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Skeleton in the Closet: Eating Disordered Lives Paperback – August 31, 2013
By turns heart-wrenching and redemptive, photographer Liedtke's book features portraits of people who have struggled with eating disorders, paired with their personal statements. His photographs--in vibrant, full color--are artful and humanizing, treating each subject in a unique and sensitive fashion. The accompanying text is often harrowing in its honest portrayal of a complex psychological condition. Amanda, posing in a cemetery, muses: "A hospital gown is a symbol for sickness, but to me it's a symbol of restored life...that gown saved me from the grave." -Publishers Weekly review
Liedtke's Skeleton in the Closet collects portraits of people who have suffered from eating disorders, each photograph accompanied by writing from the subjects. The book earned a starred review from PW Select, with our reviewer calling it "by turns heart-wrenching and redemptive...artful and humanizing" and stating that he "[treats] each subject in a unique and sensitive fashion." We spoke to Liedtke about going out of one's way to publish difficult or unclassifiable subject matter, and the lasting connections between photographers and subjects. -Publishers Weekly interview
About the Author
Fritz Liedtke is an artist and professional photographer whose work has been shown internationally, is regularly published in books and magazines, and is collected into major museum collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Haggerty Museum of Art, and the Griffin Museum of Photography. An award-winning photographer, he lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and daughter and their bright orange house.
Top customer reviews
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The eating disorders of anorexia (also known as anorexia nervosa) and bulimia are explained through the words of people who struggle with these at times incapacitating disorders. The information is shared in each person's own words and is coupled by a photograph of that speaker. The subjects are both men and women, very young to elderly, a cross section of races and ethnic groups, all types of people whose pain is explained better than any book yet written about this subject.
Much of the reason this information is so pertinent to us is the fact that our current society has created a trend to look a certain way in order to achieve success - as models, dancers, actors, people looking for employment and afraid of being perceived as being overweight. But what Fritz Liedtke allows us to hear and see are the many factors that are the etiologies behind the feeling of the need to deny food, to regurgitate after eating so as not to appear fat even if the subject is paper thin to begin, the emotional backgrounds of why these people are trapped in a situation for which there is not only little understanding among the general populace, but also among the health professions.
Each story is deeply touching: each photograph is a masterwork of composition, color control, lighting sensitivity, and biography. This is an art book to be sure, but it is far deeper than that. This is a major achievement in shedding some light on a secretive process that affects millions of people, silently, until now. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 13
This is a hard book to review. Truth can free us, and it can disturb. You want to say how much you love the book and how everyone should read it, but hesitate; that doesn't do it justice. Buy the book and you'll see why. You want to warn readers: this book will affect you, disturb you, grieve you, if you don't know about eating disorders. If you do, you may find hope or at least camaraderie. Buy the book and be brave.
Fritz opens a window for us into a barely visible disorder. His artistry is transcendant in quality, concept and execution. The grief of eating disorders is rendered secondary to the hope, the dignity of his photographic regard. From the opening title and essays, to the thoughtful approach, the first-class photography and layout, you will enter a secret world, and learn, and you will leave the experience of the book sensitized. And you may just run into someone you sit next to, or work with, and notice some of what Fritz describes here (including personal experience), and pass them your copy. And then get another one, and see what happens. This book deserves a response. Thank you.
As a recovered bulimic anorexic, I found myself--in the bits and pieces of shared stories--in this book, and it inspired me make my own photographic account, to capture what it looked like for me to conquer my own darkness so that light and laughter could shine through. Skeleton in the Closet documents and thereby honors each individual highlighted in the book, illuminating the multifaceted experiences of people with eating disorders while giving them a visual and written voice.
For those who want to understand others with eating disorders or even get more insight into themselves, I highly recommend taking this visual journey through the darkness of an eating disorder toward the light of hope, healing, life.