Saturday, May 18, 2013

Booknote: Fat Girl

Carlos Batts, Fat Girl. New York: Rare Bird Books, 2013. (Link to publisher page)

ISBN: 978-0985490263 (for hardcover edition)

Genre: Erotic Art and Photography

Note: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes via NetGalley. Yes, I am a registered librarian reviewer in NetGalley now, and I will probably blog about that as well  (interesting experience so far). At any rate, book was provided as an e-book (which I read on my iPad using the Blue Fire reader app) by the publisher for an honest review. (There, we have satisfied The Man, a.k.a. the FCC. On with the review). Also note the book is due out in July of 2013. Pus, though I made it clear in my genre label above, this is an erotica book (yes, it does have some explicit images, so act as your comfort moves you).

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I read this book in one night; as it is a photography book, it does not have a lot of text, but it was a pleasure to look through the book. I will admit that I requested to review the book on a bit of a whim. Sure, I do enjoy erotica now and then, but aside from that, it was mostly whim when I put in the request. So, it was nice when the request was approved, and I got the book.

The book is, at its core, a pictorial celebration of plus-sized model and adult film star April Flores (link to Wikipedia entry). I say celebration because the book is also a celebration of the beauty, power, and sensuality of the fat girl. Ms. Flores, in collaboration with the author/photographer (who is also her husband now) Carlos Batts, seeks to reclaim the label and break some stereotypes in the process. The book collaboration does come across as one of art, intimacy, and love.

The book contains an introduction written by Miss Sara Rosen that puts the rest of the work in context. She tells us how April and Carlos came together, "an artist and a muse made yin yang." The rest of the book contains seven chapters. Each chapter begins with an introductory passage followed by a set of photos. Combined, those prose passages show us how Ms. Flores thinks and reveal her personal journey towards becoming the artistic and sexual icon she is now.

The photos are quite diverse, ranging from glamour shots to erotic nudes to fetish to candid photos. What we get is a broad look from various angle at a beautiful and confident woman. We also get some photos revealing the photographer's craft. One of my personal favorites is the first photo of the second chapter. In the photo, Ms. Flores lays on top of some pastel-colored balls, nude, with some balls covering some strategic parts. We see her from the side, and the photographer is on a ladder taking a shot from above. She appears to be very sensual in that photo. The photo also reveals a bit of how the magic is done, and it is magic for Mr. Batts manages to bring out the best of Ms. Flores. Through the photographs, we also see the the games they play, a bit of their daily life, and their love in her gaze to the camera and in his gaze as photographer. As Miss Rosen writes in her introduction to the book, "Fat Girl is a love story. A story of wonder, of self-discovery. . . . " The love story, kinky and innocent at times, is very much alive in the photos featured in the book.

On an additional note, the chapter featuring the sex toy art, where various artists were invited, as part of a curated exhibit, to creatively paint a sex toy, one modeled on Ms. Flores, is a nice inclusion in the book. There is a lot of unique art pieces in that chapter, and they are worth a look.

If you enjoy erotic photography, this book would be a good choice. If you like plus-sized models, or just more "natural" women who enjoy their sensuality, this is a book for you as well. Fans of April Flores should definitely like this and will want to add it to their collections.

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