This seems to be a book-centered week, so I’m giving into the flow and review another book (or a series of books, actually) that I really like and use often. Greg Friedler is a photographer who created these three books. He has two pictures of each person in his books: one fully clothed in street clothes, the other fully naked. The person’s age and their career are the only personal information provided. This is a really stunning series, and provides huge insights into bodies. I highly recommend it for teenagers and pre-teenagers who are curious about naked bodies. (You can see some of the pictures from the series on Friedler’s website.)
In the introduction to Naked New York, Friedler says:
I am often asked why people participated in this project. This is a valid question in a project where the participants show up with the knowledge that they are going to take off their clothes and be photographed by a complete stranger without receiving any monetary compensation. I believe they participate for a number of reasons. I think that a lot of people in New York (and elsewhere) are starving for attention. The people in this project enjoy the fact that they have my full attention and that I am attempting to connect with them on some level.
I really like the books partially because I feel like I am connecting with the people Friedler photographed. Seeing someone naked is intensely personal, and being able to spend some time noticing the little differences between how people hold themselves clothed and naked is an intriguing way to spend an afternoon.
All of the teenagers who I have shown this book have been fascinated by it. They have serious questions about what people look like naked – both of their own gender and the other gender. There are not many places where these serious questions can find serious answers that are not too arty (that can put teenagers off) and are not too sexual (that’s not the point of their questions, generally). The people in these pages have a wide variety of body types, are of all different ages, and many walks of life. It’s just perfect for the purpose.
I have found that these books are really must-haves for sexuality education classes. I think they should be must-haves for homes with pre-teens and teenagers as well.
Sounds amazing, although the idea of being identified by age and career is a little off-putting to me, as though society doesn’t already put too much value on those things. But it still sounds amazing–I’d like to see it.
While I completely agree that being identified by age and career is a little off-putting, that seems to be exactly Friedler’s point. Once you take people’s clothes off, they’re just people, regardless of their career or their age.
I’ve seen this book (only the NY one I think) and it is a wonderful book for anyone struggling with body image or just needing to see what other people look like naked (like all adolescents). This is not an overtly sexual book – very few people could turn it into a tool for masturbation – but it gave me a sense of ease with my own body, even as an adult, that I know will be helpful to teens. Thanks for the reminder – I don’t own a copy and I think I’d like to.
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