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just telling it as I see it...

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Weight Lifting - One Hundred Days - 061

WEIGHTLINE 061: 86Kg

Robbie Williams performing at the Vector Arena, Auckland. Robbie is all about image, and his weight has fluctuated quite a bit over the years.

Image. That's what it's all about for some people. People want to lose weight so they can conform to the media-generated expectations of their peers. This is real. It's not about health, definitely not about health when some people lose so much weight it's decidedly Unhealthy. And don't go thinking the problem is restricted to one sex.


The thing that really gets me about weight and image is how so many people feel that they have a right not only to comment, but to instruct, direct and abuse someone just because of their weight. And often, they have no image themselves to shout about either. Weight has become one of those polarising issues that everyone is an expert on. As a photographer, it is expected that I will only photograph skinny women. Wrong. I photograph beautiful and interesting people, and in my experience they can be virtually any size. When a publisher chooses to buy into the stereotypes & adjust images so that the models fit the 'expected' size, they are really only taking the lazy & easy route. Much harder, but much more rewarding is to choose carefully & shoot creatively with real people that match the mood & atmosphere required. When done well, these images are truly the most powerful precisely because they are real & not obviously manipulated.


For the record, I am not losing weight because I want to change my image! I think a few too many years have passed for me to worry about that, as if I ever did! No, I'm losing weight because it is a natural by product of eating healthily & health is my main driver. But the key thing here is that it is my personal choice & mine alone. No-one should feel forced or coerced into making life changing decisions to satisfy anyone but themselves, and absolutely not to pander to something as nebulous as an 'image'. All of us must stop propagating the myth of the 'perfect' size & image & start to embrace real human beings in all their glorious sizes. If we start to insist that the images we see must be real & not retouched, we have the power to adjust society's visual parameters. Simply tell the company / magazine / shop that you want to see real images & you will not patronise them until you do. Now there's a bit of revolutionary thinking!


One size fits all? That's what the media have most of us believing. But with at least, oh say 2 seconds thought, we realise what bull**** that actually is. So why can't we accept the obvious truth & love people for who they are, not what size they are?

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