I started out with a lot of ideas questioning what a self is, but time crunched and inspiration struck in the moment – leading to this idea. I used several images taken in a row, layered into an animated GIF to create tension between the photographer-subject-viewer relationship that occurs in photographs. There’s a lot of “looking” going on in this image – you’re looking at me, I’m actively looking through the camera and at the world around me trying to find “the shot,” and then my gaze shifts to meet yours, hopefully unexpectedly! I was inspired in part by my lack of conviction in taking street portraits, even though I enjoy looking at them. I feel that as photographers there’s something problematic about objectifying people, and many people do so without thinking about the power relationships entailed in the gaze. This also applies to self-portraits, especially the kind that we post on Instagram: whose gaze do we imagine peering back at us when we construct our self-images? How does that discipline us (cf. Foucault for more on this line of thinking)? This image is meant to break into that space and hopefully confront the viewer and create a sense of discomfort and reflection (and a little bit of humor, too!), while it represents my own sort of implication in the act. This is more of a rough draft on the thought, the execution could certainly benefit from a few more iterations!
Amanda: Aaron – I’m so thrilled to see your style and to learn more about you as a photographer! This image immediately evokes thoughts of advertisement – the “products” and “props” in this image are just as large of a subject as you are. I can easily envision this being an ad for the camera, glasses, or even a lifestyle shot since all of those seem to tell a consistent story. THEN I realized that you actually submitted a GIF image & suddenly the photograph changed completely – I love that you played around with the impact of a gaze, but also really pushed the boundary of what defines a photograph or a video of a gif or a time lapse or a stitched image. To me, this also showed the internal thought process behind a photograph – you look around discretely with eyes darting around, trying to decide if the shot is actually what you envision and whether or not it would be good enough to justify the awkwardness of the encounter. I would love to see you push this further in the still-image aspect to see how you would capture your thoughts on being a photographer on the street without the moving image.
Beatrice: I love the uniqueness of your shot. I would have never thought to make a gif for my pictures. It was definitely surprising when I realized the movement in your photo – I almost thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. On one hand, I really like the creativity of using a gif, but like Amanda, I would also like to see a still image self portrait and how you would interpret that. I do love the vintage feel, focus, and angle of your photo.
Fernando: My first thought was that your picture looked like a stock photo, very pretty but something we all have seen before – and then it moved! And then I could understand the intensity behind the photo. The way your eye moved made me think that you were searching for something actively, even almost desperately. And then, when you look straight into the camera, breaking the idea that we have that we are seeing without being seen – almost like that awkward moment when, for some reason, you are looking at a stranger and they look back at you before you can avert your eyes. The more I think about it, I realize that this picture, even though it tells me very little about you directly, still allows me to glimpse at what kind of person you are – for example, you seem to be someone who likes to provoke people to think. Overall, I think it’s a great picture and a great idea.
Horn: Aaron, I love your picture! The view used is perfect. The old look you made with the old camera, it is a good reminder that despite new technologies and new cameras, the older models still allow for great photos. The eye that moves is fun. There reminding to observe the details of a photo, to change your point of view, move around the picture. I think the editing was done through software but the end result is beautiful
Jessica: What a beautiful photograph! The composition and color scheme leave nothing to be desired. The eye movement successfully startles and unsettles me each time I see it. I am interested in hearing more on your point of view of street photography. The concept is great and your approach is highly creative. If you were to refine this, I would love to see more specificity of the point you would like to get across.
Stephen: Wow. Your image is great. The closeness – it’s very direct and doesn’t lead to distraction! The camera brings the eye off you a for that split moment -then comes the change. I was genuinely frightened at first. I thought I was dreaming that you moved. But no – it’s that!
Really well made, and executed! There’s an imperfect stutter in your eye movement – that’s add a bit of horror to it too! It may have been nice to add another subtle change – to something that you’d search for. Maybe a click of the camera as you found the shot. But genuinely. It didn’t need it. Great gif.