More Fat-Positive Photography

Debbie says:

What a delight to find a “new” photographer taking beautiful pictures of fat bodies. Substantia Jones is apparently a well-established photographer under another name.

photo by Substantia Jones

Her “Adipositivity” Project

“aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that’s normally unseen.

“The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.”

You gotta love that “these things are easily seen all around us”!

In the interests of separating the viewers’ preconceptions about fat from the actual physical beauty of the models, Jones made an entirely different aesthetic/political decision than Laurie did. Jones says:

The photographs here are close details of the fat female form, without the inclusion of faces. One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they’re looking at the fat women in their own lives, ideally then accepting them as having aesthetic appeal which, for better or worse, often translates into more complete forms of acceptance.

photo by Substantia Jones

Laurie, of course, decided that including faces, and the personal details of environmental portraiture, makes the women more real, and harder to distance yourself from, as in this photograph.

Tracy on the deck

The really exciting thing is that both photographers are right: Laurie’s photographs personalize and Substantia Jones’ photographs separate the body shape from the person: two completely different approaches, both of which work brilliantly to showcase the beauty of fat bodies.

Isn’t art amazing?

A few people have pointed us to this wonderful work, which is now linked in our “image resources” section on the right, but Stef was first.

fat, photography, art, size acceptance, body image, Body Impolitic

14 thoughts on “More Fat-Positive Photography

  1. The post is friends-locked, and doesn’t say anything particularly profound :) … you could change it to a link to my journal.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve been inspired to start a blog where I’ll post of photo of my own lavish self every day. I’d love to see more people do this!

  3. I have to say that Laurie’s photographs seem to me to be the most radical. The one you show above completely challenges a whole load of stereotypes. I see a person first, and a body second. I see someone who is not stereotypically thin, but is happy (and whose expression is friendly). A woman who is naked, but not sexually posed. A whole human being. That’s all very very radical stuff.

    Which brings me to something I’ve been pondering for a good few years on which I’d welcome your comments.

    We know that the problem we have, I think, is that women (men to a lesser extent) see (in daily life) lots of images of bodies of a certain shape and age, presented in only very selected poses. This leads lots of people (particularly women) to feel like their own body is unusual – because when they look in the mirror they see something very different.

    OK, that bit is pretty obvious. But what I’ve been wondering is whether there is a way to create an image bank of ordinary bodies. Something that all women (and maybe men) could use to broaden their ideas of what ‘normal’ is (or more precisely, that there isn’t a ‘normal’).

    Positive images of fat bodies are great – but they don’t quite do what I’m thinking about. For instance, I know one woman who would say “that’s all very well, but at least she’s got big breasts – I have a tummy that sticks out a lot, but very small breasts”. One of the most powerful experiences that I helped this woman through was to look at a set of very simple pictures of women dressed, then undressed (not in sexual poses). What she noticed most was how different they all were, and how little relationship there was between how someone looked dressed (happy, severe, tidy, or whatever) and what their body was like (old, young, fat, thin, bumpy, etc etc).

    There would be lots of ways that such a resource could work. For instance it could include pictures of whole people or just pictures of bits of body. It could show people dressed and undressed, or well lit and then under a typical bathroom light.

    But what it would need to do to work properly would be to give an understanding of the whole diversity of humanity – so that people understood that what they were seeing on the site was the same as what was underneath the clothes of the people they interact with on a daily basis.

    Any thoughts? I’ve had this in my head for ages, but I have no way to make it happen – and there are very limited places in which a conversation about websites showing naked people would go down well!

  4. I think the Adipositivity pictures are pretty radical too, in the way they take on the notorious “headless fat person” imagery that the media loves to use alongside news stories about obesity and its supposed dangers—all those stock photos and B-footage of anonymous fat torsos and arms and thighs meant to demonize. These photos are framed similarly but the human presence comes through strongly; we see the bodies only in parts but we clearly sense that the parts are owned, that there’s a private wholeness. Awesome.

  5. Both projects are amazing, and radical in their own way. Adipositivity takes a very challenging and risky approach – and pulls it off quite nicely.

  6. you know i was on the net looking for thick models to inspire me to lose weight and thing is i am only 14 and i came across this, it completely changed my mind. these pictures show me to accept myself. thank you. beautiful pictures!! shows that full-figured women are also absolutely stunning!! love ’em!

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