Semiotics: Crit

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.

Semiotics: Photography Cropping

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.

Semiotics: Aesthetics

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.

Semiotics: Tutorial

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

Semiotics: Illusions

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.

100% opacity image

90% opacity image

80% opacity image

70% opacity image

60% opacity image


Semiotics: Proxemics Photography

To explore proxemics I decided to explore street photography. I used photography to record crowds of people and the distances between members of the public. This was the first time I had every tried to do street photography and initially I found it to be very challenging. Often when taking photographs individuals would move out of the way or the camera and start acting unnatural, therefore making it difficult to record individuals natural behaviour.



From my selection of photographs I chose the ones that were most successful, showing how individuals naturally move around in a space with other individuals, and edited the images. I made all of the images black and white, this was because some photographs had certain individuals stand out as a focal point due to them wearing brightly coloured clothing or having brightly coloured hair, as the focus of my photography is to analyse how individuals stand in relation to one another I needed to ensure my photography was focusing on a group of individuals instead of drawing attention to one. Finally my images were also cropped to further focus on the spaces between individuals.

Semiotics: Proxemics Research

Inspired by previous research into semiotics, I decided to further my investigation into the study of proxemics. I chose proxemics as it is something I had heard of before and not many designers have explored the topic, therefore it would be a challenge explaining a topic that many people have not heard of in a new creative way.

Behind the Words by Sam Taylor. A series of books investigating kinesics, proxemics, haptics and paralanguage through infographics.