As most regular internet users know, Leonard Nimoy passed away recently. And while he was best known for his role as science officer Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek, he enjoyed a long and successful career across several artistic fields. I was recently introduced to one of his photography books: The Full Body Project.
For those most familiar with Nimoy through his Trek performances, this project may seem dissonant. Particularly given Spock’s emotionally detached demeanor and his close bond with Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy does not naturally lead in one’s mind to naked women. Despite this, the photographs in this book demonstrate artistic and technical skill as well as obvious respect for their subjects. The Full Body Project is a collection of photographs of large women, minimally costumed or nude. Most of the subjects are drawn from a San Francisco-based “Big Burlesque” troupe who performed together in the Fat-Bottom Revue. The models are sensitive, playful, elegant, and proud. They dance and pose and look, very intently, at the camera and the viewer.
In a culture where fat is stigmatized, pathologized, and fetishized, these pictures were unlike any I had seen before. But the bodies in them are very familiar to me. That is what dear friends look like, and relatives. That is how the room looked at my first fantasy convention, as we sang along full-voiced to “Fat Bottomed Girls.” Those curves, dimples, lumps, and stretch marks all appear on my own body. Bodies that look like this are not normally presented as pretty or compelling, and the people whose bodies look like this are not normally made to feel pretty or compelling.
If you are interested in more resources that respectfully illustrate and address full bodies, try some of these: