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The Fat Naked Art Project

November 27, 2012

NSFW: The following post contains full-frontal nudity. Your boss might not like that.

This past month I had the chance to work with some amazing women in my home, as well as a great photographer, Travis McKeithan, who jumped at the task of creating fat naked art when I remarked on my Facebook page that there simply wasn’t enough of it. I see plus-sized photos all the time, but they’re never women like me. They’re always hourglass-shaped with flat tummies, just with larger proportions.

And I wanted to see rolls. That’s right, rolls and cellulite and arm fat and bodies that represented FAT women.

Everyone involved had their own reasons for wanting to do this project.  Here are quotes from each of the women when I asked why they decided to do this project and how it made them feel:

Me:

I wanted to see more fat naked art, more women like myself feeling, and being, empowered. In the past, photoshoots have mostly been for myself — an exercise in my own self-esteem and self-analysis. This photoshoot was for the women I worked with and for every woman like us.

Cassey who came out to do the project despite a broken back:

I wanted to do it partially because I love the Adipositivity Project and have wanted to have Substantia Jones take similar pictures. So I thought it was awesome that someone semi-local was doing something similar. I also wanted to reclaim my body. With everything that’s been going on with my spine fractures, it’s been hard to feel like this ever-changing body as mine. It made me feel awesome. I was initially nervous, but having people take photos of my body for it’s beauty and it’s uniqueness made me feel glorious.

Christine, a dedicated mother who was excited to be attending her first triangle fatties meetup:

I chose to do it because I want to “walk the walk” of Fat Acceptance for my daughter, and do more than pay lip service to my principles. I was nervous as hell (as evidenced by my constant chattering), but also empowered. My body is 45 years old, postpartum, 300+ pounds, beautiful, strong, sexy and awesome. Not one of those qualities precludes any of the others.

Bethany, a regular member of the triangle fatties group:

I chose to participate because I like to spend time with my body in very intentional ways. I like to take time to be direct with my body, to appreciate it and have it be seen. I’ve found being naked with people who look like me, and at the same time not like me, to be the kind of experience that really puts me in touch with myself and my community.

I used to spend time at a clothing-optional beach when we lived in NY. I don’t think I’d ever been in a more body-positive space. All different ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, classes, ways of grooming and presenting themselves. I loved every minute of it!

The fat photoshoot was really wonderful. It took us some time to warm up, although no more than expected. But being naked and open with the group came naturally and easily and felt very right. I wish I had planned better to spend more time. I’m self-conscious about my lack of ease in front of the camera itself, but that was a small negative in a large and beautiful sea of positive. A+ experience, would totally do it again!

Travis, who was our photographer, as well as a model:

I participated with the thought in mind for support of women and men who have to deal with the stigma that fat is ugly or unattractive. I feel that people in general are beautiful, and I wanted to be a part of what you lovely ladies where doing, kinda saying “fuck you” to standard thinking about who should and should not participate in certain activities.

And being a photographer, it was interesting. Considering I am very comfortable with my body, the nude aspect did not really bother me. It was a bit off, giving the control over to someone else, but I quite enjoyed it.

Jessica, who came as the photographer’s assistant and ended up getting naked with us, didn’t have a quote, but she showed bravery in allowing us to use her photos.

All of the women showed a lot of bravery and dedication to the cause, and I”m so proud of each and every one of them. This was an amazing experience and we hope to do it again soon (so if you’re in the North Carolina area, shoot me a message!).

You can find the full set of photos here on my blog. I was lucky enough to have taken a few of the photos myself, thanks to Travis being one cool dude. I can’t wait to do this again and I hope that we’ve inspired some men and women somewhere and that we can help others in the future.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2012 10:29 am

    What a cool idea. You are dead on regarding what most nude fat art is: tributes to buxom, zaftig bodies that, while fat, are still versions of the same ol’, same ol’. Everyone deserves to feel self-confident in their bodies, regardless of whether their boobs are big, their ass is round or their belly is flat. Great project, Heather! Way to go ladies and gentleman.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  2. November 27, 2012 10:37 am

    Wow.
    Amazing pictures of amazing people.
    ’nuff said.

  3. LittleBigGirl permalink
    November 27, 2012 12:33 pm

    I am crying with joy right now. You don’t know how much it means to me to see bodies like mine. I needed this. I have been feeling really crappy and disconnected about my body. And then I see bellies and breasts and arms like mine and you are all strong and happy and smiling. I needed to see people like me celebrating who they are. You guys are awesome and brave. Tell Travis he can come to Seattle and take my picture! 🙂

    Thank you thank you thank you…

  4. Duckie Graham permalink
    November 27, 2012 12:54 pm

    This is wonderful!

  5. Peaches permalink
    November 27, 2012 2:05 pm

    I simply LOVE this! This is incredible! I’m going to share this somehow.

    Also, On a more personal note, I’ve been wanting tattooes, but I had somehow convinced myself they wouldn’t look good on fat skin. Seeing Travis’ beautiful tattoos changed my mind.

    Awesome project ladies and man!

  6. November 27, 2012 2:22 pm

    This is so great! Some years ago I saw an installation at an art gallery that was similar, and it really helped me to see that beauty and confidence has absolutely zero percent anything to do with someone’s size- it is an inside job, and our society had really poisoned my brain into thinking “the smaller you get, the happier you’ll be!”. That gallery and your beautiful project really helped me to try and find the beauty and confidence in my own skin, which is something I do struggle with still, but I have to stop that icky thought process that just makes me feel ashamed for my body in every way that it deviates from the so often expressed norm. Thank you for sharing such true confidence and inspiration, you never know how many people will see it and have their lives changed for the better 🙂

  7. JeninCanada permalink
    November 27, 2012 4:11 pm

    Excellent! Thank you for doing this and sharing it with us.

  8. Darrell Abdullah permalink
    February 20, 2013 3:06 am

    I really love large women,especially those with high self-esteem. Keep up the good work and the beautiful photos ladies

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