As I write this, it’s 19° F, unusually cold for Seattle. The little brown birds are pecking at seeds out on the deck, and I need to bring the hummingbird feeder inside and thaw it.
I always think about fat joy more in the winter, which is a season that’s – well, not completely devoid of joy for me, but not my natural habitat, and I often struggle with the gloom and lack of growing things. It’s easy to fall prey to hopeless thoughts about fat oppression and marginalization.
The darkness is inspiring the rebel in me to pick back up my fat joy series over on Instagram, and it’s also a good time to share my guest appearance on the wonderfully-named Fat Joy Podcast with Sophia Apostol.
Here’s a bit of the transcript that I think is important:
Sophia: So I’m really curious about the stock photography piece in terms of the, cause I remember, there was a real expense to it. I think you were talking in your newsletter about the impact of this financial expenditure to do this thing that you felt so powerfully about.
I think this is true of a lot of activism work. It costs money and yet there’s often not a lot back. So is it okay to talk a little bit about that tension?
Lindley: I’ve always been really open about that because I do think it’s important to talk about, because we’re so used to things appearing from corporations that it can be really weird. Like it can feel incoherent when activists want money for what they do. When people ask activists, artists, small business people of all kinds [for products/services], it can be kind of disconcerting because we assume that people do that for the love of it.
We just assume, like subconsciously, we assume that that is being funded in some way, that it’s grant funded or, oh, they have a nice polished web presence, so clearly they’re making good money or whatever.
And so it can feel really weird to [encounter] people who say straight up, this costs me money and resources to do, I need resources to do it. It’s easy to think of those people as being pushy or mercenary. And this is something that I’ve had to work on in myself too.
We all have these things to learn because [activism] does cost money. So for doing these stock photos, there are the standard kind of photography expenses. Usually I don’t need to rent a venue, but every once in a while I need to, I need to pay somebody to use their yoga studio or something. There’s travel costs.
I offer my models [compensation] because it’s really important to me that nobody gets exploited in this process. Because if I’m taking advantage of someone to produce this work, then not only is it really hypocritical, but then, I don’t know, I’m not a particularly woo person, but that energy is going to carry through if I’m not treating people well.
And from a purely business standpoint, from an extremely non-woo standpoint, your reputation is important as a business. And if I’m going around mistreating people or not compensating them, that affects my reputation in the end. And so, depending on how you want to look at that energy, either way it’s energy.
So I offer my models either a living wage per hour that they model, or they can choose to be compensated in images. That way the people who, they’re not hard up, you know, but they really want to see themselves and be able to keep those photos, as opposed to just watching for them to appear on Instagram or look at them on the site.
They can receive the high resolution images and they can get them printed, they can put them in an album, whatever they want to do. Or they can choose that living wage. And that also helps people access this. It gives them the ability to work with a professional photographer to represent people like them with bodies like theirs.
One last note: Registration is still open for my The Origins of the Feelings workshop on January 20.
Here’s what’s being discussed this week in the world of body acceptance and fat liberation:
» Event: 4-Week Mindfulness & The Body Workshop, starts Jan. 22 (online)
» Quick Guide: Wegovy/Ozempic for Weight Loss (read)
» We Need a National Memorial for the Covid Dead (read)
» Just Say No to Artificial Intelligence In Your Creative Pursuits, Please (read)
» When Weight Loss Becomes Idolatry — Anastasia Kidd (listen)
» Appreciating Your Body with Social Worker Krissy (listen)
» Unicorn chaser: Lynda Carter on Fat Bear Week (see)
Quick Resources: Normalizing Body Hair
Hi there! I'm Lindley. I create artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards at Body Liberation Photography. I'm also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated central resource for body-friendly artwork and products. Find all my work here at bodyliberationphotos.com.