Junkfood Science: Living size acceptance

November 04, 2007

Living size acceptance

Another living example of accepting bodies of all shapes and sizes comes from someone whose TV character was once associated with being without feelings. Mr. Leonard Nimoy, who most remember as Mr. Spock on Star Trek, is not only an actor and director, but a noted photographer and poet with passion and compassion. He has photographed bodies of all sizes, but his latest project is the topic of a recent indepth interview with the Jewish Chronicle. Reporter Simon Round writes:

Nimoy boldly goes

..This month he publishes Full Body Project, a new photographic book in which he sets out to challenge our preconceptions of obesity. His subjects are obese, mostly nude women and each shot is in its own way a challenge. Nimoy, speaking in an extended telephone interview from his home in California, is animated on the subject. “We have an obsession with body size in the US, and I am sure in the UK too,” he says. “The press constantly deals with this issue and there is an enormous industry built up around selling things to women to make them feel better about themselves, essentially telling them: ‘You don’t look right’. It’s a cruel message, because being that slim is an unattainable goal for most people.”

Although Nimoy, who at 76 now regards himself as a full-time photographer, is exercised by the issues around perceptions of weight, this is not why he decided to take on the project... “I was not used to looking at that type of body. I realised when I was done that she had the appearance of a Brancusi sculpture....”

He was not, he strenuously maintains, trying to be provocative. What happened was that his fascination with the process of photographing the models prompted him to think about the issues surrounding size. “This is the great thing for me about doing the arts. You become interested in the subject matter and, when you begin to explore it, you find out that there is an enormous amount of information and cultural activity. I’m in touch with all this a result of doing the work. It came to me backwards. I became interested in doing the work, and the work led to an awareness of the issues.... I’m simply putting out these images. Look, the women I found are comfortable with their bodies, the photos have a joy in them, a joie de vivre. They are unembarrassed, functioning, and, I think, happy people.”...

Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy is being published this month by Five Ties Publishing.

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