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  • Writer's picturesarahhawley

Figure Study

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

I chose to do a figure study because I was interested in this subject and I had not done one before using photography. I am interested in working in black and white as well as approaching this topic as an abstract discovery of the human body. I have a fine art background and I have always been interested in abstract art that resembles objects from real life and on the flip side to that, how objects from reality can become abstracted. This often provides a different perspective and a different way of seeing for both the photographer and the viewer.

My initial thought for this project was who has a perfect body that I can photograph?

…….NO ONE!

I quickly realized that I don’t know anyone who has a perfectly sculpted figure and that sent me into a different direction for this project. I was interested in capturing close up imagery of sections of the body to show lines, skin texture, folds in the skin, wrinkles, sun damage and other imperfections. By looking at these "Flaws" in an abstract way, they take on a beauty of their own. This project is also very much a light study and how the light falls onto the subject as it can really enhance an image.


Although a figure study is not new to my art practice, it is something I haven’t photographed before. Using a different medium like the camera, changed my approach and the way I had to interact with my model. It was much more involved, as we had to work together and in closer proximity to achieve the images I wanted than if I was sitting in a corner drawing the subject.

I am pleased with the results and I have learned a lot from this project. I found using lighting at 90 or 45 degrees for dramatic contrast in my imagery worked out the best and I am happy with the results. Below I have a sample of what I created from my figure study photo session.


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