snail yoga

Despite having featured repeatedly of late in this blog, it is time once again for Jenny Downing to be recognised for some exquisite composition.

snail yoga

Where to begin? This image is simply fabulous. the primary compositional element is the uncertainty of the angle. Was it taken just like this? Or was it rotated to emphasise the backwards bend from a vertical? While the position is equally as precarious whichever the case, it comes across more dynamically this way round.

She – I say that, despite snails being “simultaneous reciprocal” hermaphrodites, due to the fluttering eyelash effect in the feelers – is so easily anthropomorphised in this position: reaching, straining, exercising. She looks, with interest, at the viewer. It does not matter that she has no true eyes. We are drawn up the bamboo shoot, along the arched curve of her body, to that flirtatious face, and on along the crowning feelers (producing a triangle pointing back towards her face) that anchor the image firmly to the side of the frame.

The other effect of interest here is the texture in the background. As well as the angle being optimal to emphasise the snail, it also serves perfectly in the rear of the image. As stripes on clothing can make a person appear tall and thin (vertical) or squat and wide (horizontal), the vertical texture behind the subject stretches the image, emphasising the snail’s attempt to reach beyond the safe limit of her tenuous grasp on the reality of the shoot.

Excellent. Elegant. Artful.

  1. April 12th, 2012

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