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by Stephanie de Leng


I would love to have implants. You see, these do not even fit in one hand. When I have the money, I am going to get some. I heard you can do it with your own fat these days, but I don’t have enough fat. Like, how bad is that? I wish I could take someone else’s. July 2005

“Body Landscapes" is a reaction against the excessive use of air brushed images by the media. We have grown accustomed to a two dimensional stage where not a hair is out of place. For many this translates into a warped view of the real, three-dimensional world and how we are supposed to look.

The fashion industry seeks body types so atypical to the average human form that they are almost a freak of nature. Model scouts are sent forth to the four corners of the world to track these rare creatures down. Once found, they are groomed and polished to perfection, photographed, and then buffed further in Photoshop.

With their abnormally long legs, tiny waists and symmetrical faces sitting upon giraffe-like necks, not many of us can ever hope to look like them. Yet these enhanced images are splashed across every media outlet, proclaiming an impossible ideal to strive for. In many people this can cause a deep-seated unease,or even depression. It is from this realization that my project has been conceived.

You are going to do a body exhibition? Can I be in it? I have horrible bat wings and fat on my upper back. Isn’t there a name for this? There should be. Lets see…how about back tires? That is really funny. October 2005

Just as looking at images of perfection is depressing, I decided that looking at humanity as it really is - warts, scars, cellulite and all – could be paradoxically uplifting. I have asked random people to confront their deepest insecurities by revealing to the camera the parts of themselves they struggle to like. No judgement was made as to whether they were ugly or otherwise.

Instead of trying to cover up and beautify, I have approached this project from the viewpoint of a landscape photographer, striving to reveal as much detail and definition as possible within a pleasing composition.

Some of these images will provoke a strong response, and yet others will make you wonder what the problem is. No judgement was made by me as to whether a part was unappealing or not; it was simply enough that the subject thought it was.

In the interests of equality, I have exposed myself to the camera as well. Along
with all the other sitters, I am not recognisable, and yet, I consider my body part
more reflective of me as person than any portrait ever taken, in that it reveals my deepest secret insecurities.

As a final aside, I am increasingly concerned with the social and moral aspects of photography, and what I can do, to "un-do" the damage that is being done to society, in particular our young, by the airbrushing of photographic images put before us. In this regard, I now primarily concentrate on social reportage, with a portrait basis, and projects such as "Body Landscapes" in an effort to impact positively on our planet and people today.

Body Landscapes - Ongoing Project Series

You can also listen to the excellent The Roger Phillips RADIO Interview, November 2, 2009
See Video clip: http://www.stephaniedeleng.co.uk/about.html

All images copyright Stephanie de Leng, Liverpool, UK