The reference to lady photographers who use themselves as models – in the previous post – reminded me that, apart from her sessions with Aroa Renau, I hadn’t posted on Spanish photographer Alba Soler. Alba is relatively young, and comes from Xàtiva, near Aroa’s Valencia, and as a girls’portraitist is probably best known for a couple of sessions with Claudia Seguì. Putting together this post, however, I noticed how many portraits featured the model in off-the-shoulder outfits – or towels, even – starting with a prompt from The National Association of Child Photographers‘ blog, where Alba had to pick “A Favorite Photograph from Your Business“: and came up with this as her choice (that I’ve already featured in the post on Aroa here):
Then I remembered that, being young and attractive, she’s partial to off-the-shoulder tops and dresses herself:
– and tends to photograph younger models in poses and outfits that recall her adult models: here’s what I said in the linked piece:
“She usually seems to see her girl models in rather sensuous poses and outfits – never with toys, playing games, etc., even for children’s fashion sessions.” (Girls’ Portraiture, 2017/01/08)
….choosing my words carefully:
“Sensuous is believed to have been created by John Milton in 1641 to mean relating to the senses instead of the intellect without the sexual connotation.” (www.vocabulary.com)
So I’ve decided to devote this post to the remarkably frequent off-the-shoulder portraits, and leave Claudia and her other related work for another time (as well as Alba herself as lingerie model!).
These are Aroa Renau‘s similar shots from the linked post:
….and the first thing you have to say is what brilliant, sensitive portraits they are: beautiful, charming and yes, sensuous – but always exalting the femininity and grace of the model. As much as anything it’s a posing trope – like Julia Voronova and her tendency to have her models sit on the floor – there’s a gallery here. And as with Julia – you can’t deny that it works. It’s how they see the outfits, the presence of the girl and her character being expressed – and they both end up with gorgeous portraits. Here are some of Alba’s – first a bed’n’flowers set with a rather effective ’50s diva vibe (the three enlarged crops being hers):
….these having a unified visual style over-and-above the bare shoulders that are basically just part of the general look. Here are the rest that I’ve put in this series – tho’ logically there are other spaghetti-strap dress portraits that are similar in the rather sophisticated effect Alba seems to be going for, that I haven’t included (except for the lovely shot I couldn’t resist using as the header to the post):
….generally speaking, some of these aren’t as inspired as the ones preceding – and I wonder if sometimes, when the session isn’t producing the goods, Alba doesn’t go for the off-the-shoulder trope that has worked so well for her in the past….although some logically are sessions for shoulder-baring flower-girl/bridesmaid dresses anyway.
The penultimate shot – of the model posing in a vintage bath – has had its preparation immortalised in an Instagram video: and lord does she look nervous and uninspired:
….and in fact it’s the only result (of what looks like a painstaking and elaborately prepared session) that I can find – so maybe Alba wasn’t too impressed with the results, either.
As a posing/styling trope I can see the attraction: shoulders are graceful and feminine, even at the ages that she’s portraying these girls: they hint at their maturing beauty without being inappropriate or tacky – and she’s visibly more interested in their femininity than their playfulness or “childishness”. Here’s another shot of Alba herself – this time a self-portrait – where she’s using her bare shoulders again to create a slight frisson:
Following are two more short Instagram videos where the models pose in the rather formal dresses the Spanish adore their daughters to wear for First Communion and family weddings…