"Is Nimoy into fat chicks?"

Apparently that's the first thing a lot of folks think when they first walk into Richard Michelson's art gallery in Northampton, currently hosting the good doctor Spock's exhibition of obese lady fat-agraphs.

Mr. Nimoy, who shoots artsy portraits of overweight naked women in an effort to destabilize the skinny industry, would not confirm or deny the charge this weekend, telling Sunday Styles that while he does not "necessarily" find them sexually attractive, he does think they are "beautiful," "full-bodied, full-blooded human beings."
"People will think what they're going to think," Nimoy tells Styles. "I understand that."

Nimoy didn't care about obesity until he got pretty old. These days, he is a passionate critic of the fashion industry—so passionate, it seems, that he has trouble speaking without his breath getting thick:

The average American woman, according to articles I've read, weighs 25 percent more than the models who are showing the clothes they are being sold," Mr. Nimoy said, his breathing slightly labored by allergies and a mild case of emphysema. "So, most women will not be able to look like those models. But they're being presented with clothes, cosmetics, surgery, diet pills, diet programs, therapy, with the idea that they can aspire to look like those people. It's a big, big industry. Billions of dollars. And the cruelest part of it is that these women are being told, 'You don't look right.'

When did Nimoy first catch the bug? According to Styles, it was eight years ago, when he was in Nevada, showing photos he'd taken of naked Jewesses. At some point during or after Nimoy's presentation, a 250-pound woman came up to him and asked if he wanted to take pictures of her, "a different body type."

He agreed, and she came to the studio at his Tahoe house. She arrived with all sorts of clothes and props, "as if she were playing a farmer's wife in a butter commercial," he said.

At first, the lady kept her clothes on, but Nimoy's wife Susan, who was on hand as an assistant, had other plans. "No, we want to shoot nude," she said. The model did as she was told, and after removing her clothes, laid down on a table.

At first Mr. Nimoy was very nervous, he said.

"The nudity wasn't the problem," he said, "but I'd never worked with that kind of a figure before. I didn't quite know how to treat her. I didn't want to do her some kind of injustice. I was concerned that I would present this person within the envelope of an art form."

But soon he relaxed into it, lulled by the clicking of the camera and the woman's comfort with her body.

In conclusion, Leonard Nimoy wants to kiss a million fat ladies on the face and drown his breathing in their burly flesh. This is a hilarious notion!—LEON

Girth and Nudity: A Pictorial Mission [NYT]