Saturday, June 11, 2011

Posture Pictures

 In the 1940s, the US Navy Preflight training school took identity/posture photographs of recruits. Other examples of these type of photos called somatotypes  at somatotypes. This was a system of characterizing people by 3 different body types invented by Dr. William Sheldon, who took thousands of these pictures. Here's another link to a description of the system. This link takes it further and describes the personality types predicted by the physical characteristics. Similar pictures were taken by the Ivy League schools and the Seven Sisters probably to support research and theories into body types and social hierarchy. See the Wikipedia entry.


Here are 2 images from a blog post ay Orgone Research about Sheldon's book.

The image on the right is from Erika Gentry's blog

The whole business of measurement was closely linked to another study, that of anthropometry. This is a photo of a demonstration of the system of measurement in anthropometry from a early twentieth century conference from a wikipedia. Anthropometry as a system of measurement still has its uses but as a system of classifying personality types it is discredited just as Petrus Camper's system of classifying people by facial measurement is discredited.
 
 This type of photo has been a staple of photographers since the camera was invented from photographers taking pictures at camera clubs, which are celebrated in this book by Jim Linderman Camera Club Girls to Akira Gomi's photographs of women and Jo Schwab's modern prints.
It was also a pose used in those picture books of female bodies which were characterized as figure studies in the 30s, 40s and 50s.


It is rare to produce drawings or paintings with this pose because they can appear static. Some artists succeed though.

Compare this drawing by Janet E. Davis, from her blog, to Pierre-Paul Prudhon's.

 Lance Richlin has another successful painting of this pose, compare it to Zinaida Serebriakova's drawing.


Here is another an example from a Facebook page about W.R. Watkins.

The Female Nude I: A Pose Book For ArtistsThe Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body
The Female Nude I: A Pose Book For Artists
The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body


Art Models: Life Nudes for Drawing Painting and Sculpting Art Modles Ultra Becca (Art Models Series)Becca335 Pose (Art Models)


Becca Session One Download

This is a collection of figure model photos in a variety of poses intended for artists, illustrators, animators or anyone who wants a high quality figure reference. Instant download.






Article about the use of posture pictures at Vassar. Another article about the pictures at University of Washington. An article about the growth of children citing similar pictures.


Early sculpture was characterized by the pose. On the left  Egyptian wooden sculpture 2nd millennium b.c.  and the right a Jain tirthankara from the 9th century.

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