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WARNING:This is a planning page. The first few photos for this project are beginning to be uploaded, but project parameters may change as details settle down. Watch this space.

Project Category: Category:Body_morphology_project


This project is a Body Acceptance project in that the ultimate goal is to allow folks to be more comfortable in their skins by seeing pictures of other bodies. People may get more comfortable knowing they're not alone, or knowing that one person's doctor may consider a certain body type/size/shape as obese, while another might consider the same body normal. The possibilities are endless!

The mission is to catalogue as many torsos as possible from as many willing people as possible. Get their permissions (repository held offline by various photographers who contribute to the project) to take photographs and publish them here (Wikimedia Commons) for use as models to illustrate various medical conditions (if any), to show the range of body types and morphologies for phenotypically male, female, transsexual and other kinds of humans.

The idea is to level the playing field. Currently most standardized illustrations are collected and published for specific medical/scientific reasons. Those collections may be biased in subtle or unsubtle ways to try to underscore the agendas of the researchers creating the collections.

Also, unless we pay close attention to others' bodies (something many of our societies and cultures discourage), we may miss that aspects of our normal physiology that we are ashamed of or told to be ashamed of are actually pretty normal. We just don't know the possibilities until we have pictures of bodies we can use to compare and contrast.

Please note: This project is not primarily an end-product project, but a meta-project. The primary purpose of this (hopefully growing) set of data is that it will be used by other parties toward ends that are related to education about body type and appearance, as well as possibly what a normal cross-section of the population looks like from the point of view of normalcy and of particular medical conditions. This project does not seek to control those uses at all, just seeks to provide data toward that end.

The Project So Far[edit]

You can check on the contributions to the project at any time by either looking at the category or the photo set index page. Until the project gets very large, this should give you a quick visual indication of how many models/photo sets are indexed at any given time.

If you wish to volunteer to the project to help folks contribute photo sets or to help run the project, please list yourself on the volunteer page.


We'll take all comers here. The most stringent requirements are:

  • Your model be willing to participate - we let you (the photographer/uploader) deal with that by letting you administer your own model releases.
  • You (the photographer) are willing to license the photographs so they're suitable for use on the Wikimedia Commons - photographs must be licensed according to Commons guidelines if they are to remain in this repository.

Photographs uploaded to the Commons must be licensed appropriately if they are to stay in the Commons. A frequent license combination used on the Wikimedia Commons is the GNU Free Documentation License along with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike deed. If you'd rather choose some other license/combination license, please see the guideline page at Commons:Licensing for further information.

Remember, the only photos that can be used/indexed here are ones that are properly licensed. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions possible.

Easy way - take pictures, license them and give them to a project participant to upload and index[edit]

If you'd like to contribute to the project but are uncomfortable about or unable to do so by using the Commons directly, you may e-mail the appropriately licensed pictures (you will need to specifically state the license in the e-mail) to a project maintainer (currently only malcolm DOT gin AT gmail DOT com) with the additional data we ask you to collect and have the maintainer upload and index the photos to the Commons. Be aware that the e-mail you use to send the photos may be forwarded to the organization that tracks licenses at the Wikimedia Foundation. This is so that the Wikimedia Foundation has sufficient legal reassurances that it's okay to use the pictures you provided.

Suggested e-mail text should go something like this (parentheses are generally the optional/fill in pieces):

Dear (Project Maintainer),
Please find attached photographs intended for the Body Morphology Project on the Wikimedia Commons (
As photographer, I certify that I am keeping relevant model release forms in my files, and I hereby license these photographs under the GNU Free Documentation License ( and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike deed (, with the expectation that they will be uploaded the the Wikimedia Commons and, in whole or in part, used in the Body Morphology Project.
The subject of this photographic set has supplied the following information about (himself/herself/hirself):
Age: (model's age)
Sex: (model's biological sex - male, female, intersex, etc.)
Gender: (model's gender - man, woman, transgendered, etc.)
Height: (model's approximate height)
Weight: (model's approximate weight)
Notes: (any notes model provided about appearance-related medical conditions, etc.)
Additionally, the subject has requested the following changes be made to the photographs before upload:
(Blur out/black out face)
(Blur out birthmarks, hairstyle, tattoos or other identifying marks on body/skin)
(Remove identifying visual cues of location)
(Remove identifying visual cues of brands of clothing)
(Remove any additional EXIF or embedded digital photo information)
(Any other modification within reason that I shall specify here)
(Your Name)

Hard way - upload and incorporate though your own efforts[edit]

If you are comfortable with using the Commons for uploading photographs, templates for using metadata, and adding content to Mediawiki articles, feel free to follow the instructions below to directly contribute your photographs and index them according to the project's standards.


For each subject, secure:

  • Permission to publish their pictures taken on Wikimedia Commons, with the understanding that the version(s) provided here can be used for any purpose (see a primer on model releases for an idea of why this is a good idea)
  • An idea of conditions of release (i.e. many subjects may want their faces blurred or blacked out and this approach is recommended.)
  • Subject's height, age, sex (i.e. male, female, intersex, etc.), gender (i.e. man, woman. transgender, etc.) and weight to within the nearest 5 or 10 (cm, years, kg)
  • A list of relevant medical conditions (to body type, appearance, etc.) the subject wants to share
  • Subject's name is emphatically not required, except for in your private records (i.e. filed model releases). In general, don't publish the subject's name here

Sample Model Release[edit]

You can find sample text for a potential model release here. It is suggested you adapt it to your own needs, and also suggested that you have it legally reviewed if you have any legal concerns.


Take the following photos against a neutral background if possible, with arms relaxed at sides:

  • (pos01) Full front, fully clothed (with a single layer cotton T-shirt, or at most two layers of thin clothing on upper body), whole body.
  • (pos02) Profile, fully clothed (as above), whole body.
  • (pos03) Full front, torso unclothed, whole body.
  • (pos04) Profile, torso unclothed, whole body.
  • (pos05) Full front, fully clothed (as above), torso.
  • (pos06) Profile, fully clothed (as above), torso.
  • (pos07) Full front, torso unclothed, torso.
  • (pos08) Profile, torso unclothed, torso.
  • (pos09) Full front, torso unclothed, chest area. (i.e. closeup)
  • (pos10) Profile, torso unclothed, chest area. (i.e. closeup)

Additional positions[edit]

  • (posA01) Full front, torso unclothed, chest area, arms raised above head.
  • (posA02) Profile, torso unclothed, chest area, arms raised above head.
  • (posA03) Full front, torso unclothed, chest area, hands on hips.
  • (posA04) Profile, torso unclothed, chest area, hands on hips.
  • (posA05) Subject facing 45 degrees away from camera, to left, torso unclothed, chest area, arms relaxed at sides.
  • (posA06) Subject facing 45 degrees away from camera, to right torso unclothed, chest area, arms relaxed at sides.

  • (posB02) Profile, fully clothed, whole body, other direction (from first series - pos02, pos04, etc.).
  • (posB04) Profile, torso unclothed, whole body, other direction (from first series - pos02, pos04, etc.).
  • (posB06) Profile, fully clothed, torso, other direction (from first series - pos02, pos04, etc.).
  • (posB08) Profile, torso unclothed, torso, other direction (from first series - pos02, pos04, etc.).
  • (posB10) Profile, torso unclothed, chest area. (i.e. closeup), other direction (from first series - pos02, pos04, etc.).
  • (posB11) Back, fully clothed, whole body.
  • (posB12) Back, torso unclothed, whole body.
  • (posB13) Back, fully clothed, torso only.
  • (posB14) Back, torso unclothed, torso only.
  • (posB15) Back, torso unclothed, chest area only.

Upload Procedure[edit]

For each photo of the subject:

  • File the model release. Assign the release a serial number. Use that number for further references to the model.
  • Name according to this scheme:
    bodymorphproj_<your initials or commons username>_mod<model S/N>_<year&gt<month><day>_<pos code>.jpg
  • Upload to Wikimedia Commons with as liberal a license package as possible (CC-by-SA 2.5, GFDL & copyleft recommended)
  • Add appropriate template to ID the photo summary as part of the project and fill out the correct metadata.
  • Let me know about the set so I can help index it on a page (which I'll create as soon as there's more than one set of photos) - probably a page here on the Commons.

Template for photo uploads[edit]

The template you should use is {{Details-bodymorphproj}}. Please see the template itself for documentation/usage notes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)[edit]

Q: If I anticipate changes in my body, should I plan to overwrite my images or plan to submit new images/a new photo set later when my body changes?
A: We believe that the aim of the project, being one of presenting a large swath of different kinds of bodies and body types, benefits from having many sets over time from the same person as long as some change in the metadata or your body shape is evident. Just submit another set of photos of yourself when you change, if you like, and make changes to your metadata (from the previous set) in the new set of photos.
Q: I thought this was the Male Body Morphology Project, but now it looks like you're taking all body types. What gives?
A: We started getting volunteers from other sexes, including folks from the transsexual and transgender (and other) populations who were interested in participating. In the spirit of inclusivity, it makes sense. Males/men can still participate, but so can others, and researchers or others who use the data/photos can just choose whatever subsets they want to choose for their own purposes. Everybody's happy!
Q: If my model volunteers a sex or gender that seems incongruent to his/her/eir/zir actual self, should I object or change it myself to what I consider more true or accurate?
A: Absolutely not. It's most ethical and least awkward to let your model self-label and self-identify. Allow for non-standard identifications. They're perfectly okay with us. Folks who are using these photos for their own purposes can either make their own interpretations based on visual cues or can drop those photosets out of the overall data they use if they find the data inappropriate.