Sunday, February 28, 2010

Putting on your happy face.

For my second idea of a Sophie Calle project, I thought about my work as a camera man. Camera men shoot events from races, games, to presidential debates. I wanted to capture some pictures which would show the change in people's personality from their natural state, to the state which resulted when the camera was pointed at them. These photos are from a BYU basketball game where I wasn't crewed to work as a camera man, so I followed my friend Brian around and saw life through his perspective.

This is Brian. He is a camera man. He is a great, normal guy. He is married, has two children and lives in Lindon. He has no magical powers or persuasive influence above anyone else I've met. (And when I'm in Brian's shoes, I'm pretty much a "Plain Jane" too.) He is good at using television cameras to make magic, also known as production. You can see into the lens of the camera here and see that it holds no magical powers either. It's a glass lens with an opening that light enters into and the image is transmitted.

Here we have to two members of the broadcast crew for CBS Sports who will be featured on camera during the show. Here they are standing around rehearsing the open to their show. At this point, the camera is not on them and they are waiting to start. You can see from their body language that they aren't the best friends in the world, and they don't love every minute of their job.

Once the show starts and the camera is pointed at them, they are the happiest two guys in the world. They stand so close to each other and make it look as though it is completely natural and normal for them. They are smiling and life is good. This is a total reversal from what was going on before the camera was pointed at them.

Next Brian shot a cheerleader, the blonde one in the middle of the picture, from BYU's cheer squad. Here she is during the game before she was on camera. She has a frown on her face and her posture does not convey the message that she cares if BYU wins or loses the game. She is simply where she has to be, doing what she has to do because she signed up to be a cheerleader. The same could be said for the rest of the squad around her.

Now the camera is on her. She is smiling, standing up, jumping, and yelling in support of BYU. She is holding her pompoms and making sure to only let Brian shoot flattering angles of her. What a change! Brian did nothing but turn the camera in her direction during a timeout and she immediately sprang to life.

As the game progressed, she even did an unassisted back flip on the hardwood floor. All for the camera.

Sadly, Brian was never asked to shoot members of the crowd. I thought certainly it would have been possible to find even greater changes in personality of fans in the crowd. It is fascinating to watch the transformation, and often lack of good judgment that accompanies, that takes place in people when a camera is pointed at them.


  1. Great photos...i personally did not feel any "sophie calle" aspect to it thought. I felt it is more of a documentary of the x games.

  2. I agree with Josh. I didn't see much correlation between this project and Sophie Call (or you for that matter), but I thought the pictures were great, especially the one of the skier against the star-strewn sky.

  3. Great photos! They're very fun to look at. But I agree with the others that the concept could be clearer. Maybe you could explain your role in the essay more with more text?

  4. I would also agree with Josh and Jocelyn, the pictures are great but seems to be more of a documentary than a Sophie Calle project.

  5. The skier frozen in mid air with the camera trained directly on him is an amazing action shot. I can't believe you could get it so clear with such low lighting. You must have a pretty awesome camera and a great eye.