Friday, January 9, 2009

The Perfect Arch

When I started this blog almost a year ago, I didn't yet know how exactly it was going to look or where the journey would go. I had a few general ideas which I wrote down in an early post, but that was as far as it went. One of the things I was determined not to do, however, is create another "photo blog". There are already plenty of spanking blogs out there that are heavy on pictures, and some of them do it very well and with a good eye. So there was no point in following the same approach, and besides, it wouldn't have been my thing, anyway. I wanted to focus on what I perceived to be my main strengths, that is, on my skills as a writer and commentator.

However, there are cases when a photograph or drawing (especially one dealing with our beloved kinky obsessions) is truly worth more than a thousand words. When it reaches a level of visual perfection and of such steaming, almost magical eroticism that you might as well just shut up and point at the bloody picture - and everyone will instantly understand what you are raving about. For me, the following shot from Restrained Elegance is one such example:

(Download a preview clip of the accompanying video here)

The victim is of course the lovely Amelia-Jane Rutherford aka Ariel Anderssen, and that fact in itself is a considerable part of the attraction. As I wrote in my review of her spanking film debut with Strictly English: "Men want her, women want to be her, and some women both want her and want to be her." She does have a gorgeous figure and an unbelievably nice ass, and they have rarely been shown off as stunningly as in this picture. Add a few cane stripes, and you have a strong candidate for spanking photograph of the year (or the decade).

The pose is pure perfection. The "bent over, arched back, elbows on a table (or some such piece of equipment)" CP position has always been one of my favourites in visual and erotic terms, perhaps the favourite. There is a combination of refined elegance and primordial sex appeal about it that I find incredibly alluring - something about the curve from the victim's head and neck down across the arched back to the outstretched, well-defined bottom. It's a position that, to my inner sadist, simply screams: "Whip my ass!"

Again, I can't remember having ever seen it captured as well as here. As you can see, the pose does not only pronounce the victim's buttocks, the "target area", in a most delightful way. With the elbows on the table and the raised upper body, it also opens up room for facial reaction shots (which you don't have if the head and body are slumped down). Because the reactions are just as important, visually, to a CP sadist as the target area and the marks, that is another part of the appeal for me. You can even catch both in one shot (at least partially), as in the first picture. Ariel's slightly turned head, the way her hair falls, her facial expression, the way she places her hands on the table - every small, but significant detail I can think of simply "feels right" in this photo.

I remember seeing a preview of this "Restrained Elegance" shoot a while back on Ariel's blog and obviously being quite taken with it. Fittingly, I was having an email discussion about "the perfect corporal punishment position" with a female friend at the time. We were planning a scene together and I was trying to explain to her what pose I had in mind for her, and why. So I just wrote: "You know what? I've just found it. Take a look at this. It's exactly what I've been talking about."

So I'm indebted to Hywel Phillips, the bondage photographer who runs "Restrained Elegance", for helping me to illustrate my point - never mind for creating these awesome pictures in the first place. In return, I thought I would do a bit of publicity for him. I can't give "Restrained Elegance" one of my proper website reviews here - it's a bondage site, not a spanking site, so it doesn't really fit in thematically. However, I like Hywel's work a lot and wanted to someday showcase it in some other form. This is a good opportunity.

In so many words, "Restrained Elegance" is a high-quality, polished and artfully done paysite with lots of content and a large cast of victims (among them spanking models like Amy Hunter and Rosaleen Young). It offers photosets as well as video clips in several formats, including some large wide-screen .wmv's with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. The technical craftsmanship is great and there is an interesting variety of "themes". In addition to the actual scenes, the site also has some special features like bondage tutorials and galleries of drawings. I could spend quite a bit of time there, and I'm not even a die-hard bondage fan.

While there is a bit of light spanking and whipping, the focus of the site is bondage, of course. However, the shoot from which the pictures here were taken - "Ariel's Job Interview (Part Four)", in which she gets caned over the table - is an excellent little CP clip. In terms of grace and beautiful photography, it surpasses most of the work I've seen from "proper" spanking video producers. In my view, this gem alone is sufficient reason for spankos to give "Restrained Elegance" a try. It is nicely filmed, nicely edited and one of the few examples where "slow motion replay" of strokes is put to good effect in a spanking video - I usually find that a bit cheesy, but it works here, and it works quite well. As a CP sadist, I only wish that the caning had been a little bit harder and the marks a little more vivid - but hey, that is not what the site is about, obviously.

If Mr. Phillips ever decides to do a spanking site (most of the competition should be shaking in their schoolgirl panties at the thought...), I would be the first to subscribe and give it a full review. In the meantime, I suggest you check out his bondage work. You can download a quick preview clip of Ariel's caning here. If that doesn't convince you, nothing will (and you are probably clinically dead).


Indy said...

That first picture is truly extraordinary, and this post really does it justice, Ludwig.

Anonymous said...

Great picture indeed. Another one that really does it for me is here:

Scroll down to the Lupus pic with the restrained peachy striped bottom

Hermione said...

Yes, that really is a lovely pose. Except that she's far too thin!!! LOL. The tied hands are quite ingenious. Some movement allowed, but no escape.

Ludwig said...

Mr. Whoever You Are: Yes, that's Adele in "Red Reformatory 2: Old Friends". Some glorious thrashings in that one.

Hermione: Well, "too thin", "too chubby", it's all a matter of personal taste, of course. As for me, I always had a thing for skinny little girls. Cute, skinny little geek girls, the type that sits at the reception of the university library, with her glasses on, reading a book - and sends you off daydreaming about a "brilliant, but cheeky female student gets caned" scenario.

Not that Amelia-Jane is little, mind you. She is pretty much the same height as me, and with her high heels on, she towered almost a full head above me during the SM-Circus shoot. We were quite a funny sight... Anyway, she is as close to physical perfection as any girl I've ever seen, not to mention that she has a most delightful personality. No match for Niki in the geek department, but delightful nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ludwig,

having recently finished reading through your archives, I wanted to "de-lurk" to say thank you. As I'm someone who only recently "graduated" from fantasy to the spankers' blogosphere, I am still amazed at all I've missed for years. Your topics and views are a real joy to follow and certainly provide plenty of food for thought. I look forward to your future offerings to the blogosphere.

Also, I note, you recently changed the text in your description along the sidebar, so I assume that besides a happy new year, happy birthday wishes may also be appropriate?

All the best in any case,

Ludwig said...

Thanks for de-lurking, Jens, and for your kind words. It's always nice to know that people find what I do interesting and enjoyable. Also, welcome to the blogosphere.

As for the birthday: I've been 30 for some time, I just hadn't got around to changing the "About Me" text before. As well as that, I first used the alter ego on January 13th, 2007, so I tend to think of that as the day "Ludwig" was born. You can regard January 13th as my birthday if you like.

Natty said...

Restrained elegance indeed.

Sometimes the simple poses really are the nicest by both giving the most room for the imagination as well as providing a clean, crisp aesthetic.

I agree with Hermione about her being a bit thin, though she does have a lovely, full backside. Though as you point out, aesthetics are always a matter of personal taste.

And I so agree with you about the abundance of picture-only blogs. I mean, pictures are nice and there are some great picture blogs out there. But just about every week I get an email from some guy (and they are invariably guys) starting a picture blog wanting to exchange links. One had the temerity to threaten to spank me when I failed to add his completely unoriginal blog to my blogroll (which is a bit bulky already).

I guess that's my roundabout way of saying thanks for text. And very thoughtful, well-written text. ;-)

Ludwig said...

Thanks, Natty. I can heartily return the compliment. Your blog is great, I've had it on my list for some time, and needless to say, I only link to blogs I genuinly like. I have a quality list and, like you, I get annoyed by the mindless "i liek ur blog plz link to mine" proposals (if you genuinly like my blog, link to it without asking anything in return - if all you want is traffic, find someone else!).

I haven't really got time to comment on your posts - it's one of the drawbacks of writing a blog of your own, time to write on others becomes sparse. But I definitely lurk, and I definitely like what you are doing.

Pandora Blake said...

That pose has always emphasised Amelia's beautiful figure. I won't join the ladies calling her too thin, because nothing will set back feminism faster than women criticising each other, but I can see exactly what Hermione and Natty are getting at, which is that it's a shame that it's always the thin girls whose pictures are posted as shining examples of "perfect form". Not that Amelia isn't beautiful, because she is, but she's conventionally beautiful, and I enjoy like non-conventional beauty just as much, if not more because it's so rare to see it appreciated in porn.

Ludwig said...

Pandora: I agree with your point about there not being enough body type variety in porn, but I don't believe I'm all that guilty of perpetrating that trend. To begin with, this post is titled "The Perfect Arch" - not "The Perfect Figure"! More than anything else, it is about this particular kind of CP position, regardless of whether the victim is thin or chubby.

Amelia-Jane's figure is lovely, but it is only one of the many things that stand out about this picture. I also write about how her hair falls, her facial expression, the way she places her hands, and so forth. My focus is wider than just on her frame and ass...

Moreover, it is simply a sytlish photo regardless of the specific human "object": the camera angle, the lighting, the fine table, the white ropes etc. These are things I also could have mentioned, but didn't for the sake of brevity (yes, I do strive for it, even though I usually fail). In any case, I think they are fairly obvious from the photo itself.

If it had been you in the same pose and in the same Restrained Elegance picture, I would have posted that one as an example of "The Perfect Arch" along with my website mini-review. On the other hand, there are plenty of pictures of Amelia-Jane which don't make that same strong impression on me (actually, I'd say the second and third one here aren't nearly as effective as the first one, because the angle is different).

I think it is a tad simplistic to say: "Ah, she is thin, no wonder that the picture is being championed as an example of 'perfect form'!" I didn't reduce it like that, and neither should you.

When you look at this blog all the way through, you will find pictures of girls of various sizes. Ranging from half-starved and bony (Niki Flynn) to round and well-padded (Adele Haze). All are beautiful in their own way. I think this picture of Adele, which she sent me for her interview, is drop-dead gorgeous.

Anyway, at the end of the day, the most interesting body part we all have (male or female) is our brain.

If I had to look only at body types for a moment and select a personal favourite, yes, I would have to say thin. I've never made any bones (pardon the little pun!) of the fact that I have a thing for skinny girls.

At the same time, I have never claimed that this is anything but totally subjective preference (I said so in my comment above). I'm not trying to promote some stupid "official" beauty ideal here. I am well aware that there are not only plenty of women, but also plenty of guys for whom what I like is "too thin". And that's okay - tastes differ! This simply happens to be mine.

Moreover, even though I have my subjective taste, I am able to appreciate different things and I do enjoy variety. So while you will find many pictures of thin girls here (probably the majority), you will find a fair share of others as well, and you will certainly find different forms of beauty.

I'm not sure how useful it is to divide between "conventional beauty" and "non-conventional beauty". When you do that, you arguably end up reinforcing the stereotypes you want to abolish. I also wouldn't describe Amelia-Jane as "conventionally beautiful". I think that could too easily be interpreted as a veiled slur, and we want to avoid that, especially since you rightfully point out that women shouldn't criticise each other like that.

I don't know if she is "conventionally" beautiful or if I even understand what that is supposed to mean, exactly. What I do know is that I find her beautiful, period, and that I find this picture of her extremely stunning. For all sorts of reasons.

Pandora Blake said...

Ack, no need to leap to your defense - I was making a general comment about the porn industry, not about this post. My point was "I disagree with Hermione and Natty that AJR is "too thin", however I can see why they said what they said and I agree with the reasoning behind it." No need to get your knickers in a twist, there was no criticism targeted at you. :)

Ludwig said...

Hey, don't mind me. You should know by now that I am both paranoid and vain, and like all paranoid narcissists, I tend to be somewhat thin-skinned about criticism (and perceived criticism). And it sounded to me like there was a thinly veiled accusatory tone in your voice. Wasn't there? Hmm? Go on, admit it already...!

Ah well. You know, just because I suffer from paranoia doesn't mean that people are *not* out to get me.

sixofthebest said...

A beautiful bare bottom caning pose. 'Six of the best' I would rate this photo.