John LorenziniTrish (2014)

This is an effing goddamn gorgeous image–which is something coming from me given that my default seeting with regards to studio work is best labeled: ‘intense antipathy’.

From the stand point of scale, it’s interesting that the distance between the tip of her toes and the baseboard is identical to the distance between the top of her head and the top frame edge. (Further, I suspect those echoed distances can be subdivided into three equal parts which are the same height as the space between the lower frame edge and the tips of her toes.

The way the one point perspective of the floor boards recedes drawing your eye toward the woman and then having the beautiful gray background blossom in variegated light is an extremely effective compositional flourish. (Also, the light in most of his other work seems to fall at a very contrived 35-40 degree downward slant. It’s doing the same here but the light is broken up, inconsistent and thus appears more natural.)

That Trish is not acknowledging the camera seems to be a nod towards and awareness of the highly problematic art historical ‘male gaze’. However, there’s some downright maddening inconsistencies with regard to acknowledging the camera/not acknowledging the camera across the work that suggests less underlying subversion and more edits made to foster a personal aesthetic.

And even though I love this image and super wish that I’d shot it, I do have to take the image maker to task–rather pointedly–on two fronts. First, given solely this image, I wouldn’t be inclined to call #skinnyframebullshit. Unfortunately, considering the rest of the work, yeah, it’s used as a means of hyper-stylization. Which is fine but use it consistently. Things get in a muddle when the seemingly suggested strictures governing the use are abandoned for seemingly no reason or rigidly followed to the diminishment of visual effect.

My second objection has to do with the impetus for nudity in this image. I don’t think, for example, that this work is nearly as vapid and frivolous as this image–which features superior lighting but is otherwise vapid and positively seethes pushy/sleazy heteronormative suggestion. Alternately, consider this image which features garbage lighting design and asinine composition but actually conveys a logic behind the nudity it is exhibiting (note: the discarded top and knickers on the arm of the couch and on the floor near the edge of the frame; also, the acknowledgement of the camera)–in this case a semi-coy I want you to see me naked (which is entirely valid but does require a certain responsibility on the part of the image maker to address the legacy of white, cis-male heteronormative entitlement).

Lorenzini’s image is exceptional except there’s no context for her to be seen nude–sell the studying figure and form BS elsewhere, we’re full up here–other than to be seen nude. Thus, although it’s good natured and probably entirely well-intentioned, this image–while extremely aesthetically pleasing and technically prescient, is unfortunately at it’s most basic level: an exercise in objectification.

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