Why this topic?

Hi! Iím Loretta Keith, a University of Florida graduate photojournalism student. Iím finishing up my first year in graduate school and itís time for me to begin research for my thesis project.

I chose body modification as my topic for research because of a photo story I am working on with a girl who is plagued with eating disorders. Her situation is severe and she lives in an almost constant state of misery. She has been dealing with this disorder for six years now and itís a hard battle. She said she initially did it for attention.

My advisor, John Kaplan, suggested that I incorporate my work with her into my thesis project. I thought that was a great idea, so I decided that I wanted to do a series of photo stories on attention-seeking appearances. Everyone needs attention, and some people seek it through their untraditional appearances--whether one is terribly thin because of an eating disorder, especially voluptuous because of breast augmentation, or very colorful because of numerous tattoos etc. I would find people who sought attention through their appearances and document their lives in photo stories.

I may still take that approach, but I think the problem with it is that many people alter their appearances for a variety of motivations. I think by narrowing the project to just the motivation of attention seeking, it could exclude some candidates that could reveal much about the relationship people have with their bodies and society.

So now Iím moving more toward exploring body modification, and why people are doing it. If you browsed this site you saw the various possibilities for my research and work.

These ideas are still evolving and I would appreciate any feedback or ideas. Email me with any suggestions, thoughts, ideas. Perhaps you have modified your body or know someone who has that may like to potentially take part in this project.

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