Compelling Portraits of Young Adults Who Are Searching for Their Ideal Bodies

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Photographer Michelle Sank’s series In My Skin looks at young adults and teens (under the age of 25) in the UK who are challenging their bodies with various surgeries and enhancements. Sank captures her sitters relaxing in their bedrooms, which lends further intimacy to the portraits — but the outside does not reflect the inside. They’re uncomfortable in their own skin and searching for the ideal. In some cases, the alterations are cosmetic and would be considered completely unnecessary by many. However, Sank also photographed people as young as 16 who have undergone gender reassignment surgery.

“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,” Sank elaborates on her website. The images, first spotted on Design Taxi, reflect our society’s preoccupation with physical beauty (in a non-judgmental way) and raise further questions about how this affects younger generations.

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Nicola — recovering from anorexia and Rachel — Breast augmentation — Twins 20 years old”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Hannah 17 years — Botox”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Shaye 21 years — Post breast removal surgery”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Mike — 22 years — Body enhancing supplements and body waxing”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Cambell 16 years — Transgender male to female”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Jade 20 years — tattooed eyebrows and hair extensions”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Saraya 20 years — Full body liposuction and lip fillers”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Jackie 18 years — Full transition surgery at 16”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“John 19 years — Transgender female to male. Now gender neutral”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Olli 19 years — recovering from anorexia”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Hannah 20 years — Lip fillers, breast augmentation, botox, body liposuction, rhinoplasty”

Photo credit: Michelle Sank

“Ben – 17 yrs — Shaves his legs and straightens his hair”