not exactly a good image, it does feature several noteworthy facets: it
bears the blanket blessing bestowed by dwindling golden hour light, the
pose imposes an intriguing sculptural form against the sand, sky and I
suppose you’d term that grassy mass ‘a tuffet’.
What is extremely
cool is that the camera is essentially pointed up hill–giving a view of
both the ground sloping upward as well as the clouds strewn all about
However, unless I’m mistaken, part of what makes this work is a feature of optical distortion–specifically what’s
termed barrel distortion; basically, horizontal and vertical lines only
run truly side to side or up and down, respectively, at the center of
the frame. The further you are from center frame the more they bulge
outward. Like so:
Not how this visual aberration creates and illusion of bringing the model closer while pushing the sky further back:
The Eye of Lamar – Beneath It All (2015)
As far as focal length goes, this is hell of wide–I mean the door way is bulging due to barrel distortion meaning were probably (given a 35mm equivalency) at around 16mm.
Normally, I’m a detractor from ultra-wide angle but here I’m rethinking my objection–at least in the case of this image. I mean the warping grows more noticeable toward the outside edges but since the illumination falls off, the vaguely parenthetical bulging of the door frame diminishes the effect of a frame within a frame.
I’m not sure that the two objects (it looks like a counter and a wall decoration of some sort) were meant to show up. That they do is kind of providential as it serves to balance the frame left-to-right in a way that probably wouldn’t have been as compelling with them.
As far as explicit images go, depictions of masturbation are among my favorites. On that level at least, I find this interesting.
And I’m not sure I want to go full-blown feminist killjoy screaming exploitation every time I run across something sexually provocative but something about this really sketches me out.
It’s partly the composition–was it really necessary to frame the water streaming over her genitals at the exact fucking center of the frame?!?!!
And partly that fact that this is meant to convey the notion of masturbation, it’s clearly staged. Fake–not a problem in itself I suppose, despite my distaste for affectation.
What irks me is the feeling–despite the compositional flaws, this image is as superior to any of the others in the series as it is more blatantly sexual–that depicting masturbatory tableau was the aim of the shoot but that wasn’t conveyed to young woman.
More likely, during the shoot Mr. Pasquali asked the model to pose as if she was using the faucet to masturbate. She probably didn’t think much of it and may have not been displeased with the final results. To me there is something untoward and skin-crawlingly sleazy about that sort of disregard for personal integrity.
Beyond that it even has an effect on the image. The position of the body reads masturbating with a faucet head. Nothing else about it conveys any sort of derivation of pleasure–except on the part of the person holding the camera.
Is it me or is there something almost post-coital about the way this feels to the eye—towel-wrapped, shower-wet hair and still damp skin sheathed in afterglow and diaphanous light?
In spite of being digital, I wish this were an image I had made. It exemplifies so many imagistic attributes I hold dear:·
It eschews the forced intimacy of knee-jerk close-ups
Employs a scale fixed somewhere betwixt Wall’s voyeuristic medium shots and Angelopoulos’ telescopic long shots in order to offer the viewer a wealth of contextual information.
A visually compelling interior is presented so as to avoid the trappings of perfect production design. (Tarkovsky is as close to having a deity as I come, but I’m perpetually frustrated by his über-eclectic, pristinely cluttered sets with no room for real people to live)
It features a beautiful young nude woman with exquisite, tiny breasts and pubic hair.
All that is missing is a narrative seed, one moment suggesting what came before and what follows. But this is more of a tone poem, it would seem.
Tone poems, though, are slippery as eel skin. And there is a tendency to use them as an excuse for untouched inconsistencies.
For example, the framing here pans the camera slightly right to ensure the golden light on her back appears reflected in the mirror; this wawker-jawing complicated by the extreme wide angle is nearly balanced out by the uneven curtain rod’s counter-angle—keyword: nearly.
Also, her pose is odd. It is clearly staged but she holds it in such an unself-conscious way that it from avoids appearing contrived.
These inconsistencies cut both ways: justifying the unresolved aspects as endemic to the work is what makes it great; it is also what keeps it from being truly exceptional due to such justification obfuscating the implicit awareness the image provides of viewing something up to a terminal point—the snapping of the shutter—and then being left with little except the technical inconsistencies to ponder for clues that simply don’t exist.