If you’ve been following my blog for the last few months, you’ll know that besides being a web designer/developer, and a divorcee, and an opinionated, self-described bitch – I also do a certain amount of artwork. What I’ve shown is mostly photomanipulation via Photoshop, but I do some Adobe Illustrator work as well. In fact, I’m currently working on a triptych that describes how I feel about my divorce.
Art, for many of us, is a way to express things that sometimes words cannot encompass. I write a lot, mostly to get bullshit opinions out of my head where I can look at them more objectively and decide if they are either useful, or just yet another part of my brain that is tied up with unhealthy perspectives. I appreciate my readers, because it keeps me honest with myself, and also means I can’t really hide from writing – simply because something might feel too intimate, or because I’m desperately trying to hide from my own truth.
But art, at least for me, is even more intimate than sharing some of the broken paths in my brain. It’s because it is accessing my unconscious more than just the active portions of my brain. It brings out a lot of my more emotional side, and can be difficult.
Like many other artists, I need some visual references, such as your average marionette (seen to the right). Artists use these often to find reference points so we can see just how to make a correctly proportioned pose (so that the arm length matches with head size or torso matches with legs, or any other proportional visual).
It’s difficult, often, to find references for the larger body, without using your own body for the referent. This can be difficult, because sometimes the required pose isn’t something easy to explain, nor is it easy to get a photo of. So, trying to set yourself into the pose (which may require an external viewpoint to get it done right), and still be able to shoot the camera can either be difficult or a comedy of errors.
So, many of us turn to things like Google image searches to find the right kind of photo reference.
But, it’s very depressing to do so – particularly if you are searching for an image of a larger woman.
Every time I search with the words “larger woman” or “plus size woman” 3/4 of the images that come up are some form of “weight loss” type stock photo. And they aren’t all the “measuring tape” kind of stock.
No, these photos are pretty much encouraging the stereotype of “fat, lazy, disgusting woman.” Let me show you a few of them:
Yeah, yeah, we get it. We’re all evil, horrible, fat slobs. We should all just hide ourselves away from humanity.
I have only one thing I can say to that: