The many faces of an eight-year old

Mosaic_v2_flatten_screenA game we dreamed up to keep our eight-year old nephew entertained: single studio light setup with a 2’x3′ softbox. A list of emotional states that the subject needs to convey through facial expressions. The result? 15 minutes of sheer fun!

The list goes something like this:

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Jealous
  • Frustrated
  • Sulky
  • Pensive
  • Thinking
  • Brain freeze (I threw this one in as a curve ball because I know he gets it when chowing down ice cream…)
  • Defiant
  • Angry
  • Frightened
  • Disappointed
  • Hungry
  • Surprised
  • Tired

You might think that he’s got a decent vocabulary for an eight-year old. Actually he does. Next time, I might try to come up with more difficult words to make it a learning game as well.

In the end, I kept 24 shots showing my nephew’s rendition of the list along with transitional states while he relaxed between words. Kids are so great because they can show raw emotions in a totally spontaneous way. I think that most of us lose that ability with age, through restraints learned from socially acceptable behaviours. I am not convinced that the majority of adults would be able to go through such a breadth of facial expressions with just a few short words as guidance.

I added a closeup and a gallery of all 24 images making up the mosaic previously shown in chronologically order. I’ll let you guess which one represents brain freeze!

Equipment: Canon DSLR 5D Mk II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens, RAW conversion using Lightroom 4.1



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