In My Skin by Michelle Sank

These images are from a project called In My Skin about young people under 25 in the UK who are challenging their body image. Michelle Sank has looked at those who have had or are considering having cosmetic surgery in order to become more acceptable to themselves and achieve their ideal of being ‘beautiful’.

In My Skin by Michelle Sank

In My Skin by Michelle Sank

Social consensus is particularly focussed on physical beauty and achieving and maintaining the “perfect” face and body. “Intertwined with this I am also documenting body dysmorphia as young people try and conform to this social expectation resulting in eating disorders and body transformation. Lastly I am documenting transgenderism and the struggle young people have to live within a body they were born into but have no affiliation with.”

In My Skin by Michelle Sank

In My Skin by Michelle Sank

"I hope that my portraits meld person and place to create sociological, visual and psychological landscapes and narratives. I hope that there is a sense of respect and empathy that emanates from the imagery in relation to the subject matter that I tackle and that the viewer can get a sense of the spectacular in the ordinary".

In My Skin by Michelle Sank

In My Skin by Michelle Sank

"I find that the human interaction I have with my subjects both on the street and in more constructed situations is extremely important to me and as relevant as making the imagery itself".

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Michelle Sank

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Michelle Sank

Michelle Sank

was born in South Africa and settled in the UK in 1987. She cites this background as informing her interest in sub-cultures and the exploration of contemporary social issues and challenges. Her crafted portraits meld place and person creating sociological, visual and psychological landscapes and narratives.

Her photographs have been exhibited and published extensively in the UK, Europe, Australia and Mexico, South Africa and the U.S.A. Her imagery is held in the permanent collections of Allan Servais, Brussells, Open Eye Gallery Archive, Liverpool, Societe Jersiaise and Guernsey Museum, Channel Islands, Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, RAMM, Exeter and The Museum of Youth Culture, UK.

She has undertaken continuous commissions and residencies for prominent galleries and magazines in Europe and the USA and her work has won awards in numerous prestigious competitions including the Taylor Wessing Prize and the British Journal of Photography. She was recently a winner in The Portrait of Britain 2020 and the Photo Review international competition, and is a recipient of the Rapid Response Fund, The Contemporary Arts Society for purchase of work from the series “Breathe” that she has been making during Covid for exhibition and the archive at RAMM in Exeter.

Sank has four published books, The Water's Edge: Women on the Waterfront (Published by Liverpool University Press) - a study of women who worked and still work on Liverpool's Docks, Becoming: (Published by Belfast Exposed Photography and Ffotogallery,) - a major monograph featuring her youth portraits taken over five years accompanied by an essay by David Goldblatt The Submerged: about the landscape and inhabitants of Aberystwyth, Wales accompanied by an essay by Liz Wells (Published by Schilt Publishing) and My.Self: about the cultural identity amongst diverse young people in the Black Country – UK (Published by Multistory)

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