London, June 2013

This is a thoughtful way to present a male-bodied nude: soles of both feet exposed, clenched ass, the arching line of the spine and the his right arm covers his face; except for the heavily dangling scrotum and cut definition of trapezius and deltoid musculature, it is an androgynous-to-effeminate depiction– explicit, vulnerable and mysterious.

It reminds me of one of my favorite images from last year. (That post is worth re-reading as it covers ground I’ll be skipping this time around.)

Comparing these two images does Leonidas’ work a disservice. And although I will give him credit for shooting film (Fuji’s Superia color negative, in this case), most of the faults are a result of sloppy craft.

This is the most egregious example of #skinnyframebullshit, I’ve posted. Whereas most people deploy portrait orientation to the end of reifying the verticality of the composition–lame at best as far as justification goes, lazy at worst–the subject here is not vertical.

You can feeling it just looking at the image but to see it visualize the center vertical as a fulcrum balancing the rear leg of the chair (frame left) and the top of the boy’s head (frame right). Notice the rightward thrust. Add this to the light pooling in overexposed puddles on the floor and back wall, the lack of space between the chair and wall and the flow of the composition is decidedly right leaning. The angle of the shot is an effort to use the line where the floor meets the wall as a means of adding dimensionality but this only exacerbates the existing problems with the slant.

Landscape orientation would have made a much more dynamic composition. And while this lacks the audacity of the image of which it reminds me, it might have done a better job standing on its own.

Criticisms notwithstanding, the scarcity of images depicting male-bodied persons in a simultaneously ‘formal’ and sexually charged imagery is such a rarity, that efforts, however flawed, deserve acknowledgement.

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