Creativity Challenge #35: Body Language

Clickin Moms hosts monthly Creativity Challenges which is a wonderful way to stretch yourself artistically. February’s challenge is called “Body Language” and involves taking a photo that doesn’t include a face but conveys emotion. From Sarah Wilkerson, host of the challenge:

“This month, focus on what the body alone can convey. How can you capture joy without seeing a smile, sadness without including the tears, uncertainty without the furrowed brow? Here are some examples of classic body language cues:

  • Anger/Aggression: Rigid body, clenched fists, leaning forward, hands on hips
  • Self-Isolation/Defensiveness: Limbs crossed and/or pulled in very close to the body, head tucked in or turned away, body made as small as possible
  • Contemplation/Introspection: Body relaxed, fingers touching the face or head
  • Lethargy/Sadness: Body sagging or hunched, shoulders and limbs loose, chin/face low, hands over the face
  • Impatience: Body tense, hands on hips or arms crossed, weight shifted to one side or the other
  • Happiness/Joy: Body relaxed and open, limbs uncrossed or away from the body, chin/face up

When working with two or more subjects, body language cues can help to indicate the connections/relationships between the subjects, and utilizing your knowledge of those cues will greatly improve your ability to capture warmth and affection in family or couples portraits. Look for bodies/faces angled towards each other (or away), physical proximity, whether the chest is opened up towards the other subject, whether subjects are touching, whether arms or legs are crossed, feet facing towards or away, open or closed palms, body rigidity or relaxation, and the mirroring of overall body language.

For the purposes of this exercise, you may not include the subject’s face in the image. That may involve shooting the subject from the back, cropping below the neck, photographing a figure engulfed in shadow or blocked by other elements … but whatever your approach, no part of the eyes, nose, mouth, etc may be visible. You must rely on the language of the body itself to convey feeling and emotion.”

So this is my take… I’d love to hear what you think I’m feeling here.

Austin lifestyle black and white photographer

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