Justine Kurland (American, b. 1969); Gibraltar, 2000; satin laminated c-printn in wood frame. Collection of Phyllis Tuchman. Courtesy of the Artist. (TL.2007.74.19) x1200
WCMA Blog

Can photography capture your inner emotions?

If you are curious come to WCMA and find out. Hands-on activities play an important role in the Kidspace at WCMA: Artistic Curiosity exhibition. One section of the exhibition investigates the representation of inner lives. My co-curator Joann Harnden and I were particularly intrigued by the Diane Arbus photograph, Child with a Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, NYC, and the facsimile of Arbus’ contact sheet with twelve different negatives from that shoot. We enjoyed going behind the camera lens with Arbus and seeing her artistic choice. Which negative did she select? Why? Did her selection represent the inner life of the boy in the photograph? We designed a hands-on activity for this part of the exhibition to give people an opportunity to take photographs of themselves, family, and friends expressing different emotions and then discuss the degree to which the photograph conveys that emotion. The Williams Informational Technology department created a computer module just for our exhibition. We discussed the design, which emotions to include, and how to interface with a user.

 

Here is the final product:

Look at those happy faces! After taking pictures, you are asked to think about whether or not the photograph conveys the emotion you were asked to express. Does it represent your inner life? If you are with a group, you can talk about how each photo represents a person and their emotions. Do you all agree? Is that really your dad’s happy face? Are you surprised by the photos?

A close-up of the flat screen monitor shows prompts that we use for each of the four emotions and four spaces for photographs. Grab your family, friends, or just come as you are and try it out!

Elizabeth Gallerani
Coordinator of Mellon Academic Programs

 

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