(Cover Idea #5)
I received an email today from a beautiful woman voicing concern about the image she thought I might be using as my 'cover' image for my book The Bodies Of Mothers. The image she thought I was going to use is Cover Idea #3 in this list of images with the tattoos and gorgeous stripes from growing 3 lives. The woman who wrote me expressed that she thought it was too much like what is already accepted in our culture as beautiful (meaning the woman is 'thin and young' and white) and thought it was both un-powerful and not a good choice to convey my 'redefining beautiful' message. It got me thinking and while I don't necessarily agree with everything she wrote I do strongly agree with some of what she expressed to me. Plus I love listening to other people's ideas and I would love to hear your ideas.
Here are 6 ideas, all numbered below the image, including the image above these words.
The book is going to be 12x12 inches, sustainable paper and printed in the USA.
Ultimately, I want the most powerful image (big surprise). An image which attracts people to he book who don't even know about this project while encouraging those who own it to keep it out in the open as opposed to hiding it away in a book shelf because perhaps nudity might offend them or their family. I want it to REACH as many people as possible before they dismiss this work based on a cover. INSIDE the book there are nudes and there is a wide representation of women.
Please tell me your thoughts. Each image has a number underneath and if you feel so inspired , please comment why you do or don't like what number, and I would be eternally grateful for this collective of ideas on how to make the most powerful and inviting book cover for this profound work that tells the story for so very very many of us.
**Please note these cover ideas are all sketches/drafts. The font etc will most likely change.**
(*Stephanie* cover Idea #2)
(*S* Cover idea #3)
(*Jane* Cover Idea #4)
(*Kasthuri* Cover Idea #5)
(*Lulani* Cover Idea #6)
I pick #6 because of the sheer representations of unconditional love of the woman and her sacrifice. Her bodies perfection for the children brought into the world by her. What a small price to pay……for unconditional love.
that said, you want to focus on the body of the mom, so probably NOT the best for the cover! :-)
Sorry my english not good enough to be more explicit but…
Thé cover #3 don’t let imagine how good, how sensible and empathic ils jour work.
The picture in #3 ils very fine but i.m.h.o is not representative…
…we see a Nice looking mother, young, independant (‘cause toattoes) with a light trace of maternity, this lecture ils a vert soft exemple of jour work ans i’m ont sûre people will open thé book to discover wat’s going on into the book.
For me a good alternative would be cover#5: extraordinary image, the quintessence of motherhood. I insist that the cover should be acceptable to all, there are all the inside pages then to make the message explicit.
Congratulations on your excellent work! Saluti,
Chiara P. from Italy
- : but the choice is hard ! What a beautiful work !
- one is my favorite.
- is beautiful as they all are in their own way. You must sell books in order for this project to have any lasting effect and generate interest in Your ideas. This huge problem with the way we see ourselves crosses all race and color barriers. These fences are tall and You cannot jump them all at once. But I encourage You to focus on Your project and not allow everyone’s issues to confuse You. As artist we cannot save the world nor can we be watered down with the unending flow of people who want us to speak for them. It is our duty to color the flag of the movement. It is their duty to pick up that flag and wear it to work. What you are doing is enough for You. These books are being laid as stones for people to walk on to get across their own troubles. That is grand enough.
2—beautiful celebration of pregnancy. Not the most on-target representation for the focus of the project.
3—Feels particularly “headless” in that way I (and others) notice is so common in pictures/art of women, esp. pregnant women. I like the other photo of this woman better—showing her amazing stretch-mark pattern and just the front side of her tattoo. This one is more about the tattoo.
4—wonderful photo of breastfeeding. I don’t even notice her belly showing its history because I am focused on the gorgeous baby and the wonderful look on the mother’s face. This one would be culture-challenging as a cover also because of the breastfeeding & nipple-tweaking. Again, it doesn’t feel most representative of your project.
5—gorgeous photo of motherhood. More about the spirit than the body. Least challenging cover photo, but I don’t think it would get the project across alone.
6—my choice by far. We are not just mothers but mothers OF people. This is an in-your-face image but so beautiful and filled with emotion. I think it really represents the aim of your project and book. If you have to crop the nipple (but not the areola) it still works, though the cropping makes the right side of the photo look a bit weird. (You can’t crop that smile!) I think this is it.
- would be my choice! I love them all but #5 is my favourite for a cover.
“The woman who wrote me expressed that she thought it was too much like what is already accepted in our culture as beautiful (meaning the woman is ‘thin and young’ and white) and thought it was both un-powerful and not a good choice to convey my ‘redefining beautiful’ message.”
These statements are in opposition to one another on some level… sadly.
I can see why this young woman is concerned. She is right. However, this is “redefining beautiful” because there does not exist any photos of women covered in stretch marks in books anywhere. This woman is a warrior mama and her body tells a story. If you truly want a powerful image that attracts people and that can be left out on the coffee table… a picture that is balanced, evokes curiosity and is anonymous and therefore can be easily related to… it is picture #3. The nudity piece is a challenging one and may not reach some of the individuals. Image #3 is beautiful because your photography makes it beautiful. It is liberating for all… not just “young, white, thin” women. It is a bold statement of self love which you are looking for. The absence of children helps women of all ages relate even deeper… including those that gave up babies for adoption…
My last word of advice, Jade, is to go with your heart. You can’t please anyone and I imagine you had a pretty clear gut feeling about the cover of your book. Trust yourself as we trust you. xo
They each show a different aspect of motherhood.
Would it be possible to make a ‘medley’ of the photos as a cover?