‘Photo Therapy: Work on Emotional Eating’ was made in 1984. It was done in collaboration with Rosy Martin, who Spence developed a co-counselling practice they called ‘Photo Therapy.’
Jo was a self-described emotional eater, and with this work, she examines her complicated relationship with food and her own weight, which fluctuated wildly. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1982 that she shed weight, and this was mainly due to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), self-care, and other alternative treatments that she used.
Shown here, she’s on the precipice of pouring a bag of sugar over her head, and she playfully handles her own sugar addiction and relationship with food.
This work actually forebodes a later body of work, ‘The Final Project’, which was made when Spence was dealing with terminal leukaemia. This disease left her gaunt and bony, a shell of what she once was. It ultimately proved too difficult to depict, and Spence moved away from photographing herself at this point, using old photographs, sandwiching them, creating slides, that she would then project and photograph to create new works.
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