Source unknown – Title unknown (20XX)

My first partner loved the show Friends.

At the time, it seemed like a fair trade off. She’d ‘suffer’ through the latest von Trier or the odd early Bresson and in return I’d hold her while she giggled at the vapid banality of Joey and Chandler. (With hindsight, I definitely got the short end of the stick, but…)

There’s this one episode where the white cis men discover that they are getting free porn via their cable provider. They think it’s a stroke of luck but as things progress they begin questioning how it effects their perception of reality. If I remember correctly, Chandler mentions how while interacting with a teller at the bank, she never offered to take him back to the vault and seduce him.

It’s a knee-jerk, made-for-sitcom parsing of the ethics of porn w/r/t gender representation. But it does suggest a point (to me at least) that I feel is worth exploring; namely: whether the frame is an edge or a boundary.

In the case of the porn that Chandler and Ross were consuming, the frame is an edge. It is separated, so much as to be cut off from reality. However, due to the non-critical consumption–this fantastical representation of a reality that is at a remove from the one either inhabit, they begin to question why their world isn’t like the one they spend the most time considering.

In other words, when you spend too long studying a world unlike the world in which you live (without keeping in mind the fact that you are watching a discrete fantasy), you begin to note discrepancies.

However, some work–and the above image definitely fits in this category–where the frame is a boundary not an edge; a broader reality exists outside the frame. There aren’t people with stock, archetypal designations acting on sets. There are reminders that there are people, places and things beyond the limited view provided to the audience.

This is cool because there’s more hinted at beyond the frame’s boundaries. There are at least 5 people in this scene. Likely six, including the person taking the picture. (And the proximity to the action of the camera person, suggests that they are a participant in the proceedings.)

I love that the one guy is wearing stockings–which note have clearly been pulled on and off enough times that their is a rip opening in the left thigh–and cowboy boots. His scrotum is clearly still irritated from being recently shaved. And the hand that is presumably tracing it’s way up the right arm of the woman eyeing the camera. It all speaks to both the immediacy and intimacy of the moment but also that it exists within the context of a broader world beyond the outer boundary of the frame.

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