Rodin, (2001). Disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in teenaged girls: a school- based study. CMAJ, 165(5),542 – 552.).