It’s FRONT review time on the Alt Girl botherer blog, and it seems like an age since I’ve done one. This month sees a Halloween special featuring Danielle on a hypnotic green cover. Here goes…
At first glance, I thought Seren was back for a second cover in a row when I saw this month’s FRONT out of the corner of my eye. As soon as I properly looked, I could see it wasn’t, but for a second there… Anyway, I was intrigued by Danielle’s appearance on this month’s issue, but not excited if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really liked Danielle’s work with the magazine in the past, but there was no “wow” or “I’ve gotta check out this shoot” at first. A playful pose fills the cover, Danielle coyly playing with her hair and wearing Beetlejiuce inspired leggings (the merest hint of a lower-lip bite). It’s a cute image, but that’s about it. I’m pleased there was no model interaction with illustrations this month (a pet peeve of mine), and the colour scheme was different, but I still reserve judgement as to if its good different or bad different. I moved inside with hope rather than expectation I must admit.
As I delved beneath the surface of this month’s FRONT, my hopefulness turned to joy and bafflement. The joy came with the realisation that Alysha Nett was featuring in this month’s issue, the bafflement was with the fact that there was no mention of it on the cover (or online in the lead up to the mag’s release). I’m not sure if FRONT wants it’s “Full Frontal” feature to be a surprise for readers or what, but I can’t help but think sales figures would have been given a boost if they plugged the hell out of Alysha’s involvement. But on to her shoot, which starts on 16 with a double page spread featuring four Alyshas in a row! This procession of Netts is incredible. In this shoot the distractions are kept to a minimum and I love it. Alysha is shot against a bland backdrop, bathed in light with her body art really popping in contrast to her pale complexion. These first four images of this amazing model are a nice introduction to a great set, her work in each of the four pictures is subtly different, but fit wonderfully as a collective.
The first on the far left of page 16 feigns shyness; covering her mouth and breasts, seemingly shocked at being snapped. I love the turned inward feet, which only adds to the innocence Alysha is going for here. It’s a subtle aspect of body position, but very necessary for a great shot. The next image along in the line-up of Alyshas is one of my favourites. A casual hand on the hip is perfect, and the playful pinkie in the mouth weakens my knees. We move then to a sot of Alysha slipping down her undies, eyes fixed on the camera and on us as an audience. Alysha always uses her eyes superbly when modelling, she brings viewers in and gets them involved with the shoot. I love the little dimple in her right hip, caused by the way she’s twisting. Lastly, and hands on the head shot, elongating the body, and leaving Alysha’s gorgeous physique and ink to be fully appreciated. I have to say, that it’s so funny that her Marylin Monroe foot tattoo is so visible, because there’s a real Marylin-ness to Alysha’s styling/colouring in the shots. It’s a nice juxtaposition to dwell on.
Pages 18 and 19 continue the glorious Nett-fest. Again the background is not intrusive, so we’re focussed on Alysha’s stunning work. On 18 we have a full page shot, with Alysha licking her shoulder. The position of her body is such that her tattoos are pronounced, and turned to camera, some obscured, but all displayed wonderfully. The lick of the shoulder is an interesting touch, a spur of the moment idea perhaps, but a really quirky and different shot that is great to see. The use of so much light is a master stroke, Alysha’s fantastic features are highlighted, and even with her impressive ink being shown off, her beauty is by far the star of the show!
On 19 we have a triumvirate of Alyshas, from top to bottom. At the top of 19 Alysha’s wonderful back piece is in the spotlight. When I interviewed Alysha at the start of this blog adventure, she mentioned an intention to fill her frame tattoo eventually. I’m sure she’ll choose an incredible design when she settles on one, but for now I really love the empty frame. It’s so unique! Of course, her perfect bottom is also in the shot, and shame on me for not mentioning it sooner. Seriously though, the look over the shoulder is ace, and the images that follow on 19 are sculptural wonders. I love how dextrous Alysha’s body can be, there’s a beautiful contortion to the middle image on 19 and the bottom picture is classic Alysha. By that I don’t mean she does this particular pose all the time, but she does have a knack of showing off the amazing “S” shapes she can make with her unbelievable body. Check out the arch of her back at the bottom of 19, perfection, I could shelter from the rain under there or crying out loud!
We end Alysha’s shoot with two more great pictures. On 20 there’s a really intimate moment captured, with Alysha pressed up against a mirror. I’m a big fan of new ideas in shoots, and while I’m sure this shot isn’t reinventing the wheel, I think it was a great idea to include it. We don’t see Alysha’s eyes at all here, but the purse of her mouth and the hand to hand positioning at the mirror is just lovely. The last image on 21 is something Alysha always seems to master. By that I mean in every Alysha Nett shoot there’s at least one image that would make an excellent poster, calendar page, print etc… Again the sleekness of Alysha’s body is a wonderful feature, and her ink is a voyage of discovery as you look around the image. But that pert bottom… that’s a great way to leave a set.
I’ve probably talked about Alysha’s set more than I will the main feature here, but I couldn’t help it. Photographer Christian Saint is a real favourite of mine, and in the past I’ve enjoyed his use of metallic or grey backgrounds to make a model pop. Here model and photographer were in perfect sync, and while I’m not privy to what went on on-set, I’m sure it was a lot of fun and quite experimental.
In other news from the mag (between the shoots): Good tidings are sung out in a short article heralding the return of “The Walking Dead” to our screens. I seriously love this show, and while I’ll miss episode one of season three showing on the 19th, I’ll be series linking that bad boy and watching the whole lot in one gore-filled go. A really good interview with Tim Burton was a surprise. Not that it was good, but that FRONT got Burton involved. He’s plugging his own Halloween film, but having the interview as part of FRONT’s seasonal special is a nice touch. The Crap Jokes “Tested” portion doesn’t do much for me I must say. I was really interested by Hattie Stewarts’s piece though, something I’d like to see expanded upon… Who knows, maybe on this blog someday?
Back to the shoots, and it’s Alt Girl time! I’m really pleased that Gemma Edwards seems to be getting the job as Alt Girl photographer more often these days. She does great work within the section, and it’s good that FRONT are making efforts to regularly include a real rising star in the game. This issue sees “Emma” step into the Alt Girl frame. I really liked the energy and personality Emma brought to her FRONT debut. Her raven hair and pale skin is a combination that has worked well many times in FRONT previously, and you can’t beat long socks in an Alt Girl shoot right? Pages 56 and 57 begin the customary Alt Girl strip-down, and two shots in particular grabbed my attention. Both on page 57, the first one being in the top right corner, Emma removes her undies with a real flourish. Now I know this might not be rocket science, but all the important factors are there. An arched back, turn to camera, lovely bum and smile. I like the splayed fingers also. The second shot on 57 that caught my eye is at the bottom. Again showcasing a fantastically pert bottom, the twist to Emma’s body is great, and there’s an ease to her expression that maybe hints that it’s not too much of an effort to assume the position?
That’s the one thing I’d tweak about the shoot if I’m honest. I think Emma stayed a little within herself while working with Gemma. She shows a similar smile in a few shots that could be misconstrued as complacency. Also, as I’ve mentioned, I think she could have gone for some more diverse poses. She shows on 57 that she has the dexterity, but instead she seemed to stay in the comfort zone. If she returns to the magazine, or gets more exposure on the FRONT site, I just hope she goes for it a little bit more.
Emma’s Alt Girl set finishes strong though, she’s decided to not go completely topless and I don’t think that’s an issue at all. It’s good that FRONT doesn’t insist on fully topless shoots, I like the implied stuff just as much (even more sometimes). I also believe that implied work really gives an amateur model more longevity, as well as a chance to return and maybe show a little more, or come up with different ways of working implied. My favourite shot is at the bottom of page 58, Emma kicking her feet up and arching her back wonderfully. I like the playful expression and the gaze to camera. All in all a solid debut for Emma, if a little restrained. I’d love to see what else this lady has to offer in the magazine, or on the website.
The Alt Girl DIY section is an improvement in my opinion this month. Lately it’s seemed to be very hit and miss, with no real thought to audience (or the FRONT ethos) when choosing content. This month there are some interesting participants though. Lilly-Kate sent in some great shots, and her mini interview hinted at what could be an interesting Alt Girl piece proper. She might have an issue with the fact that FRONT has used a lot of her images; from what I’ve noticed, that usually means they want to squeeze every drop out of someone without having to give them a full feature. But I hope that’s just me being suspicious, I’d like to see what she could do with a full shoot. Issy is another DIY entrant that I think has a great chance of being chosen for a return, or at least an online profile. A very vibrant set that focuses on her face and the props she’s using (gum, laces, lollipop) something not often done in the DIY section.
On to the main feature finally, which begins on page 82. I have a little problem with FRONT when they do this. Advertise Danielle on the cover, but then actually showcase three models in the main feature. There’s nothing wrong with multiple model features in FRONT, but I’d like it if they acknowledged the others taking part with at least a mention on the cover… but I digress. The three models that make up the feature are Danielle, Gabriella and Bryony. The group shot that introduces the feature is like a topless episode of “Charmed.” The three girls bathed in light from behind, Bryony and Danielle looking to camera, Gabriella (the rebel) looking away. It’s a great start, and introduces the participants very well.
The first picture that grabbed my attention was of Gabriella n page 85. She’s a stunning woman of course, and the continuation of the lighting technique from the introductory page works wonders here. Turning her sun coloured top see-through, coupled with her sexy half smile is great, and an inventive way of showing her figure off. On page 86 is one of my favourite shots of Danielle. Just wearing jogging bottoms and tousling her hair, it’s a very real image, and extremely sexy. 86 and 87 are a good juxtaposition actually. On 87 the three girls are n bed together naked, yet I find Danielle’s jogging bottom’s shot supremely sexier.
Racing ahead to 92 and 93, where two of my favourite images can be seen. First on 92, Gabriella shows off her flexibility, with a pose that accentuates the angles of her marvellous physique, with her angelic face sporting a sultry gaze to camera. On the opposite page, Danielle is snapped through the legs of Bryony. It’s a joyous image, the expression on her face is priceless, there’s innocence and an inevitability to what would happen in the scene after the shot is taken. Great work from Danielle and photographer Jay Mawson.
I’ve bumbled through this feature quickly for a few reasons. Mainly due to the fact that I lingered on Alysha Nett’s section at the beginning of this review, but also because I wasn’t pulled in to this feature at all. The ladies involved are gorgeous don’t get me wrong, but I have issues with the piece as a whole. As is inevitable with threesome shoots, one model get’s overlooked. This time it’s Bryony, who barely appears on her own, is out of focus in one group shot, and never really imposes herself on the shoot in my opinion. There also needs to be more to a shoot than attractive women… That may seem like a stupid thing to say when reviewing a “lads mag” but it’s true. Hopefully in these reviews it’s clear that I applaud technique and intrigue from a model and a shoot. While after seeing this feature I am interested in seeing more from Bryony and Gabriella next time, next time shouldn’t even be a factor. It’s all about the here and now for these big shoots, and when they don’t work, there can’t be a reliance on “next time.” Because there may not be one.
All in all though, this month’s FRONT was a nice issue. The major highlight was Alysha Nett’s appearance for sure! It was a nice surprise to find out she was featuring, but I think FRONT should have shouted that from the rooftops a little more. I didn’t have the personal interest in the main feature that I did with Seren’s shoot last month, which didn’t give me much reason to extenuate the positives (as you could probably tell). But what did everyone else think???
As always, thanks for reading if you did.