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Form

Form is most readily captured using a largely abstract approach to the nude. Instead of portraying the model as an unique personality, the aim is to create abstract but recognizable images composed almost exclusively of texture and graceful curves. This can be achieved by working close to the model with a short telephoto lens, and concentrating on the clean and supple natural lines of a particular part of the body. The face and identity of the model are normally excluded from the frame to enhance the depersonalized and abstract nature of the image. This also removes any possibility of the image becoming unnecessarily erotic as a consequence of facial expression.

Choose a slim model with graceful movement and an understated but rounded figure. Prior to a session, ask her to ensure that her skin is free of the pressure marks left by straps or underwear. These remain visible for many hours. Show her examples of the sorts of images you have in mind, and encourage her to relax and move naturally. Explaining that the images are anonymous may help to ease any initial self-consciousness. Privacy, comfort and a relaxed atmosphere are again important. Inherent tension reveals itself through stiff, awkward poses so use music and encourage the model to breathe deeply. This helps relaxation and flattens the stomach. However, gently tightened or stretched limbs maintained in relaxed positions do help to emphasize form. It is worthwhile asking the model to vary the tension in the muscles of a particular limb or surface.

Form

Lighting and control of tonal range are key concerns. Soft, directional light from a window creates beautiful relief as it skates over the figure, the tones deepening as the surface turns away from the light. Contrast between light and shade can be controlled by reflectors, or by the proximity of light-coloured walls, but limiting tonal range and suppressing surface detail emphasizes shape at the expense of form. Bathing in oil or water increases the amount of light reflected from the body and exposes the granular nature of the skin. Cold water, if the model has a sense of humour, tightens skin and produces an invigorating and refreshing look. If a background is required in part of the frame, use plain walls or fabrics of neutral colour that do not distract the eye.

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