a la moda (?)

By: Gustav Hoiland

Mar 26 2010

Category: ocean travel, self portrait

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Focal Length:18mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Self on the Seas

“A la moda” may or may not mean “fashion,” though I’m not entirely sure. Talked about it with a most lovely Spaniard today whilst overlooking the Boston harbor. Something about this image just screams fashion though. While I’m not dressed particularly crazily, it’s much more the overall look/mood created by the image, which I’ll get to in a second. Maybe the biggest thing is just the instant attraction I have to the image/that innate “jeez that’s nice” I get in the first couple seconds of pouring over it. It’ll take a bit longer to really figure out what’s being seen, but it has that upfront punch.

So what is going on, say compositionally?  There’s a big bold red square, a figure on the right, a growing red stripe at the bottom, and some more delicate white-on-white lines sprinkled throughout.  I think the box takes first glance, since you rarely look to the very edge of a frame first.  Man Right (okay ME) is the second point of interest.  The rest of the details aren’t much more than pretty filler I think.

So the overall simplicity of color is one big part of it, largely due to the large swaths of emptiness. It’s definitely warmed up, in that the whites are more cream and the skin tone is definitely tan (probably tanner than I was at the time). There’s a bold red box and all of the shadows have a subtle redness to them. The blue jeans are essentially blacked out.  The shirt has some great green in it, the only real color that is different from the warmness of FIRE HOSE BOX and gus-flesh.

The pose itself is also working quite well for me. It’s definitely a pose, no ambiguity there. The head is cocked at just about the same angle as the forearm and the leg seen here on the right. I’ll admit I just noticed this connection now, but I think it probably has something to do with the appeal of the pose. Posing has not traditionally been my strong point, as I figured out during my time modeling on a photo shoot. They said “you know, just… just look cool.” To which I was all. …  . . . .. ok got it … ? As much as people gripe over models, there’s definitely some talent needed there for any level of consistency.

Finally, for those interested in the subtleties of the figure, CLICK HERE for the full resolution image.  The ruffled hair. The perhaps disdainful expression. The details of the shirt I guess.

In closing, I love shots like this.

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