Photo of the week: ‘The Place: A health and fitness shop’

Telling a story of research through photography

The ‘photo of the week’ is a weekly series featuring photographs taken by BU academics and students for our Research Photography Competition which took place earlier this year.

These provide a snapshot into some of the incredible research taking place across the BU community. 

This week’s photo of the week was taken by PhD Student Orlanda Harvey and is titled;

‘The Place: A health and fitness shop’

‘The placement of this model of the Incredible Hulk outside a health and gym store embodies one of the initial findings from my research. Part of my exploration into the experiences of men who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) evidences that one driver for building muscle is the link between muscularity and masculinity. Interviewees referenced the influence of social media images and ‘ripped’ celebrities as a reason for the current increase in use of AAS for recreational purposes and others talked about the muscular physique as being ‘what women want’.

‘Using hyper-muscular images, such as the Incredible Hulk to encourage people to purchase supplements, which have been found to illegally include AAS (Evans-Brown et al. 2012). This is tapping into the trend for men to have increasingly muscular physiques. This trend is seeping into western cultural norms and has influenced the design of toys, e.g. the chest sizes of G.I. Joe and Barbie’s Ken (Brownell and Napolitano 1995, Pope Jr. et al. 2016) have significantly increased, unrepresentative of achievable norm. Men, like women, are bombarded with unrealistic images of body shape, which could encourage some to take potentially risky routes such as using AAS to try to achieve the ‘ideal’.

If you have any questions about the Photo of the Week series or the Research Photography Competition please email