From: Huffington Post
“Romantic love, for me, is a most intoxicating state of being,” photographer Substantia Jones told The Huffington Post. “So I appreciate it having its own holiday.”
Jones is the brilliant mind — and proudly fat body — behind The Adipositivity Project, a photography series encouraging people to love their bodies, no matter its size or shape (adipose means “of or relating to fat”). With her Valentine’s Series, Jones zooms in on couples in love, addressing the lack of representation when it comes to romance and non-conforming bodies.
In her words: “Fat people deserve love and sex and a good, deep hit of the happy, just like everyone else.”
On February 14, when your eyes will be bombarded with predictable, sugary sweet images of heteronormative couples expressing their love via expensive diamonds and mediocre fancy chocolates, Jones offers a radically different vision of love. Real, raw and big. Jones herself has always been a fan of the holiday.
“When I’m in a relationship, I’m cool with it,” she explained. “When I’m not in a relationship, I’m cool with it. I’ve been to V-Day dinners for single friends. I’ve gotten candy and flowers from platonics. You make it what you want it to be. In fact, the finale of this year’s ‘Adipositivity Valentine Series’ is all about celebrating whatever the day means to you, even if that doesn’t include hot monkey love.”
The timely series features a diverse variety of couples getting their romance on — whether posing cheekily in burlesque gear or cuddling gently in the nude. The images, as you might imagine, come with some pretty cute stories as well.
“My two most memorable shoots this year were both for the current ‘Valentine Series,’” Jones explained. “I photographed ‘The Adipositivity Project’’s first ever male couple in their undies during a cold morning on the East River Esplanade. It earned us approving smiles, horn honks (admittedly of unknown sentiment), and thumbs-ups from passersby. And they didn’t even know they were witnessing history being made(ish).”
The second memorable shoot ended not so romantically, with a surprise visit by the NYPD. “The other recent shoot I’ll not soon forget was while photographing the couple with the giant wings painted on the wall behind them. It was under a rail bridge in Harlem, and we drew a small audience (not unusual), followed by police intervention (also not unusual). But this was the first time an Adipositivity shoot was interrupted by police sirens and flashing lights. The cop was cool about it, saying he appreciated our pursuit of ‘artistic expression.’ But we did have to move along.”
Jones’ work capture all the beauty of V-Day, sans the saccharin of Hallmark cards, stuffed animals and dinner reservations. Through the passion-filled photos, Jones hopes to show the world that, whether or not you’re paying attention, fat people are getting some, thank you very much.
“For every kid whose parent insisted they’d never ‘land’ [eyeroll] a partner unless they lost weight, have a look,” Jones said in an earlier interview with The Huffington Post. “For every fat person who’s let some nimrod convince them their relationship isn’t working because of a jiggly tummy, have a look.”
The images capture pure, happy love, the kind of love that all humans deserve. Couples interested in dropping trou for next year’s “Adipositivity Valentine Series,” contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. “I promise I’ll be gentle,” she assured. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!
"It’s no secret anywhere you look, you see that photography is a commonly used tool for creating body shame. I like to subvert that tool and use it to demystify the fat body."
"In describing the project I often say the project is part fat, part feminism, and part fuck you... People still get upset by nudity. I tell them nudity is not sex, sex is not porn, and porn is not evil. And I find that a lot of people don’t get that. If they see a naked body, they think it should be sexualized or is being sexualized."
"I started taking these pictures and posting them on the website, I soon realized I maybe wasn’t speaking to the general public in the way that I had hoped. But I was speaking to fat people and I immediately starting hearing from fat people from all over the world [and they told] me about body shame, body shame at a level that I had never experienced or even realized existed."
"[I heard] from one woman in particular who told me that the morning she discovered the website was the first morning she had not cried about her body, in memory. And that will stay with me forever and I continue to hear from people telling me these things everyday. So that’s when I realized it’s the subjects themselves that I’m really speaking to and that I need to speak to."
"The rule is, if you promise me you’re fat and you can get to me and my camera, I will photograph you for the Adipositivity Project."