Tag Archives: gaze

Exercise 3.4 – Five types of gaze

Time is pressing on, and I really need to get assignment 3 finished. However, this exercise asks us to collect images of at least five of the different types of gaze explored in Project 2 –

  • the spectator’s gaze
  • the internal gaze
  • the direct address
  • the look of the camera
  • the bystander’s gaze
  • the averted gaze
  • the audience gaze
  • the editorial gaze.

I have written about The Gaze in a previous blog post, so rather than go out to actively collect images for this, I have decided to use some of the previous images I took during Part 3, as I want to include as many of the elements of the exercise as I can.

The brief is thus:

The objective here is to produce a series of five portraits that use some of the types of gaze defined above. The specifics of how you achieve this are down to you; you choose which types of gaze you wish to address and who your subject might be in relation to this decision. What you are trying to achieve through these portraits is a sense of implied narrative, which you can explain through a short supporting statement. Don’t try and be too literal here; the viewer must be able to interact with the portraits and begin to make their own connection to the work, aided by the type of gaze you have employed.

My original plan had been to select a variety of images which simply illustrate different types of gaze in an unconnected series of images, but upon reflection I realised that there is more to the exercise than this. Not only do we need to show different types of gaze, but there should also be a sense of narrative within the series. I therefore selected all the images from a photoshoot I did last month for a village event to commemorate the centenary of the award of the Victoria Cross to William Gosling, a soldier in the First World War. Across Britain, soldiers who gained this military accolade during that War are being honoured 100 years to the day it was earned, and a plaque is being laid for each of them in their home village or town. I was asked by the Parish Office to take photographs of the event for posterity.

Here is the series.

This exercise was more difficult than it might at first appear. Many of my images could have fitted into more than one category of gaze, and the need to make the images as portraits limited possible contenders in what was an event with a large number of people crammed together. Also, as an integrated narrative of an event, the series only gives part of the story. I would have preferred to bookend it with longer shots, showing more of the parade and pageantry. However, as an exercise in looking at people in different ways, it was very useful.

I also need to note here that whole books have been written on The Gaze, and the many different ways and levels in which it can be interpreted. Below, I have listed a few links for future reference.

Chandler, Daniel (1998) Notes on the gaze. http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/gaze/

http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Gaze

Shukul, RN. (2008) Introduction to elements of GAZE theory http://mediaelectron.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/introduction-to-elements-of-gaze-theory.html

In addition, there is also Jacques Lacan’s theories on the Gaze to explore. They are relevant in general, but not specifically to this exercise.

https://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/psychoanalysis/lacangaze.html

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Note on ideas for assignment 3

A couple of ideas have so far presented themselves to me, and I now need to think them through in more detail.

  1. A study of the Victoria Cross event which will be happening in the village in April, showing behind the scenes and the event itself. (Window – as I will not specifically be involved myself, but functioning in an observatory capacity). It would be relatively straightforward, and continue with the themes of village life which I have explored in previous work.
  2. A response to my frustration that middle aged people, and particularly women seem to be an almost completely invisible group in advertising and are hugely under-represented in literature and visual media unless they are functioning in a business capacity. I need to work on the background to this, with a feminist perspective, but my initial thoughts are along the lines of a series of diptych images, of local group scenes with the middle aged women blanked out, and then portraits of them alongside, explaining who they are. I did a quick test as an example below.

img_2168-ass-3-trialThis would be accompanied by individual portraits of the people, with a short explanation of how they would describe themselves, e.g. in the above photo – Holly, photography student and local councillor; Bronwen, author and creative arts teacher; Sandra, TEFL teacher and runner. This is definitely a Mirrors piece, in the same vein as Exercise 3.2 and I need to think over who would be the best candidates to ask to participate, as they need to be willing to show something about how they see themselves in the individual portraits.

Thinking a bit further about how the individual portraits might be set, I also need to pin down how the portraits should be set and the type of gaze they include. Direct would indicate, “Here I am. Look at me, please!”, while Averted might give a more diffused feel. My initial reaction would be for Averted, but on reflection I think that it continues the trope about invisibility, but in a voluntary, almost participatory way. The more I think about it, the more complex and important the gaze will be to the series.