These 14 powerful photos show what it’s like to live with body dysmorphia

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Valerie Metra Jeanson
  • An upcoming exhibition has been designed to raise awareness for body dysmorphia.
  • “Identity” opens in north London this month.
  • It features never-before-seen images of Lady Gaga, who suffered with body dysmorphic disorder in her younger years.

Body dysmorphia, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition which sees someone obsessing over perceived flaws which are often unnoticeable to anyone else.

Sufferers of BDD often feel anxious about their looks, can’t stop comparing their appearance to others, and go to great lengths to conceal their supposed flaws, according to the NHS.

While some people mistakenly believe those suffering from BDD are simply vain, this isn’t the case at all – body dysmorphia can be extremely distressing and can also result in developing other serious conditions, such as depression.

A new exhibition in London, called “Identity,” aims to showcase what it’s like to live with BDD.

Here are some of the most powerful photos.


The “Identity” exhibition will open at the Zebra One Gallery in Hampstead, north London on November 24.

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An image by Meltem Isik. Meltem Isik

The gallery challenged 10 artists to explore body dysmorphia and self-image.

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Valerie. Metra Jeanson

The exhibition features never-before-seen images of Lady Gaga, who suffered from BDD in her teens.

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Lady Gaga Derrick Santini

The photos of Lady Gaga were taken by Derrick Santini just before the singer skyrocketed to global fame in 2009.

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Lady Gaga Derrick Santini

Meltem Isik’s collection of nude portraits also feature in the exhibition.

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A woman holds up a zoomed-in image of her back. Meltem Isik

The photographs show people holding giant images of various body parts against themselves.

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One of the images in the exhibition Meltem Isik

They’re designed to be powerful explorations of body image and self-awareness.

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An image in the exhibition Meltem Isik

The portraits demonstrate that we all have body parts we’re more self-conscious about.

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An image in the exhibition Meltem Isik

Photographers Bruno Metra and Laurence Jeanson — collectively known as Metra-Jeanson — are also exhibiting their work.

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Julie Metra-Jeanson

The duo cut out heavily stylised facial features from adverts and taped them over models’ faces.

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Bea Metra-Jeanson

They hope their work highlights the difference between edited and real appearance, and its impact on body image.

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Jeph Metra-Jeanson

Their work has been described as “witty and dark.”

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Gregoire Metra-Jeanson

Other artists in the exhibition include Daniel Martin, Bartosz Beda, James Green, Leigh de Vries, Mason Storm, and Scarlet Isherwood.

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Lucas Daniel Martin

The exhibition will be open to the public until December 9, and a percentage of the money made will go to The BDD Foundation.

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Lady Gaga Derrick Santini