Saturday, 2 April 2011

PnP Exercise 8: Varying Pose (ii) Lying on a bed

As with part (i) I’m the subject for this exercise – all the shots were in a single sitting, and I used a book as a prop because lying on a bed staring at the pillow looked unnatural. As before all shots were taken with bounced on-camera flash.

The first three variations of the basic pose are here:

Face down, reading  Face down, legs curled Reading, legs crossed

The first pose looks reasonably natural, and is one I sometimes adopt when reading in hotel rooms, whereas the second looks, to me at least, a little odd from the angle used. It also felt a little uncomfortable, although it is quite a common pose in magazines to indicate relaxation, where it is more sometimes used head-on with just the feet showing above the head.

The third pose is perhaps the most natural looking. The crossed legs look less ‘arranged’ than the first shot, and the higher body position appears more natural for reading.

A quite different impression is given if the book is removed and the head is also lying on the bed.

Drunk and Disorderly

The dishevelled clothing, the limp arm over the side of the bed and the splayed legs clearly convey exhaustion or, less flatteringly, drunkenness. This is another classic example of how a photo can be used to communicate an agenda, or convey a message different from reality. If this were the only shot someone had of me it is likely they would reach a different conclusion about me than if the following were the only shot they had.

Reading, half-twisted

This is by far the most natural looking and most pleasing shot of this series. The slight rotation to half lying on my side and the head propped on one elbow is clearly comfortable, and I am ‘clearly’ engrossed in the book.

All of the above shots lack eye contact, which makes them appear – given that this is clearly a private room – somewhat voyeuristic. Eye contact removes this sense at a stroke:


In this shot I a clearly aware of being photographed – perhaps even a willing participant. The absence of any other prop suggests that I may just have woken from a nap, but a similar sense of engagement with the photographer would have been achieved if the book had still been in place.

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