5 pieces of body positive wisdom from i-D founder terry jones

Making an appearance in new documentary 'No Body’s Perfect,' Terry joins photographer Rankin for a chat about diversity, expression, and the genuine beauty of individuality.

by Matthew Whitehouse
21 November 2016, 3:56pm

"We live in a world awash with images," says artist Alison Lapper in the introduction to No Body's Perfect, a brand new documentary exploring how photography and social media have affected people's sense of identity. Co-presented by photographer Rankin, the show explores how, in the digital deluge that is life in 2016, an increasing number of images are bringing us self-doubt. "Images of beautiful people, living perfect lives," says Alison. Little wonder anxiety is so widespread.

Of course, the camera doesn't always have to enslave and if there's one person who knows a thing or two about exploring the genuine beauty of individuality it is i-D founder Terry Jones. A pioneer of diversity for the last five decades, Terry has made a career of tackling contemporary attitudes to image and identity, tying it together with the belief that a smile and a wink gets you further than you think. "Seeing beauty in every face made visual guru Terry Jones a revolutionary," says Rankin by means of introduction. If you can't watch it for yourself, here are five pieces of wisdom you need to know.

At 27, Terry became one of the most influential art directors in the world when he took over at British Vogue: "The issues before I was there, the model was like a mantelpiece ornament. Like a decorative object. And I was much interested in treating people as people."

In 1980, he created i-D magazine which celebrated youth, style, and real faces: "The role of Vogue was to produce a world that was hardly attainable. With i-D, what we tried to do was produce something that was attainable and part of your life, but it was still extraordinary."

He believed people looked brilliant the way they were: "If they can express themselves, everyone has that beauty."

Diversity was always important: "Making yourself different rather than the same."

And he still finds beauty in imperfection: "I always like the imperfect image because a perfect image always looks so boring. You're looking for something that has that kind of energy and has that kind of truth."

No Body's Perfect with Rankin and Alison Lapper is on BBC iPlayer now. 


Text Matthew Whitehouse
Image via BBC iPlayer

terry jones
Body Positive
no body's perfect