Building Bodies

Tilley Harris

The number of Anabolic steroid users in the U.K has seen an erratic rise over the past few years. A harm reduction clinic in Liverpool teamed up with Drug Scope in 2007 to conduct a study into steroid use. The harm reduction centre believed this study to be important due to the record growth in the number of steroid users that came into the clinic to exchange needles. There are now believed to be 100, 000 users in Britain, numbers have been described as being on a par with Heroin users.

However, despite the rapidly growing numbers of users there is only one clinic in the country that specialises in a confidential range of medical, dietary and harm minimisation interventions for individuals using Performance Enhancing Substances. The health and psychological risks attached to the abuse of anabolic steroids are often ignored and can escalate because users are not offered the correct advice and information. Many users do not place themselves in the same categories as drug users and addicts and can be very reluctant to talk about their use of steroids because of the stigma attached to the prescription drug.

Building Bodies presents a number of interviews with a variety of users in an attempt to uncover the reasons behind this rapidly growing trend and address the pressures that men feel to look and act a certain way. In many cases the interviews reveal deep-rooted insecurities that lurk beneath a muscular exterior.


Tilley Harris’ passion for people, her desire to understand the world, explore its foreign corners and dig deep into its hidden pockets has motivated her to pursue a career in photojournalism. Tilley enjoys listening, this has proven to be a beneficial attribute helping her to hear the voices and stories from which good reportage photography stems. She welcomes recent changes within the practice of photojournalism, and is excited by the effects that technology has had on the delivery of stories; allowing for a new level of engagement between photographer, subject and audience.

Capturing the voice of an individual or a community and convincing a wider audience to listen is a fine art to master. Tilley is dedicated to creative communication, having worked with a variety of people from Sickle Cell sufferers to young offenders she has seen the positive effects creative communication can have on marginalised communities. Tilley’s time on the BA Photojournalism course has taught her to be proactive and patient, and to seize opportunities with confidence and professionalism.

Tilley currently works for a small production company called Itchy Finger; they have made a number of documentaries for organisations such as The Welcome Trust, Ctrl Alt Shift, and Channel Four. Whilst working for Itchy Finger Tilley will continue to listen to the world and attempt to tell its stories by combining the technical skill she has developed during her studies with enthusiasm and creativity.

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