Julia Fullerton-Batten is frequently stated by prominent art critics to be one of the leading young fine-art photographers in the UK. She has won many prestigious awards, including the HSBC Fondation pour le Photographie 2007, had several solo exhibitions in London, and participated in exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic.
She has a permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Musee del’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland. Julia was born in Bremen, Germany and spent her childhood in Germany and the United States, before moving to the UK when she was 16. She now lives in London.
My latest work is inspired by paintings of old masters from the 15th to 17th Century (Titian to Rubens). Over a period of three centuries, these masters showed that female and male beauty of that time was represented by a fuller figure.
Throughout most of the last few millennia, the most sought-after female forms were represented by curvaceous bodies and in Rubens’ case of outright corpulence. It is only in very recent times, since Twiggy and Barbie came to the fore in the 1960s, that our narcissistic society reinforced by the media and advertising now interprets the ideal figure to be ultra-thin, enhanced by eating disorders and plastic surgery. Even men are beginning to be caught up in this vicious circle. Today’s harsh judgements of obese persons is particularly prevalent in the West; in many other cultures corpulence is still highly regarded today.
I have transposed the old masters’ inspirational works into a modern context. Larger-than-life models of both sexes unashamedly shed their clothes and posed for me in the nude. I placed them individually in a scene with appropriate props and asked them to pose in ways that would show off their shape naturally and enhance their beauty. I simulated soft candle- and moon-light to recreate that seen in the old masters’ paintings.
My models accept that their bodies are as nature intended them to be. They show honesty, both to others and themselves in a world all too often dominated by manipulated beauty.