Why is there so often an direct relationship between sleek, high-production value and imagistic vapidity?

I mean, this image looks stunning. The color is controlled, Albers-esque. The light is just so—morning golden hour most likely, with just enough a kiss from the flash to provide a slightly unearthly skin tone.

But what is this photo trying to convey? All there is to go on is a naked woman with her back facing the camera, her legs crossed in a very contrived pose and the washed out and muddy track on which she stands has stained the bottom of her feet—somehow impossibly also visible.

As with 90% of all instances of vertical framing, nothing is added by this decision—except to make the woman appear taller.

This does succeed but recasts the image as a fashion image that is not selling fashion; sells an aesthetic instead. I suppose that’s fine but without something behind that aesthetic, it is all rather empty.

A better way to criticize this image is to imagine it framed horizontally. (Go ahead and keep the contrived posture.) How does her position in the environment change the questions you ask of the image?

For me, with a horizontal frame the questions I ask generally becomes less about what I think of her and her situation and more wondering what she thinks about herself and her situation.

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