My practice centers on ideas of disordered eating, ritualistic consumption, and decay. The images created are intended to explore the idea of food as play and how that interaction is traumatic for me; as someone who has and still struggles with an eating disorder. Initially, the process of constructing these compositions served as a means of recovery yet, as I continued working in the studio, I became more conscious of the methodology for the arrangement that I had developed. While hesitant to show my body at first, I assumed a necessary posture of vulnerability. In doing this I am tying into the theory of mimetic desire. As long as we are not provided with a goal worthy of our emptiness we will copy the emptiness of others. The “other” I appeared to be copying was always the most complete version of myself. In constructing these images, I navigate between actions of severing and splicing to deconstruct my assumed attitudes towards eating and introduce new behaviors of seeing and chewing.
This project began as an earnest attempt to explore my relationship with food. It has since adapted to accommodate an exploration into how my eating disorder has preconditioned my body to develop life-long additional conditions I had not previously thought possible. As I believe my diagnosis is enduring, so too is the continuation of this series.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jamie Bernstein lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Photography and a minor in Japanese from Brown University. She has an emotional support dog who is a four-year-old Shiba Inu named Azuki; they go everywhere together. She is a lover of all food, but especially pastries and bread. She is an artist who is obsessive in her efforts to define a capricious relationship between food and the body, as influenced by disordered eating and ritualistic consumption–in her case, Judaism.
Having always been extremely shy and reserved, photography has allowed her to be selective with how she expresses herself. To hone in on precisely what she wants to show the world about her. Bernstein’s creative process has changed significantly in the past 6 months as she grapples with a new diagnosis, specialist visits, numerous prescriptions, and altogether way too much poking and prodding. As she gradually works through the symptoms of this autoimmune disease, she is exploring with her camera how best to understand her condition and honor her experience.
© Jamie Bernstein