Body Language

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The latest collection from contemporary photography source Stone (formerly Tony Stone) brings body art to a new level. The more than 1,800 photographs in the lush, crimson-covered book called Meet Me explore the human form and the range of ideas that it communicates. Broken up into such sections as Tender, Restless, Desire, and Sore, Meet Me is loaded with pictures that are as sensual as they are provoking. There's an eyeful of rippled muscles, contorted limbs, and passionate embraces, but other images flesh the subject out even further: a cross-dresser's crotch through nude hose; infants suckling breasts; even the tagged toe of a morgue victim. "Ideas about the body are very fluid now," says Lewis Blackwell, VP-brand and creative direction at Getty Images, parent company of Stone, "and there are few things more profound than what you do with your body and how you connect with other people."

The diverse imagery in the book (also viewable at tonystone.com) addresses the varying levels of risk that advertisers in different markets and cultures are willing to take, Blackwell notes. Moreover, the variety of techniques and treatments - from ambient, low-lit shots, to digital manipulations and stark, highly detailed closeups - helps to underscore the reasons why Stone makes a point of not billing itself as a stock house.

"Stock is usually associated with a pile of stuff that was shot off the cuff, but this really isn't how we work," explains Blackwell. For each new collection, Stone employs its own research division to pinpoint upcoming trends in the industry. Blackwell and his art directors then work closely with photographers to capture those ideas on film.

When the book was being developed, its working title was The Body, but the Meet Me moniker emerged as the creative team realized it wanted the pictures to speak to its audience as intimately as bodies do with each other. "We're looking for the pictures to connect with people," says Blackwell. "The body is the way we meet each other - the ultimate connection point."

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