Who picked THIS engagement pose? #WTF!?#bdsm#engagement photos#wedding photographer Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Aug 24 2007) Ariel arielmstallings Although the photographer is totally skilled, I can't help but balk at the pose in this engagement photo. Is it just me, or do the crossed arms of the headless groom-to-be comes off as creepily paternalistic? ("No, you're not getting your bride allowance — you've been naughty this week!") And there's just something very subservient about sticking the bride-to-be on the ground, wrapped around his feet and smiling. Again, Anne Ruthmann is clearly an amazing photographer. (Check out her stuff!) But the pose strikes me as creepy. That is, unless the couple pictured are into some kinky bdsm power-play dynamics and the bride is smiling cuz she's all, "Look who I let out of the dungeon for the afternoon! Tee hee!" Ariel Author of three editions of the Offbeat Bride book and the forthcoming From Shitshow To Afterglow, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. She writes weekly essays for her new publication, The Afterglow. PREVIOUS 10 wooden wedding rings you'll love NEXT Rebecca's Midwest vineyard bike wedding Show/Hide comments [ 36 ] I'm not digging it. I don't like the annonymous nature of the groom. Reply Why does it matter who you're getting married to? The whole point is to just get married, is it not? *snark intended* Reply I just looked at some of her other photos, most of which are clearly exceptional. The ring shot with the one hair- spectacular! However, there's one with the bride behind bars, and the groom sitting on the ground in front of them, as if *she* were locked in a cage. Creepy. Reply You crack me up!! I debated about whether or not I was going to post this particular picture… or even keep it for that matter! I think what makes it the most "off" is that she's actually smiling. I have other images where she's looking another direction and it feels more moody and fashion-like… but she wouldn't have liked them because she's self conscious about her side profile. Soooo…. perhaps it should've gone in the delete pile, or at least not been featured on my site… because it's definitely not my best… but on the other hand, all art is up for interpretation, and this image may inspire someone else to create something even more wonderful. 😉 Luckily, the bride & groom loved them, which is all that matters to me. I'm definitely not for everyone's tastes. Stay tuned and you may see even more "disturbing" images in the future!!! HA! Reply I'm relieved to see at least you're not defending the implications of the photo. As far as I'm concerned the wife smiling obediently at the anonymous husband's feet is somewhat sinister, let alone disturbing. Not sure I'd have picked this to show off your photography personally; though it's well shot photography is a form of art like any other and artwork with a message like this makes me a tad uncomfortable. To each their own, I guess. Reply PS. The bride & groom have lots of "pretty" and "normal" pictures from this engagement session… I just tend to post some of the most "out there" stuff on my blog because it's unique and… dare I say… "offbeat." 😉 Reply Yup, in all truth, I hate this shot, and I also LOVE most of the other shots from that set. I didn't see anything like that when I attended the wee little bridal shows here, or I'd have gotten a lot more excited about the engagement photos idea. Love the bars, the bridge, the echanted forest … and not a smidge of vaseline to be seen. 😉 Reply Ahhh…. Starting the marriage out right by putting her in her place. As long as there's a pic of the bride walking the groom with dog collar, I'm okay with it. 🙂 Reply I didn't see the images like that at all. Some clients want images that are more like fashion photography than traditional wedding/engagement photos, and a lot of fashion photography has framing like this, and uses environmental elements like fences to add some visual interest. Sometimes, it really is no more than aesthetics. Reply I like the creativity behind it, but it doesn't seem much like a wedding/engagement photo to me at all. But you know, experimentation always has its merits. I'm sure the rest of her photos are no exception either, some of which are really superb. Reply As a wedding photographer and daily reader of Anne's blog I like this photo! Getting people to smile, especially when they are camera shy is tricky. The lovely lady in the picture looks happy, and that's the point. I might have cropped more of the fellow out… but that's just me. 🙂 Keep up the great work Anne. Reply Maybe it's just the geek in me, but this shot reminds me of Princess Leia when she was enslaved by Jabba the Hutt… Reply I give kudos to the photographer for having a sense of humor about this photo; which I agree is rather …well…odd. Oh why sugar coat, its CREEPY!!! The headless Groom and his Slave Bride kneeling at his Headless Authority! And the fact that she is smiling makes it MORE creepy. But hey, if the intention was to be offbeat and different…then you have achieved it and I applaud you for that. We are all discussing it, so that means it has gone from being just a picture to actual ART. Woohoo! Reply Part of the problem with the pose is that it is taken in a (white) male dominated society. While in some parts of the country this is changing quicker than others, it is hard to view this photo outside of the societal context. For me this makes the photo more honestly on beat and less radically off beat. Reply That is, unless the couple pictured are into some kinky bdsm power-play dynamics and the bride is smiling cuz sheâ€™s all, â€œLook who I let out of the dungeon for the afternoon! Tee hee!â€ Coming from that perspective.. I think it's kinda hot! 🙂 Reply I thought this picture was incredibly hot. But then I'm a sub 😉 and the idea of being curled up at my man's feet while he stands protectively over me is very comforting to me. Men and women may be equals, but MY relationship has sphere's of influence, and I'm happy with that. I have to agree with Kelley that I think this particular picture manages to actually be less just a couple portrait and more actual art. Reply […] of you may remember me griping about how wedding photographers love to shoot women sitting at their partners' feet. Even my […] Reply […] Headless groom? Check. […] Reply […] Thanks also to my husband Ali for assisting even though he was also an honored guest… and to Ashley for helping me scout out the locations. The last image at 'gbh above is actually a tribute of sorts to my precious Anne Ruthmann, another Lowell local, who caused quite a stir over at offbeat bride when a photo of hers caused a lot of dramatic impassioned discussion about submissive …. […] Reply 'That is, unless the couple pictured are into some kinky bdsm power-play dynamics and the bride is smiling cuz she's all, "Look who I let out of the dungeon for the afternoon! Tee hee!"' This cracked me up. You can't get married if you don't have a head, silly groom! Reply Personally, I LOVE this photo. This would absolutely be something I'd do. The idea that I'd be sitting at my Fiance's feet (And my Fiancee's feet, as I'm also poly and I wouldn't leave Her out) with a genuine smile on my face doesn't seem creepy to me at all. I'm kind of glad that this photo was posted, it just goes to show that as offbeat as we all think we are, there's usually someone offbeat in a way we'd never think of. (I didn't want to say "more offbeat" cause it isn't really a competition.) My vanilla family and friends may not get it, but my kinky friends, good lord, they would fawn over this! I'm not, however, digging the headlessness. Thumbs up on the paternalistic action going on, though. Reply Offbeat Submissive, if I thought this photo was shot from a kink perspective, I would love it. But the impression I've gotten from all involved is that it was "just a fun pose," not a reflection of an overt D/s relationship. Reply "That is, unless the couple pictured are into some kinky bdsm power-play dynamics and the bride is smiling cuz she's all, "Look who I let out of the dungeon for the afternoon! Tee hee!" What if the couple pictured are into some kinky bdsm power-play dynamics and the bride is smiling cuz she's all, "Look, he let me out of the dungeon for the afternoon, and I'm not even on my leash! Tee hee!" Would it be okay then? I'm just curious, because (after also reading your other article on a similar picture with gender roles reversed) it seems like you're just projecting views of 'female subservience is horrifying but male subservience is okay.' "And there's just something very subservient about sticking the bride-to-be on the ground, wrapped around his feet and smiling." So what? Maybe she is subservient. Maybe that couple, and many other couples, enjoy practicing traditional gender roles. Is there something wrong with that? It's not like the photographer was all like, "Bride, you have to sit on the ground at your husband's feet because you are a woman and therefore should act like a slave to him." It's not like this photo has a note attached to it that says "Women, take note! This is how you should be – a slave to your husband – and you should love it… and if you don't then you should be ashamed of yourself!" I do agree with you on the head cut off being creepy. It's like she's posing in front of a statue, not a human being. Yuck! Reply it seems like you're just projecting views of 'female subservience is horrifying but male subservience is okay.' My goal was simply a tongue-in-cheek challenge the cultural assumptions that women are subservient to their husbands. I'm all for couples having whatever power dynamics work for them. Reply Oh, alright… I guess I just didn't see this photo, or other photos like it, as projecting a cultural assumption. I was thinking of it more as simply depicting this couples' relationship. But that's just me. 🙂 Reply i think thats the point of the picture… i love it Reply If it weren't for his absent head. I would love this shot. However, I AM in a fun-kinky relationship where this type of shot would be absolutely appropriate. Although he would love to have his head included. 🙂 Reply if you could see the grooms head i would just thing it was an "Army of Darkness" tribute or something, however without the head its rude, like the groom doesnt madder. Reply I actually love this. My relationship, however is based on D/s, and is unconventional. Being able to be yourself in your relationship. proud of it, proud to show the nature of it, regardless of what the circumstances might be, regardless of where you might be no matter how much it may be 'frowned upon' – is extremely touching to me. Reply If you're in a D/s relationship, then you'll definitely want to read this post: http://offbeatbride.com/2012/01/my-vanilla-poly-collaring-ceremony Reply OK the bride's face is the focal point…next to the groom's crotch. Does anyone else's eyes go there second? Should have cut her foot from the photo. A groom without a head! A wolf without a foot! And an aria plays in the background. Reply I do love it when men are headless on my romance novels, although they are usually also shirtless. Reply Seven years later and this post still sees spikes in interest, and comments! Ariel, you're so good at creating great headlines. 😉 Reply I can totally dig it. It's a pose– not for all, but not a crime!! Reply You know, if the image panned back to show his face, and he had either a chainsaw at the ready or a sword held overhead, (dramatic winds blowing their hair to one side optional), this could be a poster for an 80s action movie. Reply I love the photo! Yeah, I'm not so crazy that His head is cut off, but she is happy, and in the end that's all that matters, whatever the dynamic. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.