Many fans of Leonard Nimoy knew that he was a photographer, but I recently found an article about a shoot that he did with fat women, a show called The Full Body Project.
The women, members of the Fat Bottom Review, a burlesque troupe, presented him with a different kind of project, exploring the models themselves as people rather than using them to explore some other idea, even if that idea was about feminine power and spirituality.
His work on the Shekhinah as the feminine aspect of God is mystical and spiritual, but different from these images because as he says those “pictures were not about [the models]. They were illustrating a theme, a story I hoped to convey.”
“Art,” Nimoy says “is about illumination.” His images explore the joy these women have in their bodies and their joy for life. At one point he asked them to dance to the music they brought, and he captured their exuberance.
These women are projecting an image that is their own. And one that also stems from their own story rather than mine. Their self-esteem is strong. One of them has a degree in anthropology and will tell you that ideas of beauty and sexuality are “culture bound”—that these ideas are not universal or fixed, and that they vary and fluctuate depending on place and time. They will tell you that too many people suffer because the body they live in is not the body you find in the fashion magazines. –Nimoy
I’m not the fashion magazine type, being as fat (let’s be honest here–not overweight, not big, but fat) as these wonderful women are. I find myself in an ideological struggle with identity with them on the one hand and with a negative feeling on the other–much the same as when I look at myself in the mirror.
I am glad to have found these role models, women who know who they are and who are full of themselves as they are in these lovely pictures. Somewhere out there on the innerwebs are a series of nudes with me as an earth goddess…at least there used to be. But for now, this will have to do.
Thank you, again, Leonard Nimoy.