Valeria by Vozorom on Flickr.com: Posing and Preconceptions

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These images pose an interesting question: if a girl becoming a late-teen wants to have “glamour” shots taken of her – and her father is her habitual photographer – should he stop?  These are from an album by a photographer called “Vozorom” on Flickr of his daughter Valeria. There’s nothing lubricious about any of these photographs, but you can see from the way she has her arm lifted up to touch her head in the last four shots – a most unnatural position – that she’s starting to pose in a way she’s seen adult models pose. Here’s a practical demonstration from the WikiHow page for the diagram-obsessed:

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If you try doing it, you’ll see that you automatically lift your head back a little, and (if you’ve got them) push your breasts up and slightly forward: I can imagine the feminist critique of the pose, but you’ll probably find it on Ancient Greek vases as well as in last month’s Vogue. It always looks rather silly when a younger girl does it:

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…..and in fact they seem unrelaxed, and unnatural, particularly the younger model. It’s an unambiguous visual cue to look at the girl’s body – not her eyes, face,  hair, outfit or general character. Child models are lucky in that they have access to a whole range of expressions and poses that adults usually don’t: sitting on the floor; sitting in the “W”, sitting cross-legged;  playing with toys and animals; dancing, cartwheeling, twirling: you name it…then they can laugh widely, pull faces, cross their eyes, put their tongue out, giggle, roll their eyes, cry, scream, shout: most things that adult models would probably like to do at times, but feel constrained…

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The poses and expressions are highly codified socially and culturally, and when the Thylane Blondeau Vogue Paris incident happened in 2011 (you know – she was dressed and made-up like an adult, draped over a couch with two rabbits (!!) and a bored expression),  rightly or wrongly it at least clearly indicated the importance of pose and expression in the public’s expectations of girls’ fashion, editorial and studio imagery. In terms of exposed flesh she had her legs bare from her knees to her ankles, and a rather indistinct low-ish neckline. The most ludicrous part was the mass conviction that the images would appeal to p**ophiles: when logically a young girl dressed up as an adult would be absolutely the very last thing they would be interested in…

Anyway, getting back to Vozorom: the latest shots of Valeria are right up-to-date (walking along the path in the wood) – and the earliest I noticed go back at least to 2011. I think it’s a difficult choice: if she’s really interested in model work (and that absolutely isn’t clearly inferred from the photostream) and is more specifically interested in glamour (which is basically a euphemism for erotic – tho’ that definition can also include clothed and semi-nude) then they both might feel happier with a professional who specialises in that genre – if she just wants to express her age and sexuality in a more generalised way, and feels more relaxed with her father, then I personally don’t see any harm.

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