Exercise 3.4 The Gaze

Here i decided to try and analyse the variety of gazes that might occur in an every day social context.  Inspired by the work of Muybridge in the 19th century to determine through photography exactly how a horse galloped, i wanted to explore how the gaze changes during a very short conversation, and how the viewer might then interpret it.

Here, friends were sat outside talking after a long country ramble.  A friend just out of shot is talking to the lady who is the subject of the photographs.  Effectively this is the spectator’s gaze with the person in the image removed.

Given that the entire sequence of images were taken in less than a minute, how many of these gazes reflect a variety? How many were picked up on by the person speaking to her at the time?  

Engaged, entertained?


Disbelief, embarrassment?


Awkward? Embarrassed?

This was a deliberate attempt to try and explore how many different gazes could be extracted from a very short period of time and all other things in the frame remaining the same.  There is a strong narrative that comes through about the unseen speaker even though we dont actually see them.  We try to work out what they are saying: telling a rude joke? Announcing to the wider group an embarrasing secret about the subject? Daring the subject to do or say something?  Do they go a little too far, judging by the 3rd and 5th images?  The sequencing of the various gazes and expressions allow us to build our own story.

In assignment 2 I created titles for the images that clearly directed the viewer in order to ensure that my meaning came across.  Following discussions with my tutor about giving the viewer more room for interpretation it was interesting to explore that here.  I think I have decided that this is quite hard to do, reflecting a lack of courage in my work.  By giving people space for their own interpretation they might ‘miss the point’ and then declare my work to be rubbish.  But it is equally true that they might think it rubbish when they definitely do attach the intended meaning.  So better to be brave.  To guide rather than direct the viewer.



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