During my crit it was suggested that I further develop my self portrait photography of me re enacting gestures related to flirtatious body language. It was suggested I make a series of GIFs of me acting out a gesture, however one frame in each GIF is replaced with an image from another gesture, therefore mixing the gestures and the meaning associated with them. To begin doing this I reshot the photoshoot, this was due to all images for one gesture needing to continuously shot and have the same lighting, which was not the case with the first photoshoot. Above are my contact sheets from the photoshoot, each gesture is represented by a row of 10 images, which will make a 10 frame GIF. In the contact sheet in each row I have replaced the keyframe for that gesture with a frame from another gesture.
The gestures featured in the above contact sheet include: winking, lip biting, licking lips, playing with earrings, playing with necklace, playing with hair, touching face, touching neck and touching lips.
During my crit I had a large body of work to present however I did not have a final outcome. In my work I had explored a range of areas relating to body language, for example proxemics, flirting and advertising analysis, however I was struggling to refine my work in a creative and effective outcome. Whilst discussing my work with the tutors and other students many possible ideas for how I could progress my work were highlights, such as:
- Go back to proxemics or an area of body language I am interested in
- Analyse a single particular gesture of interest
- Look at combining body language with another theme
- Look at a way of giving people dating advice based on body language
- Cut gestures or body language out of magazines
- Analyse eye shapes or something small where you have to look at details
- Research gestures in jobs such as dancers
- Look at the ways in which different jobs change the body
- Investigate the speed of gestures
- Create GIFs mixing frames from different gestures
- Look at the books ‘Decoding Advertising’ and ‘Notes on Gesture’
- Whitechapel gallery books on body language
- Look at how artists show expressions in fine art
- Censor body parts in body language
- Analyse when gestures become meaningless
- Distances between people and what they mean
- Look at gestures in film and focus on how one gesture is portrayed, for example how people hold cigarettes
From the wide range of ideas given there are some that particularly interested me, these were looking at how the gestures in jobs change the body as well analysing a specific gesture in film, for example how people hold cigarettes. Both of these ideas however would require extensive research to produce a well researched outcome, therefore due to not having much time before assessments I decided to go with the idea of mixing gestures together through GIFs. This idea was inspired by my contact sheets where I used self portrait photography to capture myself reenacting flirtatious body language. It was suggested that I take a series of photographs for one gesture, and replace the key from from that series with a frame from another gesture. This idea I thought was quite amusing and it creates confusion and distorts the intentions of both gestures, even though they both aim to appear flirtatious.
After researching flirtatious body language I realised that many of the gestures associated with flirtatious body language are included in advertising to help sell products. I found that this technique was particularly used in high fashion and perfume advertisements. To investigate this association between flirtatious body language and advertising I have analysed the two advertisements below. Not only have I noted the gestures displayed, but I have also looked at the context of the advert and the other semiotic devices used as these are also important in forming how the advert is interpreted as a whole.
‘Heat’ Women’s Fragrance by Beyonce
- Beyonce is a well known American singer known for being strong, confident and seductive, these traits are imbued onto the perfume
- Directly looking at the camera, is a strong sign that someone is interested when flirting
- ‘Heat’ and ‘catch the fever’ are associated with heat, sizzling, steam, these words all have sexual connotations
- Hand raised to her face drawing the viewer’s gaze to her face
- She is wearing silk which is associated with luxury, wealth and is sexual
- Connotations of red include heat, love, lust and sensuality
- A low camera angle makes her appear powerful and confident
- Her dress is short and ends at her upper thigh conveying seductiveness
- ‘Catch the fever’ is written on top of her breasts, immediately drawing attention and making the perfume appear sensual
- Her mouth is open which connotes sexual desire, temptation and playfulness
‘Miss Dior’ Women’s Fragrance Advert Featuring Natalie Portman, Photographed by Tim Walker, 2013
- Dior are a French brand known for class and sophistication, ‘Miss’ suggests that this perfume is for younger women who aspire to the brands identity
- Natalie Portman is smart, sexy, charismatic and sophisticated, these traits are applied to the character Miss Dior, as well as the perfume
- The pink rose connotes romance, love and flirtation
- Directly looking at the camera, eye contact is a strong sign that someone is interested when flirting
- Biting a rose and holding her hand near her face is a way of drawing attention to her lips and face
- Open mouth connotes sexual temptation, desire and seductive playfulness
- Seemingly naked women leaning on a chair signifies confidence, sexual desire and playfulness
- Her eyes draw the viewer down to the rose
As influenced by my research into books exploring the themes of love and flirting, I have closely cropped my a select few of my photographs from my previous photoshoot. The photoshoot featured a series of self portrait photography, documenting me reenacting flirtatious body language gestures. From the series of photographs I selected those which best illustrated some of the main flirtatious gestures to experiment with. Above I have experimented with the gestures winking, licking lips and lip biting. In photoshop I explored cropping each image in a variety of ways and found that the more closely the cropped the image the more successful it was. By closely cropping the image you feel closer to the subject and therefore it is more intimate, this idea of an intimate distance relates to my earlier research into proxemics. Furthermore I enjoy how the photographs are closely cropped as they remove the subject’s identity, which not only help the audience to focus on the body language and not on the model, but it also allows the audience to easily identify with the model or apply the actions being shown to someone else.
I started to exploring flirting through self portrait photography, above are contact sheets showing me reenacting flirtatious body language. To capture the entire of the gestures I set the camera to take 10 continuous shoots once the trigger was pressed, therefore capturing the action of the gesture in 10 photographs. The body language included are as follow:
- Lip biting
- Licking lips
- Rapid blinking
- Raised eyebrows
- Looking up
- Looking down
- Looking away
- Touching face
- Touching lips
- Touching neck
- Touching jewellery
- Leaning in close
Image 1 – Tracking makes the title appear open, Image 3 – Font may be too stylistic to use for titles, words may become difficult to read
LinoType fonts research into professional black letter fonts inspired by the font used in ‘OF LOVE’ by Saxon Campbell. These fonts all need to be purchased, however I used this initial research to inform my search for free fonts.
Image 2 – Tracking makes the title appear too open, Image 3 – Angular style would be better suited to the close cropped aesthetic I have been exploring, Image 6 – Too stylistic, Image 7 – Too Stylistic, Image 8 – Rounded so appears more cartoonish than sophisticated and intimate
AB by Aleix Font – Book exploring the themes of flirting and love. The photography features close ups making the images appear more personal and intimate. The focus is also on the body language instead of the people within the images.
Secrets of Body Language by Elizabeth Bitman – Close intimate crops of body language. Images overlap the text in places which draws attention to the images but also makes part of the text illegible.
OF LOVE by Saxon Campbell – A book exploring the theme of love. This book continues the trend of using close ups and closely cropped images to suggest intimacy.
Above is a range of research I did into books exploring the themes of love and flirtation, this was to look at how the topic was aesthetically conveyed. From my research it was very apparent that close up photography and closely cropped images helped to clearly convey intimacy and make the images appear more personal. Earlier in my project I began exploring proxemics through photography, I will now revisit photography to explore flirtation, however instead of using street photography I will be doing close up portraits.
During a tutorial with the tutors many suggestions and ideas were brought up in relation to where I could take this project, as previously I was struggling to think of how to progress the idea of using the proxemics illusion. Below is a list of all of the ideas that were suggested:
- A set of three books ‘the gesture of… flirting/knowing the rules of positive non-verbal communication/contemporary gestures’
- Foldable proximity illusion poster on contained within a book
- Set of cards on flirting
- Pub flirting game
- Explore how in noisy environments such as bars and clubs we can still communicate
- How flirting links to dress
- How tattoos link to flirting
- Analyse flirting in Hollywood e.g. how often does George Clooney smile
- Explore the link between smiling and endorphins
- Explore how laughing is contagious
Think! Campaign by Jennifer Tulip
Soulwax – Any Minute Now
Continuing my investigation into proxemics I want to create work that would force the viewer to interact with the proximity of the work, therefore creating a piece that would communicate the study of proxemics through interaction. Above is my research into two different ways in which this can be done simply with black and white shapes. The top example has an image of a motorcycle set to a low opacity, this image has then had black bars overlaid on top. The bottom example says ‘Soulwax Any Minute Now” at a low opacity, but this time the image has had white circles overlaid on top. The illusion forces the viewer to move further away from the image for the image/type to be revealed, the lower the opacity of the image/type the further away the viewer has to stand.
Below I have chosen one of my previously edited photographs and begun to experiment with this technique. From my experimentations I found the lower opacity images t0 be the most successful, although this images work best printed at a large scale and sometimes are not effective viewed on screen. To further progress this would I would like to explore using the technique to make the viewer stand at specific distances from a series of images, each image representing a different significant distance in the study of proxemics, for example a personal distance and a social distance.
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