Sunday, January 13, 2008

Figure Photography Views Beauty Differently.

Figure photography is not about the face, but the body. The interesting contrast between face and figure is the conceptualization of attractiveness. The camera focuses on different aspects in figure photography, obviously. Yet, in figure photography the lack of noticeable curves and the abundance of curves are equally appealing.

It is not uncommon in fashion magazines or advertisements to utilize elements of composition that focus on the figure. The focus on figure accentuates the image of the person from the neck down, rather than including the face as an essential element of the photograph. The model shown with the oversized hat shielding the majority of her head yet really featuring the full length of her body is an excellent example of figure photography. In the fashion examples, the focus on figure is less about the body than the clothes.

In many catalog magazines, figure photography is employed to demonstrate how clothing might look on a model. Some catalogs for chains of plus-size women stores have been criticized heavily for their use of lean figure advertising. Whether through accident or design, these plus-sized catalogs featured numerous pictures of size 4 or size 7 women to illustrate how clothes would look. This use of small sized figures created the image that the clothing would make any figure appear that way.

Photography offers unlimited options for portraying physical beauty. Photographic artists use figure photography to do that, but the largest proportion is devoted to fashionable subjects such as clothes, cars and other items for sale. A woman's body in a bikini draped over the hood of a car, a pair of long legs in high heels next to a razor or a wide brimmed hat fanning over a fur coat sells in the commercial world.

Interestingly enough, the lack of a face in figure photography does not seem to intend to devalue the face. The opposite is actually true, for in figure photography, the lack of a face invites the audience viewing the photograph to imagine their own face in the absence of another. The imagery invited by figure photography is much like a paper doll or a mannequin, because the viewer can envision his or her own face rather than try to compare it to another.