April 30, 2015 1:07 pm
Updated: April 30, 2015 1:10 pm

The Beth Project: Photographer documents woman’s stunning weight loss in pop culture-inspired portraits

A photographer's unique photo series documents a woman's stunning weight loss in pop culture-inspired before-and-after portraits.

Blake Morrow
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TORONTO – A photographer’s unique photo series documents a woman’s stunning weight loss in pop culture-inspired before-and-after portraits.

Photographer and digital artist Blake Morrow documented his friend Elizabeth Beard’s weight loss by posing her in a series of before-and-after portraits which show her seamlessly interacting with herself, two years later and 150lbs lighter.

Before Beard started her journey, she approached the Toronto-based photographer to see if he would be interested in doing before-and-after portraits.

“I really didn’t want to do ‘Here’s me in front of a door,’ and two years later ‘Look, more door!” Beard said in an email.

“I was insanely excited from the start, as I find before-and-afters fascinating,” Morrow explained. “Before long I blew up the project into a series of portraits allowing Beth to take on different characters.”

The Beth Project.

Blake Morrow

While brainstorming, the photographer said he brought the idea of bringing in some pop culture elements to the portraits as “both Beth and I are big sic-fi geeks.”

“It was a fun, playful way to utilize Beth’s theatre background, bringing heart and drama to every character she played,” Morrow said.

The Beth Project.

Blake Morrow

Beard made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery in the spring of 2012. The photographer brought Beard into the studio two weeks prior and had her act out her character and react to her “future” self.

“I was excited, I knew it would be a new lease on life really, and it was fun,” Beard said of the post-surgery photos. “I’ve never really been a wilting flower, it was great to get into the characters.”

The Beth Project.

Blake Morrow

Two years later Beard was back in the studio, acting out the “after” self, continuing the narrative of the portraits.

“It was a very cumbersome but also rewarding process, managing 24 different images of my subject,” Morrow explained. “The finals of each portrait were figured out, I digitally composited them together with backgrounds that would support the story of each set of Beth.”

The Beth Project.

Blake Morrow

That was about a six-month process, Morrow explained. As for the results?

“Gob-smacked,” Beard said. “I mean, I knew what Blake could do… but I was not prepared for what he did do. I’m stunned to see them and sometimes find it hard to believe that they really are me.”

The Beth Project.

Blake Morrow

‘The Beth Project’ will be on display at Vistek Downtown as part of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto.

CONTACT runs from May 1 through May 30.

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