Laurent BenaimTitle Unknown (20XX)

This is an ambitious photo. Nine people–five men, two women and two others of indeterminate gender beyond the frame edge boundary–focused on pleasing one woman.

There are two prominent compositional strategies working here:

First, the image can essentially be divided along a diagonal axis (lower left to upper right); this renders a dark side (upper left) and light side (lower right); within this there is, of course, a sort of yin and yang where light portions in the dark half and vice versa more or less balance each other out.

Second, since any three non-co-linear points can form a vertices of a triangle, heads–and to a lesser extent limbs–imply suggested re-framings.

You’ll note that these implicit triangles favor directing the viewers gaze to what’s happening between her legs as opposed to emphasizing the expression on her face–which appears strangely resigned to the proceedings.

I almost want to give credit for effort seeing as how within this triangulation there is a calculated inversion of the light and dark that over-arches the composition–the dark hair vs bright faces and how this shuttles the gaze around the photo.

However, the angular dynamics are undercut by the fact that the frame is essentially centered on the woman’s crotch. (A slightly wider angle of view or a shift in frame that centered on either the woman kissing her left thigh or her right knee would make this more logical consistent.)

Yet, despite the fact that looking at this too long makes my pubococcygeus muscle clench because of the visual overstimulation, I do really like that fact that although this is explicit, it isn’t graphic; there is no visible private bits.

And I do really love the way the woman in the upper half of the frame has latched onto the main woman’s nipple while just to her left someone out of frame has the main woman’s wrist pinned to the floor.

Source Unknown

The composition here is certainly not The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp; but at least it’s thoughtful enough to present a legible staging: 16 seemingly male-bodied persons in 4 groups–3 threesomes & 2 couplings.

There are:

  • 4 instances of fellatio
  • 2 handjobs
  • 1 soixante-neuf situation, and
  • 1 occasion of anal penetration.

It is unclear what the gent whose stroked erection marks the center of the frame is doing with his hands between his two attendants legs. (Cradling their testicles? Fingering their asses?)

And I can’t help thinking that the photographer must have had some decent art historical chops due to the pose of the fellow who is licking the reclining gent in the white shirt’s scrotum, is too much like Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus to be accidental.

Further this isn’t the worst example of the whole proximity/participation thing I am always kvetching about w/r/t close-ups.

Yes, the camera hung back to front load explicit content into the frame. But that’s probably less due to an aesthetic concern than a a necessity borne of limitation– i.e. scarcity of equipment/skill required for its operation.

Take a minute to consider each of the 4 groups independent of the others–again the composition makes this fairly easy to accomplish. What would close-up really add? Reducing the totality to a metonymy of explicit action. Does that add anything? Does seeing the sheen of saliva on an stiff cock bestow some kind of hyper-real synesthetic sensory stimuli?

Whereas in a wider shot bodies not only move in relation to each other, they retain evidence of being ground in their particular form of life.