Cover Image: Tough Pleasures

Tough Pleasures

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Member Reviews

This is a strange book, but art books usually are. It’s a series of photos of Australian women and girls with food, like holding a pile of spaghetti in their hands or cradling a red onion. One of the words in the description was “absurd” and it definitely goes there a lot. An essay at the start gives a lot more context and helped me understand the photos a lot more and know what to look for in finding more meanings. It’s hard to rate art as it’s so subjective. The photos didn’t speak to me that much but I don’t dispute the creativity and vision of the photographer. It’s a weird (in a good way) and thought provoking book!

I read a temporary digital copy of this book via NetGalley.

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Visually stunning. Impressive direction and narratives. Would love to have a physical copy as a coffee table book.

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Loved this book! I'm so glad this is something that we are finally talking about and dealing with in mainstream media. I can't wait to purchase this book when it comes out.

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I LOVED THIS BOOK! This is a conversation I have all the time, and I loved reading about this. The author is able to capture the problem a little more eloquently than I ever could.

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Tough Pleasures by Toni Wilkinson - a spoiler-free review.

A collection of photographs by Toni Wilkinson and an essay by Curator Susan Bright, exploring topics related to food, consumption, feminism, sexuality, gender. Each photo shows a different woman/girl with some sort of food.

Gender and food - this is not something I have given much thought to before now, but this book encourages readers to think about the complex way food, dieting, cooking and consumption is associated with sexuality, gender, desirability and femininity.

The photographs are genuinely intriguing and a pleasure to look at. The essay by Susan Bright was great because it explained so many things in the photographs that may not be noticed by everyone! The photographs can be looked at in the same way as paintings, not only are they beautiful but they contain symbols and references to mythology, history, fairytales… I am glad the essay is part of the book or else I feel like I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the thought that went into these photos. I loved the comparison between these photos and great paintings such as The Mona Lisa - although they both have women as their subjects, these photos do not have a male artist who will overshadow the subject.

This book doesn’t tell you what to think - it prompts thought and reflection. Anyone who enjoys imagining other people’s lives and people watching would love this book.

This book is set to be published in April 2023. Thanks to NetGalley for access to a copy of the E-book.

3.5 stars rounded to 4

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pretty weird but also pretty cool. enjoyed the colour palette and the message. not sure why it's labelled LGBTQ+ on netgalley though.

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I really enjoyed this experience, as that’s what it was more than reading or looking at photography, each picture is a different story, one of women’s relationships with food, one controlled by society, media, the food and diet industry, patriarchy etc it’s powerful stuff and like any art you’ll connect with some photographs more than others, everyone will be different based on their own life experience and connections with food too. This is my first experience with Dr Toni Wilkinsons art/photography, but I’ll be looking into her more and definitely purchasing this when it’s out, beautiful and full of impact

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher/author for a free copy of this in return for an honest opinion

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I've never had the luxury of getting to experience an advanced version of a photo essay book before, and I can say that Tough Pleasures was quite the treat for me! Some of the shoots were specifically stylized to meet the general color theme of the photo. Still, others felt more spontaneous, and I feel those were the ones I united with individually. I think this project speaks a world of difference as to what it means to be a woman targeted by the food and beverage world where we are put on this pedestal to eat this, but not that, and be this size, and don't gain weight, and be the pretty little cookie cutter princesses that society wants us to be and that's utter bullshit.

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