I love this! Leonard Nimoy (yes, the man who played Spock on the original Star Trek) has a new traveling photography exhibition and upcoming book, The Full Body Project, dedicated to nude portraits of fat women, but in a good way.
Excuse my art ignorance, but apparently Nimoy is an established art photographer. But apparently I’m not the only one surprised by Nimoy’s artistic side. The New York Times ran a profile of Nimoy and his book on Sunday in the fashion and style section. I could be wrong, but shouldn’t articles about art be in the arts section? (Also, I found it curious that while the book and art show were NYT noteworthy, showing any photos from it were verboten because they are too racy.)
All that aside, the motivation behind the photos and the upcoming book sound genuine. Nimoy has a home in Lake Tahoe (on the California side, but I think that’s close enough to consider him partially Nevadan so we’ve got Nimoy and actor-turned-artist Tony Curtis, who lives in Henderson) and was approached by a plus-sized woman (the NYT piece lovingly refers to them as “obese”) after an art show of a different collection. She wanted Nimoy to photograph her and he agreed. When he included her photos in his traveling exhibit, they always got the most reaction and that gave him the motivation to go forward with his new project.
What I really love is that the experience has made him something of an outspoken opponent of the images coming out of the fashion industry and America’s impossible obsession with being a size 0.
Here’s my fav quote:
“The average American woman, according to articles I’ve read, weighs 25 percent more than the models who are showing the clothes they are being sold,” Mr. Nimoy said, his breathing slightly labored by allergies and a mild case of emphysema. “So, most women will not be able to look like those models. But they’re being presented with clothes, cosmetics, surgery, diet pills, diet programs, therapy, with the idea that they can aspire to look like those people. It’s a big, big industry. Billions of dollars. And the cruelest part of it is that these women are being told, ‘You don’t look right.’ ”
His exhibit is traveling to galleries on the East Coast, LA and Houston. So when are we going to bring his work here? Now that’s what I’d call a radical statement against the female gender construct perpetuated by the Strip!
And Nimoy’s work is a nice antithsis to the Mary Jane (of Spiderman) statuette in which the Webbed-One’s girlfriend is seductively … doing laundry … in ripped jeans, thong exposed, back arched … (thanks Feministe).
Wait … Update: There’s another companion image whirling around the blogosphere that I can’t resist sharing. But again, I think both images really reveal more about our ideas of gender norms and what is sexy (and in the case of the image on the right, our discomfort with possibly homo-erotic connotations; but is it only homo-erotic because he’s doing laundry, a dress even?). Anyway, here’s the image (thanks Feministing and BoingBoing):