Exercise 5 – Eye Contact and Expression

In this exercise we had to focus on eye contact and expression, these are both instrumental in creating a portrait in which you are after a specific outcome, be it emotive, moody or artistic. If the model is under your direction it is specifically important to explain directly what you are looking for for this image and how you would like to look. Looking directly into the camera gives the viewer a connection with the subject, this in turn builds an understanding and relationship in which the viewer learns about the model by his or her expression, the same could be said when there is no eye contact however this does lack the direct connection to the viewer. Neither options are right or wrong, better or worse they simply work with the outcome you are after or not.


The above image is a prime example of were eye contact benefits the overall feel of the image, the closeness of the frame brings in the subject focusing your view directly at the subjects eyes, thus with the eye contact you are drawn further into the image, perhaps pondering what it is he is thinking.


This is on the other hand a good example of when eye contact is not perhaps necessary, the models facial expression and position of the head, looking down to the ground gives the viewer the immediate understanding that the subject is sad or worrying. This image also emphasises the importance of facial expression and eye contact, as both compositions are very similar, only the focal length differs, this does in fact aide the first image and in this instance the composition certainly suits the expression.


Lastly in my opinion is a prime example of an portrait that doesn’t perhaps focus on either facial expression or eye contact. Even tho there is eye contact it the composition completely spoils the image with the subject remaining center, there is no real purpose in the image, be it expression, composition or eye contact and it seems quite flat. I think this image shows that although eye contact is important in some images it cannot be the sole aspect within it, and it require a complimentary composition.

In conclusion I found this exercise to be an interesting look at what works and what doesn’t, it has given me some interesting portraits to work on in the future and ideas that I would like to continue working on. I also found that working with the model, using direction and suggestions I have certainly continued in building my confidence working with models.


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