Tag Archives: the 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/


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.



Some thoughts on advertising, unconnected to my current work, NSFW

I’m currently beavering away at putting together a plan for assignment 3, but alongside this I have also been doing some technical learning to improve my skills and picking up some other ideas which have no bearing on my current place in the course. There’s one thought that I need to get down on the blog for future work.

Please do not click on the link below if you are offended by images of full frontal male nudes.

I found this fascinating, as it appears to be a serious, genuine fashion show by one of the handbag designers, Louwe at the Madrid Fashion Show a few years ago. Understandably, it is a very popular link on gay sites. Nude women have been a feature of fashion advertising (and just about all other advertising too)for many years, so much so that we hardly blink when we see them, but it is extremely unusual to see men in this way. I’ve tried to find some background as to what the message of the show was meant to be without success, so I am going to make a few guesses here.

  • they used nude male models to be sensationalist and to shock, and thus to get more news coverage
  • they thought it would be different and jokey

However, if the idea was to show off the handbags, the idea went spectacularly wrong. I defy any heterosexual female to be able to be able to report anything much about the bags on first viewing. All that naked male flesh strutting down the runway is impossible to ignore because it is so outside our normal experience. The concept manages to put men into exactly the same position of being subject to The Gaze as women have routinely been for most of history and it is a very unsettling feeling for both sexes. I imagine that the models and men in general feel very exposed by it, while as a woman it makes me wonder if this is how women in general are perceived by men (in general), especially when women are wearing body-hugging or limited attire. Fashion runways are routinely filled with nearly or wholly naked women, and it is hardly remarked upon. In the arts, the situation is similar. Although there is room for the occasional male nude, numbers are miniscule compared to naked females.

I haven’t yet done the section on The Gaze, and I would be interested to know what other students a bit further along in the course would say about it.