Photographing Phoons

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Phoons is just a fancy name given to a style of posing. But the difference between this pose and other poses is that this one is meant to be funny and to appear out of place due to its unrealistic style. First let see a typical definition of what a phoon is commonly defined as:

"phooning is the act of striking a pose where all the limbs are bent at the joints, and the body is bent forward at the waist. One of the arms is rotted towards the front, and the other is rotated towards the back. The foot not touching the ground hangs over your butt. Both arms should be on opposite sides, it doesn't matter which one is towards the front or back." Urban dictionary.com

This style of posing is meant for fun projects and has really taken off in recent times much like "planking" has. Since the project can be done almost anywhere and by anyone it is very commonly mimicked. The idea is to select a location and it doesn't really matter where this location is, and have a subject pretend to be running through the scene but in an exaggerated pose.

In most photographic projects the photographer tries to clearly focus on the subject to render it in a crisp and sharp way. In phoons the opposite is true most of the time, especially if the subject who is phooning is found amongst a crow of people. Here the fun aspect of it is to focus on some other subject within the scene and maintain the phooner some distance away or semi hidden. Your audience's intent should then be to locate the phoon within the general scene.

Another variation is to select a vantage point that is some distance away like a landscape and introduce a subject who will be doing the pose. The shot is meant to offer an audience a landscape scene with a phoon somewhere in the composition and again, the audience tries to locate it.

There are some sites that specialize in phoon photography and their attractiveness is that it usually allows other people from around the world to post photos of their phoons, thus creating a global community dedicated to this particular and somewhat odd technique.

Follow this link for more examples from a very popular and well known phooning site: www.phoons.com. Regardless of where you create your phoon or who you use to do the pose, this particular style is not really a commercial undertaking other than to use in posts such as this one or sometimes for general photographic publications, but overall it's an Internet practice. However, more recently some wedding and event photographers have started adding this technique to their repertoire to add yet another interesting aspect to what are mostly routine photographic projects.

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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Your subjects do not have to be dressed in any particular way, in fact they should be dressed in regular street clothes like if they were really just running and not aware of being photographed.

Much like the the recent popularity gained by the those big groups of people who suddenly start a dance routine in the middle of a public place, also known as a flash mob, there have been several occasions where once a crowd realizes that a phoon is taking place they spontaneously start to imitate the phooner and this has proven to be a really fun exercise for everyone involved, often without anyone having the knowledge or realizing that their photos are being taken.

Bottom line, just be creative with this project and allow yourself the opportunity to experiment with different lenses and under different conditions and just have plain old fun while doing it.

Another alternative or variation that can be tried with this theme is to use a model in a costume and do a phoon pose in any large and public place. Although this in itself may not be a commercial production this has often been used as a marketing ploy and often with great success.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 6 comments

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I've not heard of this term. I've always thought of this pose as "fake running"


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 5 years ago

we'll I learnt something today. LOL!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

psychicdog.net: Who would have thought of such a funny name for a simple pose?


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 5 years ago

indeed I wonder who did?


LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

This is funny. My husband always wants to pose like this and it drives me batty. Now that I know there's a name for it, I somehow feel reassured, like I'm not alone. There are other people out there whose spouses insist on doing this. There may even be couples that do this together. That maybe I should try it myself or at least lighten up and have phoon with it!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

LetitiaFT: Thank you. Yea my wife hates when I do this too....lol

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