Ladies and gentlemen, we are privileged to bring you what may be the most gorgeous test photos that any model has ever created.
Stunning full-figured goddess Katherine Roll recently shot with New York photographer Patrick Brassard (www.brassardphotography.com), and the results are a beguiling blend of magic and mystery, an ideal depiction of timeless beauty in every possible aspect.
In the course of this photo shoot, we progress from the gentle warmth of day to the shadowy richness of night. The first image, at noontide, shows the model languidly posing by an elegant bridge in the middle of a idyllic park. Her beauty transcends belief. She appears softly curvaceous and well-fed, her shapely contours echoed by the rounded stonework of the bridge. Her blouse is breathtakingly pretty--an elegant, feminine, lace creation that appears to have been sewn in the 19th century, as enchanting an expression of Victorian loveliness as is the model herself. But the most exciting aspect is the sensual lassitude of the model's demeanour. She leans back gently, a look of inexpressible longing on her face, and, most thrilling of all, reveals a tantalizing glimpse of her bare midriff. There can be no purer expression of body love than for a size-18 model to disclose a hint of her soft waist. The effortless, untroubled self-satisfaction that such a pose indicates is intoxicating.
While sepia tints embellish many of the images in this test, giving the photographs a vintage quality that is perfectly in keeping with their Old World attractions, the following image shows Katherine's exquisite natural skin tone, a dazzlingly fair hue, the very embodiment of a peaches-and-cream complexion. The sunlight weaves its way through the branches to caress the model's soft skin and bathe it in a dappled glow. Her expression is achingly beautiful, a purely romantic look filled with yearning and gentle dreaminess. The azure blue of the sky and emerald green of the leaves play off against each other in a captivating way, and set off the model's passionate red lip colour. One imagines her to be a fairy-tale princess who has escaped from court and found a moment of quiet solitude in the primeval forest, where she indulges in sweet fantasy.
The third image, now set deep in the dark woods, finds Katherine reposing in all of her splendour, like an empress at court, as if the natural world itself were her realm. Just as the previous image showed the model's delicacy and softness, her irresistible vulnerability, so this photograph shows her magnificent vanity, the sheer power of her imperial beauty. The lavish fullness of her figure is palpable; the pose offers a compelling impression of the model's sheer presence and physical opulence. Her fitted tunic defines her buxom contours and suggests the womanly rondeur of her hips. The flowers amid which she is surrounded seem to blossom expressly as a tribute to her loveliness. The woodland path enters deeper into the shadowy glen behind her, while the sylvan foliage offers a muted emerald hue, as if externalizing the sensations that her beauty inspires: awe-inspiring, yet inviting. Katherine seems to merge into her surroundings as if she were half-dream, half-reality. She passively expects the tribute that is her due--and surely, when confronted by such gorgeousness, the impulse of every viewer would be to worship her unreservedly, to become the abject vassal of such a regal beauty.
The final image, a night piece, shows the model once again in her Victorian blouse, which betokens her timeless femininity and also defines her voluptuous curves. Fittingly, given the mystery of the dark lighting, her pose is now bolder and more provocative, a confident exhibition of her voluptuous figure. Her expressions have darkened with the dimming of the light, progressing from soft sensuality to velvety wickedness. To approach such a goddess would surely be intimidating, just as it would be to enter the shadows of the midnight forest toward which the bridge leads, with but one glowing light guiding the way. Is this apparition a fair angel, a beacon amid the darkness, or a femme fatale leading to soul-threatening peril? And truly, would one not eagerly leap into perdition for the sake of such loveliness? Is she a damsel to be rescued from this eerie gloom, or does she herself cast the spell that covers the world in night? Her enigmatic expression might portend menace, but her fair features also offer comfort. Is this dream or nightmare? And does the danger not heighten the appeal?* * *
This compelling photo series is every bit as artistic and aesthetically accomplished as the finest Vogue editorial. Or rather, it indicates what Vogue editorials might look like if the classical beauty ideal had never been displaced, and if full-figured femininity remained the dominant aesthetic of fashion and culture.
The images blend Victorian qualities and contemporary elements in a harmonious presentation that reconciles the best of both worlds and updates timeless beauty for a modern audience. The settings recall 19th-century postcards with all of their exquisite detail, yet the styling seamlessly pairs contemporary pieces with vintage designs.
But above all, it is the model herself who is the key to the success of this shoot. No faux-plus model (let alone any androgynous waif) could have embodied such an opulent aesthetic. With her extraordinary talent and versatility, Katherine crafts these images into a bona fide editorial by offering multiple narrative possibilities, via her complex expressions and demeanour. Her poses are graceful and boldly showcase full-figured beauty, yet are completely naturalistic as well.
If one ever seeks to identify what a better, nobler might look like, in all of its components, one need only reference this shoot, which brings timeless beauty to life and points the way forward to a cultural aesthetic restoration.
(Click images to view larger.)
- Patrick Brassard Photography