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Surfaces and Strategies – Shoot Mod3#29 – Body Shapes – “Phil”

“The central act of photography [is] the act of choosing and eliminating”.

– (Szarkowski 2012: 9)

For my shoot with Phil, I deliberately choose to frame these images so that the viewer must concentrate on the content. The images were shot against a black background to remove distractions.  This, combined with the lighting set up isolates the parts of the body so that the viewer can be clear about what is being photographed and can attune themselves to the physicality of the subject in the image. By isolating fragments of the body, I have been able to elevate what seems trivial. This is in much the same way that Coplans nude self-portraits isolated portions of his aging body.

Phil had driven from Doncaster to Cricklade to take part in my project.  I am very fortunate to have had such wonderful and generous people answer my casting call for the project. Their honesty and willingness to participate are the reason the body of work has developed.

The images encourage us to stop and stare at what they portray. Photographs afford us that privilege.  By studying the images in detail, we appreciate the layers of texture in the form.

The feet images were deliberately shot from a perspective that is unexpected.  The feet were facing towards the light, with the rest of the body unlit.  This combined with the detritus on the soles of the feet, leads the viewer to question where the feet have been and what surfaces have they walked on.  This engagement with image draws the viewer in and, whilst it may offend some, others will find this image intriguing. For some, these images may satisfy or stimulate a foot fetish.

Phil was really keen to ensure that the images we captured during the session were exactly what I was aiming for in the project. This was an enjoyable and very productive project. I am grateful to Phil for his participation.


Szarkowski, J. (2012). The photographer’s eye. New York: Museum of Modern Art.


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