This week in Boudoir Pose Breakdown we’re going to take a look at a pose I call Lady Godiva.
Now, a lot of people have probably heard of Lady Godiva, but it’s most likely they’re not familiar with what made her famous… or in this case, infamous.
According to legend, Lady Godiva was married to an Earl named Leofric in the 13th century who took pity on the people of her husband’s district who were being taxed oppressively.
She pleaded with him numerous times to lower the taxes but he would hear nothing of it. Finally, after growing tired of her appeals he told her he would submit to her request but only if she rode naked through town on a horse.
Taking his sarcastic response at face value, Lady Godiva did just that… but only after issuing a proclamation that all town folk stay inside and close their doors and windows on the day of her ride… so no one would see her.
The one person who violated the order was a tailor who peeped out his window when she passed by, and that’s where the expression of being a “peeping Tom” originated from.
Whether or not this event actually happened is uncertain but people commemorate Lady Godiva none the less with statues in the town of Coventry, England where she lived.
I was not aware of this story before I named this pose Lady Godiva. I just had a notion that she was someone famous from historical times with a somewhat scandalous reputation.
I suppose if I photographed my clients naked on the back of a horse it would be more appropriate, but I kept the name anyway because the pose is regal and the subject is putting herself on display… so it seemed a good fit.
What Is The Pose Saying?
I shoot this pose two ways with only the slightest variation between the two. One is with eyes looking straight into camera, the other with eyes closed (Sleeping Godiva).
With eyes into camera the pose shows a woman putting herself on display in preparation for a sexual encounter — much like a woman anticipating her lover entering the room.
With eyes closed she’s imagining that encounter in her mind.
Eyes open — she’s ready for action and sending you a clear signal that she is
Eyes closed — she’s alone and longing for someone to be with
Those are my interpretations.
Regardless, it’s important to connect an emotion with each pose in order for them to radiate with the appropriate energy.
I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again. It’s like holding a yoga pose. You can do the bare minimum to hold the pose, but if you infuse it with the correct attitude and energy, it reaches its full potential.
The Structure of the Pose
Although I shoot this on a chaise lounge, it can also be shot on a sofa. The reason the chaise lounge works so well is because of the angled headrest and backrest support you get.
That sloping angle of the headrest is the key to getting her upper body angled.
If you shoot this on a sofa you may have to put a pillow underneath her upper body to create that angle if the sofa arm is too vertical.
Have her lie on her side with her bottom leg extended but with a slight bend of the knee, and her top leg bent to form that “V”.
Her upper body, slightly twisted, rests on the headrest.
Her top arm traces the waist/hip curve.
Her other arm rests near her face on the headrest.
Keys To Lady Godiva
There are several fine tunings this pose requires to really put the polish on it.
The big one is to have her drop that bent knee far enough to form a strong “V” shape. I’ve found that to be the defining look of this pose and helps create the undulating line from head to toe.
You may even need to have your subject shift closer to the front edge of the chaise lounge to facilitate this.
Make sure her top arm doesn’t completely disappear behind her body. You want to see at least a trace of it to avoid the “amputated arm” look. Although seeing the hand and a trace of her forearm will work too.
I also prefer shooting this with the client wearing a onesie to hide any folds of skin that might appear at the waist from her angled position. This will undoubtedly occur no matter what size your subject is.
In short, the straight lines of the chaise lounge (and baseboard) provide contrast to the undulating line of the female form lying on her side, which emphasizes her curves even more.
If you have a chaise lounge available to you, or a couch with armrests that will work, Lady Godiva is a classic-looking pose that shows off your subject from head to toe along with some good subtext the viewer can fill in with their own imagination.
And subtext is always good because you get to experience the shot on two levels — what it’s saying on the surface, as well as, between the lines.
Thanks for your time!
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Founder / Lounge Boudoir
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