Art nude photography depicting a woman poised in the driver’s seat of a red automobile. Her attention turns to something outside the car. She has lifted her body from the seat, weight supported by her arms. She braces her forearms on the door jamb and windscreen.
Her body is framed by distinct areas of detail. A variety of control apparatus protrude from the left: a wooden steering wheel, some switches and dials, and shifter knob. Behind her, the running boards are accented by wooden rails. Behind her, tan upholstery gleams in the darkness. In the distance, hints of other automobiles interrupt the darkness.
The image recalls classic pinups as well as the history of visual pairing of female beauty with stylish automobiles. In advertising, editorial, and art nude photography, there have been “girls and cars” back to almost the earliest years.
The cropping of the image centers attention of the statuesque subject. The car provides minor graphical elements and minimal context. This tendency to center on the body is characteristic of pinup images.
What most distinguishes this composition is a light-toned vertical pillar that disrupts the inky background. The inclusion of this element significantly alters the mood of the image. A viewer might initially dismiss this item as inconsequential. That is, until we imagine the image with a plain background. Without this visual ingredient, we’d have only a figure framed by a car, isolated in near darkness. The vertical pillar splits the background into two uneven sections, but it also does more. This obelisk introduces a midground, detailing depth beyond the sharp area of focus. This component also connects the foreground to the top of the frame. The depth and complexity added by this one element grants the photograph much its general demeanor.
The car is a 1961 Morgan 4/4. Fewer than a hundred of the series III were made, all by hand; so like the figure who inhabits it, it is one of a kind. Compare this image to an automotive pin-up nude with the same woman on a different automobile.