Beauty is in the eye of beholder. At least that’s the message these portraits were created to demonstrate.
The controversial set of images, captured by Italian photographer Yossi Loloi, make up an ongoing art project called FullBeauty. FullBeauty is part of a growing movement to promote acceptance of people of all shapes and sizes and and challenge traditional notions of beauty.
“What larger women embody to me,” Loloi says, “is simply a different form of beauty. I believe we own ‘freedom of taste’ and one shouldn’t be reluctant of expressing his inclination towards it. Limiting this freedom is living in a dictatorship of aesthetics.”
Loloi only uses models that weigh at least 30 stone (420 pounds), with the heaviest weighing in at 43 stones (just over 600 pounds). He asks that they wear no clothing so as to portray them in their complete “fullness and femininity.”
When asked about the overall intention of the project, Loloi said:
“I believe there are several ways to what is perceived as beauty, it is not measurable and has not got a standard size.”
When asked whether his project promotes ill health (according to the WHO, obesity kills over 2.8 million people each year), Loloi responded:
“It saddens me sometimes when people stop at the gates of the ‘health issue’ rather than stepping inside the image and trying to understand it.
It shows how we are spoiled culturally, and so it is my job as an artist to ‘awaken’ feelings in others, be it outrage or marvel.
With FullBeauty I am trying to underline that we all have the right to be appreciated the way we are and that there should be no dictatorship on taste.”
But setting aside notions of beauty, many argue that “fat acceptance” campaigns like Loloi’s are missing the point. Dissenters say organizations like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, which fights size discrimination, are propagating the notion that being overweight or obese has no personal or societal consequences. They cite research that suggests being significantly overweight leads to heart disease and diabetes.
Stephen Nicholls, M.D., clinical director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention, is concerned that fat acceptance campaigns like Loloi’s might send the message that being overweight isn’t a health issue.
“As a population, we consume processed, high-fat, easily available food and reduce the amount of exercise and activity we perform on a daily basis. There is complacency about developing obesity, and it could suggest that we underestimate what its implications might be.”
While most people would agree that the modeling industry’s focus on anorexic-looking models isn’t healthy, promoting the opposite extreme might be just as harmful. But if the mission of this project is to provoke questions in the minds of viewers, Loloi has certainly achieved his goal in that respect:
What is the connection between beauty and health? Is beauty something to strive for? Who decides what is beautiful?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
You can view all the images in the FullBeauty project (warning: NSFW) here.
via HuffPost UK