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Beautiful: Nudes by Marc Baptiste Hardcover – November 10, 2001
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"[Beautiful is] for all the little brown girls and not so little brown girls who still get taught you ain't enough unless you cut, change or amplify. [It's] to remind us who we are. And it is with gratitude and pride that I step into the sunlight and celebration of women of color, expanding open in the knowledge that God can make nothing ugly or unlovable. God can't make any mistakes!"--Vanessa Williams, actress
"Historically, "Beautiful" is a long overdue labor of love that pours out a molten passion for the beauty of women of color. It is a passion tempered by an earthy, sensible, persuasive intelligence that embraces difference: in age, body type, skin tone, hair texture, and temperament. Photographer Marc Baptiste pays tribute to a glorious spectrum of women. He treasures the drama inherent in pursuing the elusive physical presence of his subjects. Empathetic, subtle, lush, graphic, and generous in range, his pictures compel the viewer to inhabit his multifaceted reverie."--George Pitts, Director of Photography, Vibe Magazine
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Baptiste shows us familiar faces like Vanessa L. Williams, a few of the African gene pool's contributions to conventional beauty. He goes far beyond convention, though. Isabelle and Deborah display curvier figures than fashion normally dictates. Adrianna proudly shows stretch-marks, something both common and, in the West, usually kept secret. Kia and Akure grant us their impending motherhood, with it unique charm and drama. Elaina shows us survival, the woman who remains after the ravages of cancer and of the treatment that saved her life.
Nature and nurture combine equally in a woman's appearance. Her genetic heritage makes major contribution, of course, and people differ in so many lovely ways. The choices and vicissitudes of her life contribute at least as much. Baptiste shows both aspects of that beauty, in a rainbow of gorgeous colors.
This book is a tribute to the oldest ideals of femininity (women of color) and a counterpoint to the very narrow one we have now.
The women pictured here were absolutely stunning; not because of their flaws, nor because of their fine features, but because of how all of that together adds up to beautiful photographs of women.
Women here have cellulite, pubic hair, stretch marks, high breasts, and low, because yes, beautiful women have them.
From Hollywood stars, models, and musicians, to dancers, moms, and women with curves; they are all photographed with the same reverence for their beauty. And contrary to what's been said, though it is majority Black, Asian, Latina, and Native American women are pictured here as well.
The nudity is neither fetishist nor is it exploitive. In a culture all too happy to do both to women of color, this is REALLY refreshing.
It's a respectful honoring of the beauty of all women's bodies. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a counterpoint to the typical, modern, feminine, beauty ideal.
This is an amazing book. Tastefully done. This book is more than just black nudity and erotica, it definitely portrays the African American Woman in an incredible state of ART. BEAUTIFUL!!!