Sunday, October 21, 2007

What Do You Think About Leonard Nimoy's Photos of Women who are Obese? Posted by olvlzl.

Wading through the interior decoration porn in the Sunday magazine section, there is a short interview with Leonard Nimoy about his "The Full Body Project", featuring photos of obese women. Nimoy, yes, that Leonard Nimoy, said that his series began when a woman who was very large approached him at an exhibit of his photographs and asked him if he would be interested in working with her. From that beginning he started working with the late Heather MacAllister, who was the founder and artistic director of Big Burlesque and the Fat Bottom Revue. Nimoy quotes her in an earlier article in the NYT, "Any time a fat person gets on a stage to perform and is not the butt of a joke — that’s a political statement."

With the few photos from the series I've been able to find on the web, it looks like an interesting and movingly humane project. I don't pay enough attention to high profile fashion photographers to be able to get the references to conventional pictures of emaciated women taken by them. It strikes me that the invariably bony models are depersonalized, anonymous and tragic in a way that the women in these photographs definitely are not. They strike me as real personalities instead of types. The idea of very fat people, especially women, brazenly going against the culture of thinness can't be a bad idea. While the first response is to wonder about the health implications, those are just as much a concern with the stick figures of conventional photography as they are with very over-weight people. I don't know which is worse for your health but getting over looking at obesity as a question of commercial morality has to be good.

Update: candace kindly provides the project's website, with more of the photos.