Sanders McNewFinancial Services, Minnesota (2009)

If you wish to shoot deliberately, to front only the essential facts of image making, and see if you can learn what it has to teach then go out into the landscape, I say. Take your square format, studio portraits and milky white backgrounds and shove them up your ass.

Except… well, sometimes I’m wrong and it’s a rare image that can not only make me admit I’m wrong but that makes me completely rethink my objections.

The focus here is on Brooke Lynne–she’s either trying on a new pair of glasses or nervously adjusting the pair she’s worn for months. There’s something both hyper posed and yet off-balance to it.

A milky white background typical decontextualizes the model emphasizing physicality. But although the backdrop certainly accentuates the shape of her body, the lighting and the simultaneous stylization and awkwardness of her posture emphasize shift attention to her gesture.

In most portraiture work in this style, I always feel as if the decontextualization is an effort to isolate the model; an invitation to objectify her.

This feels quite the opposite. LEss that there is no background than any background complicates matters unnecessarily.

In fact, browsing McNew’s Flickr leaves my head spinning at just how diverse a body of work given reasonably limited operating parameters.

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