Ben Highmore

Ben Highmore

This week’s seminar was focused on Ben Highmore’s text about everyday life. Highmore discusses and gives examples of how the way in which we live our everyday lives are affected by different ideologies created in our society, the backgrounds we come from and past traumas we have experienced.

Everyday life revolves around the mundane, the usual routines, emotions, time waiting and pleasure and this is repetitive. However all these erythematic situations in our lives reflect on the social conditions we experience, the political choices which are made in society and historical significance which affects us until this day-in-age.

ImageImage

Considering this we discussed in class how different situation influence the way different people react to different things, this could be winning the lottery which for women could mean an opportunity to make a change in theirs and other people’s lives like family and close friends, as the socially constructed view is that women have a more nurturing streak. Whereas with men, winning the lottery to them may be interpreted differently perhaps meaning buying a new car and a house as it is genetically proven that men are more self-centred than women. This interpretation presents the umbrella term.

By analysing how our lives would be effected when a certain event in our everyday life changes we came up with various proposals in which we may use in our group projects. One of my ideas was to portray how a person’s everyday life may change if a simple thing like transport was taken out of their day, how would they make their way around the city? By investigating this it will give me the opportunity to see how a person’s persona and opinion on their everyday life may change without the use of transport.

Ben Highmore continues on by saying that our ethnicities, sexuality and class are all included in our understanding of how we view everyday life e.g. if a gay man is a victim of prejudice in society he is bound to feel as though perhaps everyday life is a wounding experience for him, the discrimination may not be daily but his opinions and views of his life may be based on the way he is treated by others, which brings up another point Highmore introduces which is identification. Our lack of awareness of different sexualities or separation from people with different sexual preferences from us may be the result of much discrimination against homosexuals which takes over the judgement of the victims and us.

Highmore then argues that traumas and bad experiences in the past change the way we approach life forcing us to challenge life in a new approach in order to move forward and changing our opinions on how we perceive our lives after these events- ‘ In its negotiation of difference and commonality it might potentially find new commonalities and breathe new life into difference’ (Highmore, B. p3  2002) we are forced to let go of the usual conventions in which we live through whilst working towards this change.

Image

The everyday is where our values, beliefs and ideologies results to our mundane choices- ‘When sexist ideologies are not recognised as sexist by either dominating sex or the dominated one, then ideology can be seen as both illusion and lived actually’ (Highmore, B. p7 2002). However ideologies established in society may not only be to blame for how today’s culture works, news reports, films and fiction construct meaning around the events, people and conditions we experience in our everyday lives which we then choose to appreciate or reject- ‘The very language we use to describe the so-called facts interferes in this process of finally deciding what is true and what is false’ (Hall, S p292 1992).

Advertisements

Week 1

Image

This week we were given the task to challenge or conform to how the both genders are represented in the media through the use of lighting, particularly in photographs. The media uses a variety of techniques in order to convey how masculinity and femininity should be portrayed to us.

Image

One example of this which I found whilst watching the latest Gucci perfume ad was the way the lighting focused on the two characters differently. The woman in this scene is seen to have rays of lighting reflecting onto her face softening and complementing her features whilst offering us the emotion she is feeling toward the man in front her, in contrast to the male model  who has a dim light reflecting onto him giving gives us no emotion apart from the side and the back of his head which makes the features we are offered look sharp and harsh. This puts the male in a powerful position as we are not given emotion giving him a sense of power over the woman and the whole advert, continuing the stereotypical view of the media and society being male dominate. Another example a perfume ad which I analysed was Beyonce’s Heat fragrance advert, compared to male fragrance adverts Beyonce’s contained more dissolves and fades offering a slow and smooth atmosphere with strong lighting which introduces the idea of realism making her look natural and attractive.

Image

Furthermore we wanted to contradict the way in which women are portrayed in pictures through lighting therefore we used dim lighting and colourless editing techniques in order to defy the judgement that females should look appealing and blissful. We decided to take pictures with a strong emotionless facial express in order to conform to the masculine representation of men. The black darkness depicted on the left side of our faces make our facial features look unappealing and manly which was the approach we wanted to establish and by doing so we enforced the idea that women should not always look alluring through bright lighting in order to look stereotypically feminine in photographs or the wider range media.