Two linked photographic projects (exhibited together) exploring the physical expression of human emotion and the capacity of photographic media to capture this through facial expressions. These images photographed opera singers consciously performing intense feelings. These two inter-linked projects explore the physical expression of human emotion. Opera Interna focuses on facial expression,
whilst First Act also incorporates the physicalisation of emotion elsewhere in the body. The work was inspired by social and
scientific research conducted for Alter Ego (output 1). This research, which involved communication with leading face scientists,
Paul Ekman and Vikki Bruce, examined how facial expressions may be a direct, unmediated manifestation of subjective feeling,
or they may unconsciously be performed to elicit a social effect. This body of photographs was designed to explore these
themes by capturing opera singers in the process of consciously performing intense emotions.
This work builds on and visualises Wright’s primary art/science research into the expression of human emotion. These images
provide a purely artistic outcome for scientifically based research. Drawing on both painterly and photographic techniques, these
digitally manipulated images refer to and then subvert some of the traditions of portraiture. The large, high definition, digitally
manipulated images are intended to reveal fine details that would normally be hidden from public view and to expose a human
vulnerability behind the public performance of emotion, revealing the singers' unconscious expression of physiological or
psychological states that contrast with the emotions they are performing.
The work was developed out of close observation and documentation of the expression of emotion in opera conducted during
six-week residencies at Welsh National Opera and Opera North.
This work has been contextualised by art historian and writer on photography, Simon Watney, and is published alongside his
essay in Portfolio Magazine 42, November 2005. The work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, in Korea alongside
co-exhibitors Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Candida Hofer.
|Keywords||Face, emotion,expression, performance, photograph|
|Output media||Digitally manipulated Lightjet prints|