Daniel RampullaKa’imina’auno (2014)

I’m on the fence regarding whether or not this is #skinnyframebullshit. The upward thrust of the elbow and the downward pull of the arm in tandem with the strong high-to-low angle of the light certainly establishes a dynamic tension.

I’d give it a pass except for the fact that I think the primary consideration in choosing vertical orientation was as a means of isolating the subject against the improvised background–which appears to be a flannel sheet. Therefore I’m inclined to think the composition echoes the subject out of necessity more than consideration toward a unified reading by the viewer. Namely, I can’t tell if the figure is supposed to be lonely–in which case a wider, empty frame would’ve communicated that point better as in this claustrophobic frame there is a way in which the scant distance between the subject and the background, the light and muscle definition appear tangled up in some notion of physical proximity and embrace. It’s not that it doesn’t work with the image, it’s just that it muddles things given the statue-esque icon insistence of the given perspective.

All things being equal though, I do like this. I feel like there are strong parallels with Patrick Gomme’s work–something I very much want to like but for which I suffer a greater and opposite distaste. (It’s not that Gomme is insincere, so much as the aestheticization of insincerity seems to be the point of the exercise.)

By constract, Rampulla is entirely earnest–maybe even clumsily so.

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