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Weight Lifting - One Hundred Days - 012


My junior school swimming team. I swear they got the birth certificate of the guy middle centre wrong, but the back row were all within 1 year of each other.

Body image. We are all sensitive to it, but are we all trying to fit into a stereotypical mould, are we trying to impress other people, or are we trying to do the best for ourselves? Looking back at old photos, I came across this one of my school swimming team. Yes, the swimsuits age us, I know! The little K badges sewn on some of the trunks represented freedom. If you could swim 1Km non-stop (& I think we had a 10m pool), you were awarded your badge & were allowed to swim, unattended, any time you like. Imagine that for a 10 year-old today… Well this was England & the pool was unheated, so that did knock out 9 months of the year.

My point in showing this photo is to demonstrate that from a very young age, we are completely different body types, shapes, sizes. We all bulge in different places, we all store our fat differently, even if we share the belief that our own fat is stored in the most inconvenient locations around our person. How can we conform to a stereotype when we all start from such different places? I never had a flat stomach, I never had a six pack or anything resembling it. Perhaps it was because I was addicted to sugar from a very young age, or perhaps it was because that is how I was built & without severe exercise & near starvation & dehydration to bring all muscle definition to the surface, I never will. That's ok, because that's not my goal, luckily. I just want a relatively flat stomach that doesn't roll over my belt when I stoop down! No, I won't tell you which one I am. I bet you can't guess!

I'm relatively lucky.; I'm a man. Women have it so much harder (although that is starting to change a bit, but not for men of my advanced years!) because the stereotype is so dominant & omni-present. As a photographer I am strongly in favour of natural imagery. I am definitely not a fan of heavy-handed retouching & I wish people didn't feel under such pressure to perform it. They do because they are both creating & pandering to the majority view. I cannot tell you how many gorgeous women I have photographed that have such low self-esteem for the most invalid of reasons. Why anyone would want to walk around looking like an airbrushed doll is beyond me, but that is what the pressure leads to.

So my goal is to lose my excess fat, strengthen most muscle groups & be fit enough to play competitive badminton. I care not what my body will actually look like. I will not do specific exercises to change the balance of my body, but I will celebrate it as it was intended to be when I was born. (Let's hope my wife is with me on this!)

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