Thursday, June 07, 2007

Spock gets his freak on

WARNING: Most links in this post are not safe for work

Leonard Nimoy is an accomplished photographer. I am not a fan. His previous work, mostly nude studies, appear a little off to me. They are too tame, too timid, too... like something I've seen may other photographers attempt to do before. I found his Shekhina Project shallow and banal despite it deep pretense. I almost bought a copy of his book for my collection, and then I browsed it in a bookstore. No thanks. I prefer Mapplethorpe to Nimoy.

A co-worker pointed me to Nimoy's latest effort,The Full Body Project. Nimoy is in the midst of photographing obese women. Apparently, it is a labor of love. My co-worker (a male) asked me if I would make an effort to see Nimoy's work. I responded that I would. He was incredulous. Why would I bother to look at fat women? Why would I waste my time on tasteless porn? Why would I support such trash?

It is at times like this I realize how different I am from most of the people I know. I give art a chance. Fat or thin (ugly or beautiful) - a talented photographer can make inspiring art from the human body. I will at least open my mind and examine the work. Even if I don't like the artist or subject.

I do not waste my time with pornography, and yes, I know it when I see it. Nimoy's work is far from pornography. I may not like Nimoy's work, but I would not call it porn?  Would you?

I am curious. How did Nimoy pull this kind of project off without offending the world? If he actually pulled it off, did he do the subject justice? I'll give him a fair shake before I make up my mind. However, Initial results are not encouraging.

I tried to explain all this to my co-worker friend -  He did not understand. He associates nudes with porn and art with finger painting. I tried to tell him about an influential visit to the Musee d'Orsay I experienced a few years ago. I saw Gustave Courbet's The Origin of the World - it was amazing. When America was tearing itself apart in the Civil War, Courbet was exploring the human body like never before - in paint. My co-worker friend could not understand why any museum would display it. I shook my head - this well was dry.

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8 comments:

Stew said...

I'd seen the pic of the women dancing in a circle somewhere before, and I like it. It reminds me of the Matisse "Dance (I)"
Nimoy's stuff is far from porn.
We had an exhibition in our barn last weekend, and when I was inviting one of my factory colleagues to come she asked "Does your wife paint proper landscapes or does she do those Picasso type paintings with 2 eyes on one side?"
That, you see, are the to types of art that exist for most people.

tina said...

I didn't think it was porn at all. But to each his own.

Anonymous said...

The urge to dismiss any depiction of nudity as pornographic is yet another of the toxins Christianity has infused into our society.

Beauty is, of course, subjective, and it derives not only from the subject itself but from the context, the lighting, angles, and other aspects of the depiction. Art is of limited value to the small mind.

I have been a fan of Nimoy since the early days of Star Trek (dating myself). Photography is also my number one avocation. Nimoy's work is very respectable. While I don't personally like every image he's exhibited or published, his skill and artistry come through loud and clear.

It saddens me that so many people are unable to appreciate from an artistic perspective, the human body in general, but more pointedly, any exposure of the so-called "private" parts of it. Perhaps they're so infused with shame concerning their own sexuality that they feel the need to shun anything even remotely erotic for fear of how it might affect them.

Sacred Slut said...

I don't find it pornographic but it's clear Nimoy didn't intend it as such. However, if he had, so what?

Unfortunately, I don't think it's erotic or even sensual, which he probably did intend. Although he seems very technically proficient, he doesn't seem to have much art sensibility.

The photos reminded me of that old saying, "shape up or sing as a group"

Sacred Slut said...

The urge to dismiss any depiction of nudity as pornographic is yet another of the toxins Christianity has infused into our society.

The aversion to nudity and sexuality is far from limited to the Christian religion.

Mojoey said...

The reason I do not like Nimoy's works is that I do not connect to it emotionally on any level. I appreciate his work technically. He is highly skilled, much more so than I am. His depiction of the female nude, be it his older work, or this new effort, is too technical for me. I need to connect emotionally to appreciate it.

It is not pornography.

Stew - I would love to see your wife's paintings.

rmacapobre said...

hmm .. interesting subject .. maybe what is concerning is not so much about their nudity in as much as their obesity. all in all, i think its a good subject fro an artist. go leonard nimoy! ^_^

Anonymous said...

The aversion to nudity and sexuality is far from limited to the Christian religion.

That is certainly true. Perhaps I should have been more generic in my comment. Still, Christians at least in the present day seem more uptight and vociferous on the subject than most.

Mojoey doesn't connect at any level emotionally. Neither do I. Let's not forget that this is Spock we're talking about ;).

My original comment was oriented toward depiction of nudity in general; not specifically with regard to this particular obesity project.