Way to make a "boldly go" joke, NPR.
November 9, 2007 11:52 PM   Subscribe

Leonard Nimoy's new photography book is not what you'd expect. In this NPR interview, Nimoy discusses his new book, The Full Body Project.

A quote from the interview:

"[I was told] 'Whenever a fat person steps on stage to perform, and is not the butt of a joke, that's a political statement," and I found that quite profound."
posted by SassHat (43 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Huh, you're right not what I expected. I saw some of Nimoy's photos a long time ago in a book of his poetry. From what I remember the writing was all love poems to his wife, and the photos interspersed were closeups of female nipples. As a teenager I found it pretty hilarious, I imagine I still would.

This book seems very different, though. The forward is by Natalie Angier, that bodes well for it.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:13 AM on November 10, 2007


Pervert.
posted by Roman Graves at 12:18 AM on November 10, 2007


Nice interview. Nimoy's a smart, articulate man. I was wondering if Star Trek questions are verboten, maybe even contractually, but he answered one at the end of the interview with good grace.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:20 AM on November 10, 2007


These were, in fact, precisely what I was expecting.
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:26 AM on November 10, 2007


So a Trekkie has a thing for BBW's. Stop the presses.

Wake me when someone involved in Shadowrun makes a coffee table book about Furries.
posted by sourwookie at 12:32 AM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


These were, in fact, precisely what I was expecting.

Having seen Spock's chubby chasing photographs numerous times before on the blue.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:32 AM on November 10, 2007


Most illogical.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:38 AM on November 10, 2007


Rubensesque!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:22 AM on November 10, 2007


Needs More Shatner?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:25 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just saw this exhibit at the Michelson Gallery in Northampton MA last weekend with Nimoy in attendance for the opening.

There are some lovely photos, but mostly the work rang hollow to me. There was no ground being broken here and most of the images on display were his homage to works by other artists.

I hate walking away from an exhibit with a "meh" feeling but that's really all I could muster for it.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:54 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heavy.
posted by greenskpr at 4:22 AM on November 10, 2007


Damnit Jim, Spock is a green-blooded chubby chaser!
posted by psmealey at 4:25 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


He cannot lie. You other brothers can't deny.
posted by ColdChef at 4:55 AM on November 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


Doing something new and daring with nudes is difficult. I'd have to see the book, but most of his work fails to turn my crank.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:13 AM on November 10, 2007


If his work doesn't turn our cranks, I am rather certain our perception of his work matters not to him beyond the superficial, nor do I think it should.

Each person is different. I've chased my fair share of chubby ladies in my lifetime, as well as my fair share of walking coat hangers. However, what more often than not turns my head is whether or not the lass looks healthy, and that can depend on the person. Some women carry their weight very well and are attractive despite it - perhaps because of it. Other women (fat or thin) are unattractive not because of weight or lack of weight, but because they just don't take care of themselves.

The fact is obese women are at risk of many medical conditions, as are overtly thin women. The real beauty, in my opinion, rests somewhere in between. I just like healthy women. If that brands me a chubby chaser, so be it.

While the territory is well heeled, and perhaps not as daring or provocative as he might like, I think it's considerate of Nimoy to use his artistic effort and his time to bring attention to the issue of human obesity. Essentially what he's made is a coffee table book, and coffee table books are supposed to encourage discussion. In so far as that is true, Nimoy is a success in this 'project.'

Nimoy's doing what he loves by making things like The Full Body Project. If only we could all say that when we reach his age. Some of us can say that now. Are you one of them?

No Star Trek references were harmed during the making of this reply. I was tempted to make an obscure Blair Witch Project reference, but managed to contain myself.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:12 AM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


The fact is obese women are at risk of many medical conditions, as are overtly thin women.

This assertion is by no means proven, as I'm sure you're aware from just skimming the battlegrounds of fat and health on the blue, let alone the rest of life.

In either direction.

Making this assertion is, to me, morally reprehensible.
posted by kalessin at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2007


More power to him. Though I am not a fan of obesity, I want to see resistance to the idolization of bony, boyish figures with big tits. When you look at all of the art produced by humanity, this kind of lust for anorexia really didn't get going until the 1960s.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:46 AM on November 10, 2007


Oh jeez, now you've done it.
posted by ghastlyfop at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2007


The person who told Nimoy "Whenever a fat person steps on stage to perform, and is not the butt of a joke, that's a political statement," was dancer Heather MacAllister who modeled in some of his photos and who died last year or ovarian cancer.
posted by serazin at 6:53 AM on November 10, 2007


Having seen Spock's chubby chasing photographs numerous times before on the blue.

Have you seen Nimoy's photography web site? He has photographed nudes with female models of many different shapes and sizes. He has photographed large women as part of his Full Body Project, but unless your ideal of the female body is Calista Flockhart and Twiggy, many of the women in Nimoy's other photographic series could not be classified as "chubby." Just because Nimoy has a photographer's eye that can appreciate women of many different shapes and sizes, that's no reason he should be pathologized as a "chubby chaser."
posted by jonp72 at 7:35 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Making the assertion that obesity is linked to severe health risk is morally reprehensible?

*blinks* *blinks some more* *blinks*
posted by psmealey at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2007


Yeah, really - how exactly is that so?
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:45 AM on November 10, 2007


This assertion is by no means proven, as I'm sure you're aware from just skimming the battlegrounds of fat and health on the blue, let alone the rest of life.

There is a Metatalk thread if you want to discuss obesity and health instead of the Leonard Nimoy's photographs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2007


kalessin - I'm a chubby lass myself, and willingly admit (because it really is quite well established) that the upper and lower ends of the weight spectrum are associated with health risks. Saying that is not making a moral judgment.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:03 AM on November 10, 2007


"The fact is obese women are at risk of many medical conditions, as are overtly thin women."

kalessin writes "Making this assertion is, to me, morally reprehensible."

Hey, let be be morally reprehensible and racist too: Jews are at higher risk of Tay-Sachs and cystic fibrosis, and Africans for sickle cell.

Oh wait: morally reprehensible would be ignoring an person's individual risk factors, putting them at increased risk, in order to serve ideological "correctness".

This actually happened during the AIDS crisis; San Francisco bathhouses, at which AIDS was transmitted, stayed open under the banner of civil rights. Thousands contracted AIDS because of it.

Today, some still advocate ignoring patients' ethnic background or lifestyles, even though we know such information has bearing on the progression and treatment of their diseases. That's just bad medicine.
posted by orthogonality at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


HEY!

If I can swallow my pride and take health talk to MeTa like a good little MeFite instead of making a stink in here, so can you guys.

Let's keep this thread on Nimoy please. For example, isn't he old and thin and gonna die soon? Discuss!
posted by ZachsMind at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2007


Oh! And he's also gonna be in the new Star Trek movie but William Shatner SOO is not! Isn't that awesome?! Am I like the biggest nerd for thinking that's awesome?!
posted by ZachsMind at 10:17 AM on November 10, 2007


Hey, let be be morally reprehensible and racist too: Jews are at higher risk of Tay-Sachs and cystic fibrosis, and Africans for sickle cell.

I believe the rub with obesity is that society views the condition as much, if not more so, a product of choice and lifestyle, as opposed to a genetic trait that one is born with, say, by virtue of belonging to a predisposed demographic. To that extent, there is an ethical element involved in obesity which is not involved in being black and born with sickle cell - that is, is staying healthy a matter of virtuous action?

So you have the realist, Aristotelian perspective, which goes like this:

Self-control of one's own weight might be described as a form of bioethics [...]

Perhaps the truest way of conceiving Aristotle's meaning is to regard a moral virtue as a form of obedience to a maxim or rule of conduct accepted by the agent as valid for a class of recurrent situations in life. Such obedience requires knowledge of the rule and acceptance of it, as the rule of the agent's own actions.

Thus, attaining an optimum weight can be seen as flowing from the acceptance of the maxim that one "should" have a BMI between 22 and 25. In medical practice, on these principles, it would be immoral not to advise overweight patients to lose weight26 -- but, more importantly, the medical practitioner who is giving this advice should accept the responsibility of attaining and maintaining a personal BMI of between 22 and 25.


And on the other side of the spectrum you have Nimoy's postmodern look-at-me coffee book table, where "fat acceptance" has more to do with culture and personal taste, than say, whether overeating is the result of a social or person anomaly worth "treating". But that's the kind of world we live in, after all - judging people by photographs, by their exterior, as that is indicated to some extent by Zachsmind's comments, which sound like they're boiling the issue of obesity down to the issue of whether or not said woman gives him an erection. Which doesn't seem to me particularly chauvinistic. Sexual morality these days amounts to, "Hey bud, if that turns you on, go for it." Ethically, on any level, you do whatever you want. The rest is selling books and making money.
posted by phaedon at 10:33 AM on November 10, 2007


Invariably, the person who explains to me that they are obese because it's "in their genes" is the one who goes to the salad bar and gets a plate of croutons and salad dressing. If you consume more calories than you can use, you will gain wait. If you consume fewer, you will lose weight. Not a lot of science.

I, for one, felt like taking a shower when I clicked through on the link. Yes, America's standards for "healthy" women are set at "anorexic", but that doesn't make obese people with no self-control any more attractive.
posted by Autarky at 10:41 AM on November 10, 2007


So, fat acceptance in women=good, fat acceptance in men, perhaps a non-issue since fat men seem to get by ok, and fat acceptance in general, well, is a fait accompli, because one way or another we're becoming a society of fatties.

We now even get to define variations on obese:

Morbidly obese = 100 pounds overweight.
Super obese = 200 or more.
(I'd posit a third category, Sublimely Obese, for those folks who garner headlines for getting out of bed with hydraulic assistance)

It's also interesting/sad/poignant that what killed Heather McAllister was a disease not only linked to obesity, but also essentially clinically silent until at an advanced stage due to her weight.
posted by docpops at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2007


I am fat. Leonard Nimoy goes to my gym.
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:38 AM on November 10, 2007


This is all fairly interesting, but whatever respect I might have had for Leonard Nimoy went straight out the window when he started directing movies.
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:00 PM on November 10, 2007


orthogonality,

You're exactly wrong about the bathhouses and your point of view about bathhouses as vectors is not universally accepted in public health circles.

The SF bathhouses were closed by the health department in 1984 because of AIDS. They could have stayed open and served as a great place for health and sex educators to reach the folks most in need of HIV education, but instead they were shut down in a move that is controversial to this day.

As for the tired ass debate on fat and health, let me just say this: most studies on the subject show that very few people are able to loose significant amounts of weight and keep that weight off. (Show me a study of a diet or exercise regimen where even 30% of participants loose say, 30 or more pounds and keep it off for 3 or more years, and I'll concede right now). We can argue forever about the health or risk of being fat, but the fact is that fat is how a lot of people are, and how a lot of people are going to stay. Don't people deserve to see images of themselves that are positive instead of hateful?
posted by serazin at 2:14 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm a self-confessed chubby-chaser (although a hot slender chick can get my motor racing, too) I'm no purist, so thanks for the nudie pix, ya green-blooded lug.

(although, I always find it a bit strange when anyone including myself, is praised for being attracted to big women. It's not like we're into it for altruistic reasons. I'm into it for shameless selfish male pig reasons: big bodies are hot, more freindly flesh to play with)
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on November 10, 2007


Nimoy's not about the chubby-chasing, he's about having a lot of time and money's on one's hands and about having the hobby of photography. unlike Joe SixLenses who likes to take photos has a day job and over the weekend photographs his wife and his cat, Nimoy -- whose previous book, Shekhina, was spectacular in its mediocrity and pretentiousness -- simply has the time and money to hire models and rent a studio and buy a fancy camera. Joe SixLenses gets himself a flickr pro account, Nimoy found himself -- through sheer name recognition -- a publisher. Another "Shekhina" would have disappeared fast; he figured out a nice pitch -- a celebrity chubby-chasing photography book.

suggestions for his next book:

- naked photos of midgets with extremely bushy, black pubic hair

- a series of macro, extreme closeups of labia to be followed by a series of face shots of the models whose labia were photgraphed -- the reader must figure which labia belong to whom

- X-rated images of elderly men fucking stuffed animals (furry acceptance is the new new thing)
posted by matteo at 5:14 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


What I find really appalling is that, while all sorts of people are attracted to larger women, absolutely no one in this thread seems to be attracted to Leonard Nimoy.
posted by koeselitz at 5:24 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


[NOT VULCANIST]
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on November 10, 2007


I, for one, felt like taking a shower when I clicked through on the link. Yes, America's standards for "healthy" women are set at "anorexic", but that doesn't make obese people with no self-control any more attractive.

I, for one, felt like taking a shower after reading your comment. This is photography. It's not porn for you. It's art. "Chubby Chasing" and "BBW" have nothing to do with this, and shame on all of you men who went there.

Besides, why can't a fat person be attractive, without it being some kind of fetish?

You're a bigot. It's no different than saying black people aren't attractive. Keep that to yourself.
posted by Danila at 6:52 AM on November 11, 2007


Just because Nimoy has a photographer's eye that can appreciate women of many different shapes and sizes, that's no reason he should be pathologized as a "chubby chaser."

1. The identification of chubby chasers as pathological is yours, not mine.
2. If Nimoy has the eye of a photographer, then I've got the voice of Al Green.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:06 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


1. The identification of chubby chasers as pathological is yours, not mine.

I disagree. Men are not ridiculed for being "skinny chasers" if Kate Moss is their ideal of female beauty. The assumption of pathology is built into the framing.

2. If Nimoy has the eye of a photographer, then I've got the voice of Al Green.

Have you seen the other photographs on his site? He may not be Andres Serrano or Annie Liebovitz, but the guy does some decent art photography that I'd be happy to look at in a gallery even if the guy didn't play Spock on Star Trek. I might not buy his book myself, but at least we can express our personal tastes on a level above that of "HURF DURF FAT CHICKS, AMIRITE?"
posted by jonp72 at 8:55 AM on November 11, 2007


at least we can express our personal tastes on a level above that of "HURF DURF FAT CHICKS, AMIRITE?"

What are you, new?
posted by GrammarMoses at 9:05 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do not think these ladies will live long and prosper, but DAMN I AM THIN AND BEAUTIFUL.

Nimoy has been a dirty pleasure of mine since he started narrating all those weird shows in the early 80's... In Search Of, I think it was called?

Sorry, too hungover to Google today.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:42 PM on November 11, 2007


I disagree. Men are not ridiculed for being "skinny chasers" if Kate Moss is their ideal of female beauty.

I don't see anything in my statement that ridicules Nimoy for his aesthetic tastes. As far as I knew, 'chubby chasers' is the preferred nonclemature for people who have that particular aesthetic. Personally, I think it seems less harsh than 'fat admirers', the alternative that is sometimes used, but I'd be happy to use that if you think it more accurately reflects your interests.

However, lets be clear -- we're not talking Pierre, Pierre, the Goatfucker here. Nimoy didn't just photograph a single fat woman. If he had, one might well have said that he's interested in their personalities and *not* their ample flab. However, when you fill a whole book with them, you're expressing an aesthetic preference -- and that preference is for the larger lady.

Have you seen the other photographs on his site?


Yeah, he's as mediocre as an art photographer as he was an actor.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:49 AM on November 12, 2007


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