We are all too aware that images of idealized beauty permeate most of the media we consume. What we may not realize is that it has actually happened for hundreds of years, albeit in different forms, shifting aesthetics and beauty standards.
Titian’s reclining Venus, for example, is shaped differently from the fashion models of today’s ad campaigns, and African diasporic art offers yet another ideal. More often than not, women (and to a lessor extent, men) who don’t fit the mould of the day are excluded, judged, and made to feel less-than.
Julia Fullerton-Batten‘s latest series “Unadorned” hopes to recall the classical vision of the female body, one dominated by soft curves, accentuated dreamy candle-light. She explains: “I […] wanted to photograph people who are labeled as ‘fat’ as judged by today’s society.” Asking both men and women to strip before her dreamy lens, she hopes to invite a dialogue on what we consider beautiful and worthy of artistic rendering.
Inspired by the 15th-17th century masters’ return to classical aesthetics, Fullerton-Batten celebrates human anatomy and sensuality. Like Michelangelo, she accentuates and exaggerates luxurious, sensual parts of the body with lighting and draped jewelry: the breasts, the midsection, the buttocks gleam under her lighting. Her magnificent, Rembrandt-esque tones and her subjects’ marvelous poses serve to further accentuate the elegant foreshortening of the body. A house, open books, and a staircase shrink in the context of a glorious, lounging female. Natural elements like lemons and ripened fruit mirror the curvatures of the human body.
Do you think it works?
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