Learning how to lust

by Stefan Fletcher November. 12, 2014 1863 views

Another in my vitrine series, but I want to explain the reasoning. The colour image is the original, but what’s important to me is not how different the original is from the finished image, but the thought processes that led to it.

The model had had some self-image issues. (She had lost much weight prior to this capture.) What she wanted was images that put her considerable assets on show. Her actual words were: “je veux faire bander” (I want to give a hard-on).

I don’t do soft porn. Eroticism (visual and literary) never delivers on its promise in my opinion. I made a concession in having her pull down her bikini bottom a bit, but I was mostly interested in the different skin tones. They come out better in colour, although the grey of her bikini rather defeats that purpose.

I was intrigued by that wide, very feminine waist and that deep skin colour and texture. So I cropped everything else out and gave it a warm mono treatment. Men are biologically programmed to respond to wide hips. Maybe it’s a fertility thing; just look at the Venus of Willendorf. I also made a point of making the dividing line between the waist and the background rather hard to define on the right-hand side (which contrasts rather well, I think, with the left-hand side and the curve of her upper thighs). You have to want to make out this woman’s shape - perhaps by a caress - to appreciate it.

I used dodging and burning techniques to sculpt the shadows, something I learnt photographing statues in Greece. I dislike tattoos, so that was wiped out. I also dislike piercings, but this one provides an interesting contrast that leads rather intriguingly to the image’s optical centre: the centre of most men’s attention.

Problems: should the hand have been tucked inside the bikini? Too coy in my opinion. The forearm makes it hard to imagine the continuity of her waist on our left. For some reason the hand is now slightly out of focus and there’s a tattoo under her thumb I forgot to remove. In retrospect, I should have either emphasised the tan line or burnt it out (the latter option is rather hard to do convincingly). The hand and forearm are necessary, but poorly positioned.

There is a PB member who regularly massacres his female models in a ham-fisted attempt at “charm” photography (I wonder whether he actually likes women). In what I hope is a complete contrast, I took an uninteresting capture and tried to bring out subtly what makes my clock tick (note the “L” in ‘clock’, please). But I can’t afford to cast stones because my client (the model) didn’t like the end result anyway. Oh well…

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Jorge Moro 6 years, 6 months ago

The first one is perfect -- the tones, the texture of her skin. I love it.

6 years, 6 months ago Edited
Deianeira (Deia) Zukowski 6 years, 7 months ago

This was a great read. I really appreciate being able to see the original image compared with your edit. I think the edit is fabulous. Cropped just right in my opinion. I don't take much issue with the hand placement on the left as my mind sort of fills in the gap on how that particular curve works anyway. What really gets me is the tonal contrast you have going on here...the description you give of the right side versus the left makes your intent obvious and you were certainly successful on that count.. I can only hope that one day I'll be nearly as good at doing a monochrome edit.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Veronica Wolska 6 years, 7 months ago

looks like you removed half of that tattoo - or my eyes fail me.
I like the first image. her skin seems wonderful to touch.
what makes the image look photoshoped is how her hip looks bigger above her forearm. like one of those images of a spoon in a glass of water.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Kara Bana 6 years, 7 months ago

Why wouldn't she like the result? You've edited it in a flattering way, it's sensual. I'm sure you've provided her full body shots as well, this one was just to improve upon/focus in on the most visually appealing part of her which is not her facial expression in this case, and which she likely didn't mean for you to capture.
The way she's placed her hand is in a covering protective way. Not relaxed, very posed. If it was inside her bottoms, that'd be getting into another type of image. Oh hey, I think I just answered my question! Perhaps that's what she wanted? She did say she wanted to give viewers a hard-on. Yes!

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Anna 6 years, 7 months ago

I really liked the edited image, although having now read the other comments I can see what DancingDolphin means about the line of her hip looking odd because of where her hand sits.
Did the model say any more about what she disliked about it? I think taking portraits for people must be really difficult, because generally they will be looking for a picture that shows them as they perceive themselves to look (or a better version of this), rather than how they actually look. I can see why you chose to remove her tattoo from an artistic point of view, but she has chosen to have the tattoo, so I don't think I would have edited out what is now a part of her. Also, if I asked a photographer to take a photo that made me look sexually attractive I would probably not be best pleased if most of my body was cropped out of the final image!

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Mikkal Noptek 6 years, 7 months ago

Ceux versions très différents du même modèle. Très intéressant ....

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 6 years, 7 months ago

I prefer first one - it is more mysterious.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Marilyn Grimble 6 years, 7 months ago

If your model doesn't actually like herself, and I fear she does, you don't have a chance of pleasing her.
Her body rings true, but her expression facially does not.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Kenny H 6 years, 7 months ago

I think she has a sexy look, (was she talking during the time of this shot?) but her feet positioning is kind of odd. Tugging at the edge of her bikini bottom would have been a bit cliche like you said, so i like both her hands the way they are. The top photo definitely puts me in mind of a great statue, piercing and all.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Dany 6 years, 7 months ago

Encore une autre facette de tes qualités de photographe, avec cette prise de vue et toute cette grâce à travers la pose de cette jeune femme ansi que cette sensualité qui l'accompagne sur cette photo.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Mike Meliska 6 years, 7 months ago

Nice Job.....

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Jacki 6 years, 7 months ago

I think you did some really lovely things to this shot but it misses the mark FOR ME because the "unattached" hand just floats in the foreground causing her hip line to seem weirdly wider above the arm than below. I think you were on the right track and would image it working well with just her torso (minus the hand). I'm not much of a fan of tats & piercings but they don't bother me here... they're kind of an interesting contrast to the softness.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
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