When Leonard Nimoy’s death was announced this past week, Sally Wiener Grotta posted one of Mr. Nimoy’s photographs from his “The Full Body Project” as a tribute to him. “I wanted people to remember Mr. Nimoy as a man, artist and creator beyond his Star Trek role of Mr. Spock,” Grotta explained. “Besides, it’s a stunning photograph that challenges us and makes us think about how popular culture and media cruelly distort our perceptions and expectations about female beauty and body image.”
In an essay “Is Obesity the New Obscenity?,” Grotta described how the photo sparked an unexpected online controversy. She wrote, “The first thing any of us sees is the fat. But look closer, at their confidence, their sense of grace and comportment. The picture is a celebration of their full, rich humanity.”
Remembering a phone conversation, she once had with Leonard Nimoy during which they discussed art, writing and feminism, Grotta wrote in this essay that even now, she continues to learn from him, through his photography. “Thank you, Leonard Nimoy,” she wrote. “Once again you have challenged me to see beyond the obvious, to seek new perspectives and think creatively, humanistically. To embrace life in all its joyous imperfections, and enjoy the dance.”
“Thank you, Leonard Nimoy. Once again you have challenged me to see beyond the obvious, to seek new perspectives and think creatively, humanistically. To embrace life in all its joyous imperfections, and enjoy the dance.” – Sally Wiener Grotta
Full details about the reactions and Grotta’s response are described in the essay. But mostly, Grotta said, she’s pleased that “it sparked a healthy discussion about art, beauty and how the female form is often perceived as little more than another marketplace commodity.”
Read the full essay here.
About Sally Wiener Grotta
Sally Wiener Grotta is the photographer behind the award-winning American Hands narrative portrait project, and the author of the critically acclaimed novels “The Winter Boy” and “Jo Joe.”