|I like to call this photo "Check out my chest"|
Image credit: Wellcome Library
The pursuit of body beautiful powers the fitness industry, the fashion industry, the diet industry, the cosmetics industry, more than just a few bloody awful reality shows...and hordes of misguided hopefuls who suck in their guts for the camera like this dashing dude.
Although I reckon he was probably going for the puffed pecs rather than the tummy tuck.
And yes, the pursuit of body beautiful also gives us the occasional media sweetheart, like Gok Wan. I'll truck no criticism of the lovely Aunty Gok — who is close to the top of my list of people I hope to see in full three-glorious-breathing-walking-talking-dimensions while I'm here in London... but I digress.
|I Can't Help the Way I Feel |
British artist: John Isaacs, 2003
No amount of self-confidence, no quantity of glowing reassurance from strangers, no carefully posed photo shoot could make 'I' look good naked.
The artist here represents what he calls 'the emotional landscape' of someone stigmatised by modern society's obsession with body beautiful and the obesity epidemic.
And that someone may not be obese. That someone may just feel like the sculpture when they see themselves naked.
Cleverly, the title applies to the viewer as much as the subject of the piece. Spend time in close proximity to this amorphous wax sculpture and you cannot help but feel.
Disgust. Shame. Pity. Horror. Sorrow. Confusion. Guilt. Fascination. Revulsion. Any or all may surface.
|Portrait of Daniel Lambert, oil on canvas, |
British, 19th Century
iPhone photo of painting displayed
In the 1820s, Englishman Daniel Lambert weighed over 50 stone/320kg, and measured 9 feet 4 inches/2.8m around the waist.
He made his living by charging 1 shilling to view his bulk.
We don't have human sideshows anymore.
But have perceptions of body beautiful really changed that much?
During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.
My posts will all feature images of and by the Wellcome Collection, Euston, London: the free destination for the incurably curious.