A key objective of FATman Photos, during its nearly six years of life, has been diversity of content.  By which I mean that I have always tried to present images with varying subject matter, genre and technique, as well as text to match in varying themes and styles – truth to tell, I enjoy the writing almost as much as I enjoy creating the images.  So, in further pursuit of these aims …

Sometime back, I used to subscribe to Black+White Photography magazine.  I have a great affinity for black and white images (and especially those that stray away from straight representations of reality minus its colours), and I found B+W to be somewhere between a photographic magazine and a publication on the arts, a combination that I liked very much.

At home here now, I’m clearing out some back issues of B+W, going through them to see if there are any pages worth keeping, and I came upon – and was instantly once again electrified by – this cover image.  It is by the haute couture fashion photographer Cathleen Naundorf, and B+W gives the title as: No title – Dior, Atelier d’Artiste – Cautaincourt, Paris, 2007.

The situation is very simple – ever since I first laid eyes on this picture it has both entranced and electrified me.  What do I like about it? Well, the black and white presentation for a start, and the very simple lighting, which is coming in from the left.

Then the dress is of course ornate, with high relief embroidery, embossing – what do I know about descriptions of female attire???  And then there are those big, big, rectangular lapels, which introduce a dischordant element of angularity.

And then we start to get to the real nitty gritty.  First, that wonderful, big and simply circular hat, and the fact that it is covering her eyes, and so imbuing the image with a very important degree of anonymity – so that this is not a portrait of an individual, but rather a piece of art, a composition, an ideal perhaps.  And while talking about the hat and the semi-obscured face,  what we are allowed to see of this face is powerfully lit on the left – right up there with the brightest tones in the picture – while the other side of the face is in deep shadow.  To me, this is almost not a face, but almost a rounded connection hanging down below that striking hat, which serves to connect that hat with the rest of her body.

And lastly the real cruncher, the pose.  Had her arms been down at her sides, this would have been a far less dynamic image, a far more serious image – one perhaps redolent of sorrow or even penance.  But the attitude of her arms and hands (those splayed fingers!) introduces a dynamic that for me changes everything, that makes me just love and wonder at this image in a way that I do with very, very few other images, including my own.  Those arms introduce a sense of style and also of great panache – here are flamboyance, self-assurance and also great vivacity. The woman may be anonymous, but she is leaving us in no doubt as to the intensity of the style and feminity that she embodies and so forcefully conveys.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Sallyann says:

    I imagine the dress to be made of emerald green satin, and of a style I would have easily worn in my late teens (my pre-baby years). The model’s tiny waist and lack of much else allows the dress to give her the desired in’s and out’s in the right places. Oh how I wish I’d had confidence to carry off such a dress at such an age, and that hat… Well, wow! … Just wow!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      My dear friend, there are times when I think you’re wonderful, and there are times I think you’re ABSOLUTELY wonderful >>> “and lack of much else” definitely makes this time one of the latter – absolutely wonderful! 😀 And I hope you’re right about the emerald green, and I know you’re right about the hat. Gleefully, and gratefully, yours, The FATman 🙂 🙂 🙂 ………

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Meanderer says:

    I love the way you describe your liking for particular images; always interesting. For me, I think the model looks rather mannequin-like – almost like a beautiful automaton; a little unsettling. I can imagine her coming awake and whacking people with those arms 🙂


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Its important to me to be able to articulate why I like or don’t like an image, whether it be one of mine or someone else’s, that’s something I aspire to and keep practicing. I very much like your mentions of mannequin and automaton – absolutely! – which fits in with her stiff arms and my mention of her face seeming a little unreal – I would love to have taken this picture. As always, very good hearing your thoughts, my friend. A

      Liked by 1 person

  3. paula graham says:

    Yea, I like diversity have a ‘style’ is to stagnate..nothing wrong with stagnating though!! Good post my friend.


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