Leonard Nimoy was best known as the half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock on Star Trek, but just as his character epitomized those who are different from their peers and society’s expectations of “normal,” Nimoy embraced the unconventional in his photography, particularly in a series of portraits of women. The legendary actor and director released The Full Body Project in 2007, a book of photos celebrating women of all sizes, according to Mashable.
Nimoy, who passed away Friday at age 83, had produced photography books with nudes of women before, but dedicated this book to women of all sizes after learning that many women were ashamed of their bodies because they didn’t fit Hollywood standards of beauty. Natalie Angier, who wrote the introduction to The Full Body Project, told Mashable that defying this narrow vision of beauty became an important cause for Nimoy.
“It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves. He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.”
Nimoy was inspired to create The Full Body Project after a plus-size woman asked him to do some photos of herself and her friends. The book features both nudes and clothed images of women much larger than the current plus-sized model trend. Many of the nudes involve the subject posing straight on for the camera, presenting herself without shame or attempts to pose in ways to hide her “imperfections.”
In paying tribute to Leonard Nimoy, TakePart reported a 2008 interview with Leonard on The Colbert Report where he discussed the damaging stereotypes perpetuated by the fashion industry with unrealistic ideals.
“The standard is presented to us by the women who model the clothes that are being sold to the women in this country. The issue is this: The average woman in this country weighs 25 percent more than those models do, and they’ll never attain that body shape, so they’re being sold on the idea that they don’t look right.”
The book never really found success commercially, and few even knew of its existence before Nimoy passed away Friday from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Since his death, the media and social networks have been flooded with fans and peers paying tribute to the late actor. Stories have surfaced about Nimoy on everything from his photography, to his advice to a young girl of interracial parents, to his fight for equal pay for women when he stood up for co-star Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek.
Even President Obama issued a statement paying tribute to Leonard Nimoy.
“Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek‘s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.”
In looking back over a lifetime of Leonard Nimoy’s work on and off the set, it seems clear to fans that Nimoy shared that “inclusive vision” of humanity with his iconic character, Mr. Spock.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]