I wished him “Happy Birthday” on his last birthday.
Last year, to open his photography exhibit, "Secret Selves" at the GSU, Boston University, Leonard Nimoy skyped in for a Q&A about his work. I had gone because I loved the character he played on Star Trek, everyone's favorite half-Vulcan Mr. Spock. Right before the Skype feed began, the curator of the show suggested to us not to mention anything Star Trek related as "Mr. Nimoy is only accepting questions about his exhibit please."
This isn't surprising considering Mr. Nimoy's first autobiography is entitled, "I am Not Mr. Spock."
Nimoy was able to lead us through his thought process of making "Secret Selves" without mentioning Star Trek, because the franchise is irrelevant to what was he was currently propagating. In his photography work, Nimoy looks to help viewers find beauty in themselves. Specifically in "Secret Selves," Nimoy sought to express the side of his models that they have never shown to anyone before. This very intimate expression of his models allows viewers to reflect on their own selves and souls and question what they intentionally, or even unintentionally, hide from others.
One person had stepped up to not ask Mr. Nimoy a question, but rather to thank him for his work. The speaker had engaged with Nimoy’s project, “The Full Body Project”, which aided her in a battle against a negative self-image and low self-confidence.
To describe the The Full Body Project, Mr. Nimoy is often quoted by saying “The average American woman weighs 25 percent more than the models selling the clothes. There is a huge industry built up around selling women ways to get their bodies closer to the fantasy ideal. Pills, diets, surgery, workout programs... The message is ‘You don't look right. If you buy our product, you can get there.’” (1)
For the final question Mr. Nimoy was asked what his “secret self” was. He laughed and described how that questions always pops up, yet he doesn’t have an answer for it. I know my answer may be very different than his, but it is the same as thousands of now 20-somethings: someone who loves to dress up in a blue shirt and pointy ears who always makes most logical decision, while still struggling to understand emotions.
Mr. Nimoy signed off similarly to his famous character and undoubtedly these words will remain associated with him forever, “Live Long and Prosper”
I believe his message, his spark, is something a bit simpler: “You’re beautiful”
At TEDxBU, on our speaker session themes is Individual Identity. Speakers will explore struggles they have experienced because of an identity they embrace. As Mr. Nimoy’s work inspires people to embrace their body and souls, the speakers during this session will speak about how embracing their identity is the best thing they could have done.
Goodbye Mr. Nimoy.
Please follow this link for more information about Leonard Nimoy’s photography:
Also try googling some of his collections:
The Full Body Project