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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – Shoot Mod4#2 – Responding to Bruce Nauman (Version 2)

Using the images I shot of my husband and presented as full-face images in my previous blog, I decided to crop them in much the same way as Nauman did with his ‘Studies for Holograms’.

Removing the eyes from the images has the effect of reducing the images to anonymous faces with an almost sculptural appearance. (Blog on full face versus cropped images)

As can be seen in the images, the focus is now fully on the model’s mouth.  The viewer is drawn into the transformation and contortion of the face produced by squeezing, stretching, and pulling the muscles with the model’s hands.  These images show the extent to which the elastic form of the face can be manipulated.

The intent of these images is to provoke a response.  The viewer should feel an emotion from the images, even if the exact or intended emotion is not clear.

The edit chosen for the edits has been designed to distort and confuse the eyes, messing with the viewer’s brain.  The images have a holographic type feel to them without actually being holographic. (see blog post on colour choices)

The images are much more uncomfortable than the full face versions and have more of a mocking narrative to them.  The colour choice adds to the uneasy feeling that is generated by eyeless faces. Whilst my husband is merely pulling funny faces in these images, the crop means that the expressions and contortions are absurd.  The humorous nature of the images has gone.  All that is left are challenging and uncomfortable images.

Visually the series of images is compelling.  I find myself staring at the images for a long time.  My brain is working really hard to try and interpret them.  I find this bizarre as I created the images and so know what they are expressing.  There is, though, a compulsion almost for my brain to interpret the non-verbal facial expressions which are only partly evident.

The effect of the colour edit and crop on the images is quite profound.  The narrative has been altered and the experience of the viewer completely changed from the original images. An interesting and thought-provoking experiment.

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