Tangled in Fashion

By: Gustav Hoiland

Apr 14 2010

Category: fashion, portrait

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Focal Length:38mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Beyond the Glamor Shot

So I continue to mine this weekend’s shoot for posts. What can I say, got some great results. I chose this particular photo because I think it goes beyond the glamor shot, which I’ll loosely define as the typical senior picture, or person looking their best (though usually in some unsettlingly unreal way/some separation from day to day life & appearance). She’s still the focus of the photo, but there’s much more than a pretty face going on here.

To start, she’s perhaps only about 1/4 of the photo. Since we can’t see every pore, as in many full blown portraits, she’s less of the focus here/we spend less time sinking into her features (especially the eyes). But, the good thing is, her figure interacts very nicely with the rest of what we’ve got going on. There’s a connection between her and the rest of the frame, and though she is placing her hands on the branches, I think it’s a much more interesting connection than the usual cheesy girl hugging tree in forest senior photo.

Her shoulders are the only thing about her that’s really balanced/uniform here. They’re perfectly square with the lens. Her hips are ever so slightly turned, her head tilted and turned, one foot placed in front of the other, etc… in short, the rest of her is not symmetric and straight. Which leads us into the wildness of the branches and the trunk itself. Not a single straight line is to be found in any of them. They’re an untamed mess of competitors in search of sunlight.

The coolest part of the image is definitely the depth created by the branches coming right at you. There’s a very dramatic feel to’em. It’s like an octopus is grabbing out at the lens, encompassing your peripheral vision in a frenzied blur. But within all this madness is the stillness of the girl. The delicate clothes hanging peacefully, the hands casually placed on the beast.

Concerning the reading of the photo, I think the first point of contact is, like usual, the eyes. It’s unavoidable. From there however, I read the image bottom to top. My attention is taken by the closest branch, which reaches into the right bottom corner. By following that line, the eyes slowly raise up in the frame. Once they reach the left side of the frame, they follow the lines back towards the center, landing on her hand. From there it’s a straight shot upward, passing the necklace, back to the unwavering gaze.

The question is, could the background on the right as well as everything in the top quarter of the frame be used more effectively? Both areas are pretty uninteresting. Perhaps that’s needed though. A dull plane of grass makes the branches seem that much more frantic.

Ahhhh, fashion.

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