Book Review: Heal This Way Written by Little Monsters Photographed by Tracey B. Wilson

20140406_094636

My daughter loves Lady Gaga.  Well, any pop music in general.  She has no clue about politics, of what Lady Gaga’s lyrics mean, of what Lady Gaga wears.  She just likes the music.  The beats, the sounds.

I, on the other hand, am fascinated with Lady Gaga.  I am vaguely aware of this “social movement” surrounding her, but other than hearing “Poker Face” nonstop on the pop station in 2009, I really don’t know much about her.  I am not a “Little Monster”.

When I was approached to review this book, I saw it as a chance to review something I haven’t before.  A photography book.  About something I know nothing about.

This book was put together when thousands of Little Monsters were together for a series of Lady Gaga concerts that were abruptly cancelled due to an injury the Mother Monster suffered.  Her fans were photographed and wrote heart-wrenching get well letters to Lady Gaga that were turned into this book.

Here is the synopsis from amazon.com:

Lady Gaga’s biggest fans share their raw emotions about coming out, bullying, thoughts of suicide, and the need for acceptance, in this inspirational new book. Quotes and letters are accompanied by stunning Little Monster portraits that invite you into the soul. This beautiful, thought provoking and often humorous book is geared to LGBTQ youth, teens yearning to fit in, and fans of pop culture. Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters will inspire you to change the world. 

 
This book is rated PG-13 for raw emotional content and liberal use of f-bombs. 
 
Experience love and acceptance. Experience Heal This Way.  
 
A portion of all profits have been pledged to charities that promote equality and positive social change.  #SpreadLove
This is a beautiful book.  Absolutely stunning.  The layout is spectacular and eclectic.  I love the variety of photos used and the variety of subjects.  Little Monsters are so creative in expressing themselves and it shows.  I was highly impressed at their outfits, their hair and makeup.

20140406_095037

Beautiful

I loved how the photographer was able to coax this part of the models out into the open.  And photograph them.  And obtain their consent for publication. You can really tell that they were comfortable posing in a way they felt was truly representative of who they are a person.  They were having fun.  they were free to be who they are.  That is a tremendous talent.

20140406_094818

 

But apparently not everyone felt comfortable after the shoot.  This page made my heart hurt:

20140406_094748

I know nothing of art books, nothing of graphic artistry,  but as a complete novice, I really liked the lay out of the book.  I liked how the pictures were set up next to each other, the ratio of full page shots to quarter page shots etc.  I like which fonts were used, when the letters were typeset versus handwritten, etc.  Here is an example:

20140406_094855

I thought that was really cool.  The colors used were vibrant and appropriate.  Not garish or tacky.  The book didn’t scream at you.  It was apt.

What was most moving of all was the letters.  The personal missives to Lady Gaga from the Little Monsters themselves detailing what she meant to them.  Now, I’m one of those that tends to roll their eyes when someone talks about a celebrity in such personal terms.  But after actually Googling Lady Gaga and reading about the work she has done on behalf of the LGBTQ community, I truly understand how she has made such an impact.

This page in particular was touching:

20140406_095105

“You taught me how to be brave and that I should not really give a shit to what others think.”

That is so hard to do.  We are so conditioned to contain things, to hide things, to conform to what society perceives as “normal”.  To not rock the boat.

Even in my limited time on this planet, it is refreshing to see some of these sentiments changing.  To see that people are becoming more accepting.  To see a book like this being published.  To see that people aren’t scared to dress the way they want, to be photographed in this manner, telling their stories.  I can tell you that when I was in high school, so long ago (I graduated in 2000), people were still terrified of coming out.

This book is important.  Thank you to the brave Little Monsters who shared their stories and themselves and to Tracey B. Wilson for photographing them and putting the book together.  And for generously sharing the book with me.

Advertisements

Tell me what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: