No Shame


An interview with Mary Gelman

“In Russia there is huge discrimination of fat people. They face job search rejections, medical prejudice, they receive lower salaries than people of “normal” weight… Many of them are bullied and shamed, and I went through the same process when I was young.”

Mary Gelman won our December 2019 theme – THE HUMAN BODY – with a stunning image from a series that provokes a very necessary discussion on the practice of ‘fat shaming’. Channeling a documentary subject through a fine art lens, she creates an image that is as beautiful as it is provocative, and as other-worldly as it is grounded in reality. Intrigued to know more we put some questions to her – about the series, her working practices, and the photography scene in her homeland of Russia today.

It seems that society insists there is no place in the world for fat people. In the modern world being fat is still much more than just a body characteristic. If you are fat it is automatically implied that you are a lazy, weak, stupid, spineless, spoilt… You can never be truly loved, you can never have neither friends nor a happy family, nor a dream job. One of the participants said in her interview for the project “fatphobia is not about beauty or health, it is about power and control over other people’s lives”. No shame features stories of fat people from Russia who have exper