Evaluation (750 word)
For my production piece I decided to create three television sitcom posters in order to represent American women in an idealistic way. I drew influence from my research project surrounding the popular sitcoms Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City. From my project I found that women are viewed merely for sexual gratification even in today’s apparent modern society. I wanted to illustrate this within my production work.
I viewed existing sitcom posters from the same genre and noted the conventions, themes and styles that I would later adopt in my own work. I found that I had to work closely with the mise-en-scene of each poster as the preferred reading of each visual text was to suggest ‘glamour’ and ‘perfection.’
For my first piece entitled ‘EvenJuicier’ I decided to create an enigma through the image. Only until the audience read the website credentials at the bottom do they know what sitcom the poster is promoting. This would mean that people who were not familiar with the programme or the genre may take an oppositional or negotiated view to the poster, however because of the bold iconography of the image it would immediately make the viewer look, even if they do not appreciate the genre. This I feel this was a successful decision and has been done deliberately to engage the viewer and focus the eye on the image so that the reader decides to look further. The iconography is strong, the red strawberry and lips give connotations of lust and sex, which a female audience will aspire to primarily as the passive male audience appreciates the image. I did this to highlight a point from Laura Mulvey’s theory of the Male Gaze that the camera in film, advertising and in fact any media is male. I used this theory within my research project and found that to engage my female target audience one also has to target the male audience as the camera has taken on the male perspective.
Again on my second poster the image was designed to match the title of the sitcom ‘Sex in the Suburbs’ which was subsequently layered on top of the image. The mise-en-scene was very important, as the image was to speak for itself, my model was dressed in 50’s clothing and her hair and make-up was immaculately done. I wanted to highlight this dated 50’s ideology in a modern society; therefore I chose to shoot my image within a kitchen. This was used in an ironic way to highlight another part of Mulvey’s theory to demonstrate the inequality in women and that these images similar to my own are not shocking but seem almost natural. Implemented within my work I also learnt how to use fragmenting within a shot. By focusing on her face and torso and slightly blurring out the rest of her body, this section of the body was emphasised in a sexual way helping re-enforce the message. Nevertheless I had to edit lighting into my shot because I did not have the means for natural or focused sunlight. I felt this was a negative aspect of my work and would have looked more natural if I was able to use lighting more effectively.
On my third piece I used four females to represent each character of the sitcom. I chose to create a mask on each of my characters, edit them to black and white and highlight each object they were holding in red. This is called equating women with objects, taken from the Male Gaze, and is mirrored in sitcoms such as Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City, where the central characters are placed with objects such as apples and knives to create the lustful, dangerous look. I did this to aim to attract my target audience of 18+ females, and therefore the male audience because of the sexual way it was shot. I had a positive response and successfully created a poster that attracted this demographic, as the audience were able to identify with the women in the poster.
All the characters in the posters are young attractive white females, and the text on each poster is seductive and risky, I feel that somebody from an ethnic background or an older audience may take an oppositional reading due to the narrative representations.
Another downfall to my production work would be that the characters used are not models or actresses therefore my posters may seem a little unrealistic especially when all the actresses are in the 18+ demographic range, therefore portraying the meaning successfully may be lost slightly as housewives, generally speaking, are older. One could argue however that the lack of real models and a lower age demographic could highlight the brutal reality of society’s ideals today, to re-enforce Mulvey’s theory that women have not overcome this patriarchal society but have simply conformed to it at an earlier age. Nevertheless I felt my strengths shone through within my work, my ability to edit each photo through Photoshop using the spot healing brush to create a flawless look proved very successful. This was common to each piece to heighten the theme of ‘glamour’ and to appeal to the audiences so that they aspired to look like the characters.
I feel that during the process of creating my production pieces, my original idea of using a laundrette as a background was too ambitious as to create these images successfully it had to look believable, and often poster sets are made to suit the occasion. If I was to create this effectively or to enhance my original posters I would need a better camera as posters like these are enlarged for billboards. I would also need a bigger budget in order to create sets and maximise lighting effects. Therefore by simplifying my ideas I feel I have created three unique posters that look professional, and give cohesion to my research project.