My project has changed in many ways over the course of the year. I have changed my ideas multiple times through reading and also what has been current within society at the time as it was what really interested me.

I wanted to use my Polaroid camera and explore taking photographs on that and how they differ from digital technology however I found it more difficult because they needed to all be taking during the day and fairly bright as a few of them came up quite dark or blurred. I also found that it was quite expensive getting new film for it and without easy access to a scanner became quite problematic.

Because of my keen interest in celebrity culture and current trends, i then decided to look more towards social media and it’s impact on photography and how this has had an effect on people’s body image and self esteem. 

I still wanted to incorporate the idea of using Polaroid photography to some extent but with additional work with photo’s taken on smartphones, i.e iphones, samsungs etc. However, I have only done a few shoots with the Polaroid camera because I have had many fairly blurred images with not great quality. I am not sure  if I need to have more practice to perfect my angles and lighting to get better images but I had already wasted lots of expensive film. 

I also wanted to bring in the ideas of how people ‘over share’ their social lives and how this is done through social media and other means. I didn’t really explore this as much as I could have done although I did look into how Facebook and social media websites allow people to put pictures of us up without us knowing and can often be very invasive, for example, the blog I posted about ‘Women who eat on the tube’. However, I did mention the trends of the ‘Belfie’ and ‘Selfie’ images which potentially show a great amount of flesh and are perhaps a bit too explicit for many people to see.

I also wanted to research into “Selfie” culture and explore what makes a “like-worthy” ‘Selfie’ on Instagram and Facebook. I wanted to make a montage of “selfies” using different people and see the variety in expressions.  Whilst I didn’t really discover what makes a ‘like-worthy selfie’, I did create a montage of my friends selfie and found that most people seemed to take images from a higher angle looking down, perhaps because we find it most flattering. People also only seem to do one of two facial expressions, smiling or pouting, which I found quite interesting.  I also looked into the different celebrities who are promoting taking images like that through uploading them to their social media but how also this can be a problem in making people compare themselves to the celebrities. However, it was good in other ways such as helping to create donations for charity. What i found the most interesting though is how quickly the trend has picked up and is changing the way we take photographs because even the latest images of the Queen have appeared to look like a ‘selfie’ from Instagram. Therefore, proving how this style of photography is changing tradition. 

However, what I found the most interesting through my research was that the images that media and celebrities put in the magazines, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms can affect our body image in different ways. Whilst many can become obsessed with becoming ‘perfect’ and wanting to look like a barbie doll or getting lots of surgery because they see imperfections that are not always there. But also, how the images that are seen in the media are mostly ‘Photoshopped’ and fake themselves yet many men and women still compare their bodies with them and this helps to create eating disorders and a lack of confidence and self esteem for many. 

Initially, i was more focused on social media as a platform and how people take images differently but after doing lots of research in journals and seeing newspaper articles about the way that ‘selfies’ can actually have a negative effect led me down the route of body image and distorted reflections. I also found it more easy to come up with creative ideas because I read lots of magazines and know a lot about current affairs and celebrity culture so was able to make it quite current with contemporary culture. I found that it is definitely good to find a topic that you are passionate about or interested in to find out more because that certainly improved my creativity and enthusiasm in the last three weeks. I have enjoyed coming up with innovative ideas for my images and I have also developed a better understanding of using Photoshop by playing around with my photographs despite originally not wanting to use any digitised images.

 Despite adapting my ideas many times, I think that through lots of research and looking at different photographers work and gaining inspiration, I found that I became more passionate for my ideas in the end and I hope that it is visible to see in my final images below.



My Final Images 

I have decided to use these as my final images as i think that they represent concerns over body image and the distorted views of both the media and ourselves about appearance.

I have also updated them to Flickr where they are better quality and larger to see.

The link to my Flickr is:

It is under the name:  katiehughes2

 This is the link to my album: FINAL IMAGES,

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final image 2


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final image 3

rheanna image

edited image 4


If I was going to use these for the exhibition than I would present them in a newspaper format. There are websites such as,, which allow you to print out digital tabloid newspapers.

I would use a large image per page, roughly about 1280 x 800.  I would have a brief description about highlighting the different issues surrounding body image through the media and the title of the various images. By using the format of a newspaper, it would fit in with my idea that the media help influence us and can access the minds of millions of people very easily. I would have the newspaper lying fat against the table so that people are able to flick through as they walk around and I will also include an enticing headline to grab people’s attention. I would like to do headline font using ‘Human Capital’ font which I found on The font shows the human body in various positions to create letters which I think would also be very eye catching and go along with my theme.


rheanna image


The Photoshop image wouldn’t upload so i have attached a Print screen version. For this image I wanted to go towards the other angle, rather than distorted in the sense of body dysmorphic disorder and seeing features completely exaggerated I wanted to show the desire for people to try and achieve this perfect image of beauty and Barbie being a representation of that.

I also did the same thing using Red bull cans. I photographed them in the mirror against the black background and then used Photoshop to alter the settings and make them brighter. I wanted the red bull to stand out more so wanted to keep that in colour. I used the Lasso tool to select the can and then I went on ‘Select’ and selected ‘Inverse’. I then was able to change the rest of the image’s colour to black and white by  going to Image – Adjustments – Hue/Saturation and changing the saturation level right down so it was black and white. I also wanted to make the image brighter so i went to Image – Apply Image so that it intensified it.

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The final images

I tried a few different attempts and these were the results:



Although it needs a lot of work in Photoshop, I think that it shows the distorted views of many people of what they believe they see in the mirror and the crushed Red Bull can shows the energy being crushed out of the people who have eating disorders.



In an earlier blog post i mentioned that make-up was like a mask to be worn. Many people use it to gain confidence and become something different to what they see in the mirror. I took a few images with the mask to show how it can hide what is really going on beneath.

“The face is a canvas in which the desired image is painted, and the desired self therefore presented.” (p.147)

Browne (2006). Digging Into Popular Culture: Theories and Methodologies in Archeology, Anthropology, and Other Fields. Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Popular Press,US.

I really liked this quotation from Browne’s book on popular culture as I felt it gave a true representation of what people in Western culture believe about make-up and how it effects the way we act.

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I have listed the sources that I have used during my research:

Bordo, Susan (1993) Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley:
University of California

Browne (2006). Digging Into Popular Culture: Theories and Methodologies in Archeology, Anthropology, and Other Fields. Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Popular Press,US.

Burke, Eliza.(2012) “Reflections on the Waif: Images of Slenderness and Distress in 
ProAnorexia Websites.” Australian Feminist Studies 27, 37-54,

Cash, T.F. and Smolak, L. (2012). Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Publications.

Clay, D., LVignoles, V. and Dittmar, H. (2005). Body Image And Self-Esteem Among Adolescent Girls: Testing The Influence Of Sociocultural Factors.Journal Of Research On Adolescence 15(4).

Dittmar, Suzanne Ive, and Emma Halliwell. “Does Barbie Make Girls Want to Be Thin? The Effect of Experimental Exposure to Images of Dolls on the Body Image of 5-to 8-Year- Old Girls” Developmental Psychology. 2nd ed. Vol. 42. Brighton, 2006. 283-92. Print.

Dove. (n.d.). Our Mission. Retrieved 2 May, 2014, from

Eric Stice, Diane Spangler, W. Stewart Agras (2001). Exposure to Media-Portrayed Thin-Ideal Images Adversely Affects Vulnerable Girls: A Longitudinal Experiment. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 270-288.

Hopper, B. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2014, from The Real Ben Hopper:

Klein M,Kendyl(2013) “Why Don’t I Look Like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image” CMC Senior Theses.Paper 720.

Ledwich, J. (n.d.). monstrous feminine. Retrieved May 3, 2014, from

London, B., & Jones, T. (27, February 2013). Skinny-models-spark-disturbing-trend-thigh-gap-lipo-treatment-Harley-Street. Retrieved may 4, 2014, from

Penny, L. (2011). Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism. Winchester: Zero Books.

Personal Illusions. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2014, from

Phillips, K.A. (2005). The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.

Redefined, B. (2013, September 26th). Physically photoshopping ourselves out of reality. Retrieved May 10, 2014, from

Rogers, Mary F.(2003) “Hetero Barbie?”Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Eds.Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,94-97.Print.

Rogers,M.F. (1999) Barbie Culture. London Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.4

Sarwer DB, Cash TF, Magee L, Williams EF, Thompson JK, Roehrig M et al. (2005) Female college students and cosmetic surgery: an investigation of experiences, attitudes, and body image. Plast Reconstr Surg 115:931-938.

Tumblr. (2012, March 10). Women Who Eat on Tubes. Retrieved May 14, 2014, from

Wolf,N. (2009). The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. London: Vintage

Wykes, M. and Gunter, B. (2005). The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. London Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.




With the idea of distorted images of what people think that they see in the  mirror. Myself and Lauren played around with some glass panels to see how easily it can distort your appearance. Research into BDD shows that media does have a big impact on the way that people see themselves and this distorted view in the mirror.

“Minor flaws become gigantic! This is what people with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) do, many for hours a day. Other reflecting surfaces (e.g., car bumpers, shiny plastic or chrome surfaces) will also give you a very distorted picture of yourself.” (p.265)

“The media and society contribute to their symptoms” (p.177)

Phillips, K.A. (2005). The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.






The images that I took of Lauren showed her with a full face of make-up and trying to represent the high demands of modern society in keeping up with beauty trends. Therefore, I thought it would be good to distort the images and convey a different side to that and by using different tools on Photoshop such as blurs and distortion tools to give her a larger nose, lopsided mouth and different eye colours.


I tried to make Lauren look as fake as possible and try to represent this ‘Barbie’ style so it was good to play around with the different distortions on Photoshop.

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