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The Full Body Project

Updated on May 12, 2016

Celebrating the Female Form

The Full Body Project has been a long time in the making. Leonard Nimoy, best known for his portrayal of Spock on Star Trek, has been teasing us with images on his official website for a few years now so it is nice to finally see this book come to fusion.

The Full Body Project is a collection of 50 black and white nude photographs of the plus size form interspersed between 196 black and white pages. While it is not the first of its kind it is a welcome addition to members of the plus size community and beyond.

This review lens is dedicated to Leonard Nimoy's photographic essay The Full Body Project.

Citation: unless otherwise stated images are copyright Five Ties Publishing and were provided for review purpose.

The Photographer

A lifelong love of the art...

At 80, Leonard Nimoy has had a blessed career as an actor, author, director and photographer. Anyone who recognizes the tall slender man probably knows him best as the pop culture icon Spock from the television series (and movie franchise) Star Trek.

He has had a life-long love of photography, studying at UCLA with the late artist Robert Heinecken. Nimoy has lectured on photography and has had his images displayed in galleries, museums and private collections.

The Full Body Project differs from Nimoy's previous work with professional models who were chosen for their qualities over their personalities to represent an idea or theme he wanted to express. It's been a new and exciting learning experience for everyone involved.

Leonard Nimoy's Official Photography website.

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"The women in these pages are proudly wearing their own skins. They accept and respect themselves, and I hope that my images convey that feeling to others." ~ Leonard Nimoy

The Muses

Shaking what god gave them...

While showing some of the images from his first book, Shekhina, Nimoy was approached by a plus size woman who asked to be included in his nude study portfolio. The images from that photo shoot received an interesting response that led him on a path to learn more about the plus size form and the attitudes and stereotypes that surround them.

His search to know more led him to fat activist Heather MacAllister who introduced Nimoy to her plus size performance group out of San Francisco, The Big Burlesque and Fat-Bottom Revue. These women are the main focus of this collection.

Visit Big Burlesque's official website.

"Anytime a fat person gets on a stage to perform and is not the butt of a joke -- that's a political statement." ~ Heather MacAllister (Founder of Fat Bottom Revue)

The Book

The Basics

Pages: 196 pages

Publisher: Five Tie Publishing

Photos: 50 Black and White

These are not glamor shots. You won't find any body makeup here. The pictures are real and raw, but definitely not distasteful. The black and white images have strong shadows that highlight curves, lumps, bumps, stretch marks, and facial features but the most potent aspect of the majority of the images, after you get past the nudity, is the eyes. Regardless of their body you can't help but go back to the eyes.

Natalie Angier, author of Woman: An Intimate Geography, mentions this in the Forward and it is so true. According to Angier most nude studies have the model looking away while Nimoy's models take the camera, photographer and viewer head on. She likens the model's shapes to the Venus of Willendorf figurines.

This collection is sure to encourage further discussion on the concepts of beauty, cultural stereotypes, health, and more.

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Artistic Inspiration

Similar but Unique...

Leonard Nimoy received artistic inspirations to photograph the plus size from in this series from such artists as Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp and Raphael.

I provide the images here not as a means of comparing which is better but as a way of experiencing the image from both perspectives.

The Cover


Herb Ritts' 1989 photograph of a group of supermodels (Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Stephanie Seymour and Tatjana Patitz) huddled together on the floor was the inspiration for the image appearing on the cover of The Full Body Project.

Helmut Newton's (Dressed) & (Naked)

Now you see it. Now you don't...

A German-Australian fashion photographer noted for his nude studies of women. He has a number of diptych photographs which are photos that compare a dressed figure and a nude figure in the same pose.

This particular inspiration as you can see depicts four posed women. I like how Nimoy's models are wearing their striking Burlesque costumes.


Henri Matisse's La Dance

Join the circle...

Matisse was a French artist who worked in a number of mediums. In his paintings he liked to use bold colors. When I look at his painting La Dance as well as Nimoy's lively interpretation I pick up a pagan quality from it and can almost imagine a stoked fire in the center.

Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase

A French artist whose work was influenced by the Second World War. Not all his work is as abstract as this painting. This was one of his most controversial pieces in 1912. Personally, I like the life and curves in Nimoy's interpretation.


Raphael's The Three Graces

Italian painter and architect, Raffaello Santi, is considered one of the "great masters" of the High Renaissance. The graces come from Greek mythology and are supposed to represent the three daughters of Zeus: Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thalia and their attributes of charm, beauty and joy.

My Favorites

On page four a group of women stand, two with their backs to a wall and two with their backs to the camera looking over their shoulders at the photographer (and viewers). I call this one "private club" because it looks as if we've interrupted a private moment.

On page fifty-six, six women dance around in a circle hand in hand. Their round curves are an interesting contrast to the square tiles on the floor which to me represents the culture that tries to contain them.

On page sixty-two and sixty-three, the diptych of four women dressed in their performance costumes and then in the same pose naked.

On page ninety is an alternative to the formal staircase shot that appears earlier in the book. The women have left all seriousness behind to strike a pose.

And my absolute favorite is the closing shot on page ninety-two where a group of six women stand close togheter laughing their butts off.

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The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy
The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy's nude study of the plus size form.


Statement Or Art?

Nimoy has conveyed a sense of acceptance and respect through his images that extends both ways; from in front and from behind the camera. He has taken the pictures in this book with the attitude that the female body is an art form in all its shapes and sizes and he has used compassion and realism to keep his female subjects' dignity intact.

One has to ask though, is he trying to make a statement with this collection or is it for the pure enjoyment of the art. You be the judge.

The Full Body Project is available from

The Full Body Project is available from

Art and Fetish

In a few of the articles/interviews I have read the concept of fat as a fetish has come up.

Does plus size photography have more to do with fetishism than art?

See results

"This is also a book about sisterhood and women finding strength and pleasure in each other's company." ~ Anne Wilkes Tucker

More on Big Burlesque

Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes - by Laurie Toby Edison and Debbie Notkin

"These extraordinary photographs of powerful and beautiful fat women will change your image of beauty forever. The pictures and text combine to send the strongest possible message: We will no longer let society define beauty!"

Leave your comments about this photo collection but be warned if you are rude, crude or off topic I will delete your comments.

What do you think of The Big Body Project

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    • Jhale Moreno profile image

      Jhale Moreno 4 years ago

      This book is definitely a beautiful addition to the art world. I have wished that older art could have had more plus size figures like people claim they do and I am thankful for this effort. I really do enjoy the art, especially the pagan circle one.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 5 years ago


    • profile image

      BarbaraAnn13 5 years ago

      Go Girls Go!

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      lovely and sexy!

    • FastFistCity profile image

      FastFistCity 5 years ago

      On the Fast Fist city television show we promote the plus size model we would like for you to tell us how we can more.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I had never known much about Nimoy; ironically, I just heard about his photography and this project within the past week. Thank you for this truly inspiring, engaging, and well-written article!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a wonderful project - thanks for drawing my attention to it. Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      sherioz 6 years ago

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The full body project is amazing!!!! It's so inspiring! I'm a fashion design student from Bolivia and my Final Project is inspired by this! :)

    • LaurenIM profile image

      LaurenIM 6 years ago

      Oh boy do I love Leonard Nimoy! I didn't realize that he was the Full Body Project. Wow, I love him even more. Almost more than I love Spock but that's another subject and inappropriate for this one especially after reading his book "I Am Not Spock" but I digress.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Is that one picture of women? great lens!

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      Mr. Nimoy does beautiful, insightful work in all of his photography subjects and this new book is case in point. Thank you for sharing more work by this talented photographer. Blessed.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 6 years ago

      excellen :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago


    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      Cool! Love it! Blessing this lens!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Every body has its own beauty and essence. Let us celebrate and honor every form of beauty.

    • profile image

      RGebbiePhoto 7 years ago

      Nice lens, the human form thin or heavy can be a beautiful thing.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 7 years ago

      Another thing I have never heard of.. but amazing! Wow... talk about celebrating the body! Why not fat?

    • profile image

      seegreen 7 years ago

      This reminds me of a show I saw a few years ago. Dawn French was posing for photos that were interpretations of famous paintings. Don't remember the name of it.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Personally never heard of him but art in any form is worthwhile. Great tribute lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago comment :)

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 7 years ago

      I love it. Angel blessed.

    • ArdenBaird LM profile image

      ArdenBaird LM 7 years ago

      I have always adored Leonard Nimoy (I grok Spock) but this book made me love him even more. I think every one should look at this book. I'm lensrolling this lens to my Reflecting Venus lens.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      I was totally unaware of this. Thank you. Always loved Nemoy and will have to look into this.

    • LotusMalas profile image

      LotusMalas 7 years ago

      Wow - I didn't know Leonard Nimoy was a photographer or that he'd worked on such a great project!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      I can't begin to tell ya how this makes me smile to finally see such a beautiful and sensitive handling of the big body ... you know what I'm saying???

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 8 years ago

      Wonderful writing on a wonderful project. I love that you included the point about the gaze; i.e., that most nudes are passive objects of the viewer's gaze, but Nimoy's model's meet the viewer's eye. To me, that's one of the things that (and its intent) puts this work into the "art" category.

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 8 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      As a "larger than average" lady myself, it's good to see a celebration of real women, rather than the surgically enhanced plastic stick insects that the media would have us believe is a physical ideal.

      Kudos to the very talented Leonard Nimoy :)

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 8 years ago

      Excellent! Thanks for this lens.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 9 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      First I had no idea Leonard Nimoy was an artist of any kind. Second, I am quite impressed with this project. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

    • daoine lm profile image

      daoine lm 10 years ago

      I love the inspiration he's drawn from famous images and paintings - the Nudes Descending the Staircase is fabulous! And the La Dance, too. Well thought out.