Saturday, May 7, 2016

The (Not so) Secret Language of Hands

We are entering the final week of my current 
(c), used with
kind permission
Spring Shawltime Thing A-long, and I am so pleased with the lovely finished things including, of course, my own. I've made two wonderful shoulder warmers, and I'd like to focus on the first one I completed, my purple version of the recently published Springtime Decadence Shawl (at left). I just love all that purple! You are looking at the front of my shawl, because I added buttons and flipped them to the back to make a poncho (since I am a lover of most things poncho). 

So, you might be wondering, what does all this have to do with hands? Well, let me show you the initial photograph of this shawl as seen in the published version in April's edition of (at right). The model is clutching the shawl in the front. I have no idea why, especially since the description of the shawl indicates it's shape makes it easy to stay on the shoulders. Personally, I find the clutching hand in this particular photo really makes the model seem far more dowdy than she probably actually is, as well as quite cliched (haven't we all seen elderly women clutching shawls at/to their chests?).

I've taken a lot of photos on a whole host of non-professional models. They've all done a wonderful job, but the first thing they ask me: "What should I do with my hands?" There is something about the camera that makes most of us who don't stand in front of it for a living get self-conscious about hands and where to place them (I expect myself included). Of course, these non-professionals completely understand that hands speak volumes, so where one places them can make or break a photo. I usually just tell them, at least in the beginning, to act naturally. I also am usually talking to my models throughout the process, and in many instances our conversations will get them off of the hands focus, and then they are quite fine. In yet other instances, I'll provide a few specific prompts, and that definitely gets them going in the right direction. All of my models are intelligent and have busy and varied lives, and their experiences always inform their modeling in very positive ways. 

I so wish a few prompts might have been provided in the published version of this shawl, and here's why: I have taken additional photos of my sample for self-publishing once my rights revert, and I'm going sneak one to you to show the difference a little styling and one good prompt can make.

I envisioned this shawl almost cape-like, so I suggested that my model strike her best Wonder Woman pose. With that great spring-like flower dress and beads at the wrist, this shawl comes to life with strength and beauty. Now its got personality!

I'll share more photos of this shoot later throughout the summer and year because we shot several pieces. In each of them. my model uses hand placements (some prompted, some all on her own) that compliment the garment being modeled and further the vision I had for it when I created it. That is pretty much all a designer can ask for.

Indeed, the hands tell a story.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with your assessment. I had a similar thought when I first saw the photo but had yet to start reading.

    The first photo says crocheted shawls are for elderly grandma's who prefer not to have their picture taken. Your designs have *never* said to me.

    I love the Wonder Woman prompt. She was my favorite when I was a kid. The last photo is much better.