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Microexpressions

 
 
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 04:41 pm
A year ago or so I read an article in Smithsonian magazine about the study of microexpressions.

Quote:
A microexpression is a tiny facial expression that lasts less than a quarter of a second. They often occur involuntarily, and can reveal emotions people are trying to hide, or may not even be aware of themselves


I've been thinking about this in relation to my own work; especially why I choose the images I print and reject the others. (I probably print less than 10% of what I shoot.)

So I thought I would start a thread about the more unusual expressions I've caught in photos that capture my fancy and ask other people what they think the subject is thinking or feeling.

Here is one to get us started:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/boomerangagain/yell.jpg

So.....?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,267 • Replies: 19
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 04:48 pm
boomer, totally fascinating. I had never thought about quick takes, so to speak.

For now, honey, I am marking your thread and will be back with some thoughts of my own.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 05:01 pm
http://www.fotosearch.com/comp/JFI/JFI146/BA1969.jpg
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dlowan
 
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Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 05:06 pm
I'd go with excited, Boomer, for yours...but with a lot of the excitement stemming from anxiety or real fear.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 05:14 pm
Hi Letty and dlowan. Thank you for joining in.

It's funny that you would post that baby photo, Letty. I was working on some baby photos just before this one and they are what really struck the microexpression chord with me.

Typically I will shoot 20 or more images in a five minute or less interval. It is interesting to see the variety of expression that crosses even a baby's face in such a short time.

And or course, I know the context of why and how the image was made. I think that makes a real difference in interpretation of expression.

Recently I did a comic book page of Mo's handcuffs incident. The first stab at it was greeted with gasps -- too angsty. It was funny because when it happened I told Mo I wanted to take his photo and he said "Okay but I want to look sad". (I need to enroll this kid in acting lessons - he's a natural.) When I revised the image and explained the context people weren't so upset by it.

This particular image has a very simple motive but the expression out of context is very jarring. Like dlowan says - anxiety and fear.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 05:16 pm
Microexpressions! Yay! This is my thing!

Great article in the New Yorker about them maybe 2-3 years ago, gave me a name for what I do all the time ("reading" faces, not just lips).

I'm much better at doing this in person than from still photos though.

If I were to guess:

The "smile" expression is not really carried over to other parts of the face. It's not so much an expression of emotion I don't think as an expression for the camera -- not something captured but something created. In other words, goofing around.

A bit tired and stressed, nothing too major.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 05:24 pm
Oh hadn't seen your response.

Microexpressions really only work when they're genuine. I have a terrible time lipreading actors, even Oscar-winners. (Leonardo DiCaprio, for some reason, is an exception. Maybe some sort of Method thing?)

Here's the article I referred to:

http://www.gladwell.com/2002/2002_08_05_a_face.htm
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 05:49 pm
Oh! Wow! You are good at this soz! Remind me never to play poker with you.

I wonder if any studies have been done within the deaf population to see if they are better at reading microexpressions than within the hearing population. I recall something in the article I read saying that only a very small percentage of people were adept at reading microexpressions.

I've been reviewing some of the photos I've culled recently and looking at the frames before and after trying to get a grip on how quickly an expression can change. It really is amazing. I'll have to post some and then post the series that includes it.

But now I'm off to read the article you posted.....
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 06:11 pm
Re: Microexpressions
boomerang wrote:

Here is one to get us started:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/boomerangagain/yell.jpg

So.....?


There's something micro about that expression!?!?
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 06:14 pm
Okay, I'm seeing what you're seeing........ Looks like he's having fun in the pool, but there is a hint of fear beneath.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 06:33 pm
I just realized that it could be just showing off the unteeth, too. (What sozlet calls the gaps where her teeth used to be.)

I really don't see the fear -- that right eye especially is a bit tired, but seems pretty much content overall.

boomerang wrote:
I wonder if any studies have been done within the deaf population to see if they are better at reading microexpressions than within the hearing population.


I'd be interested in that too. I'd guess that there would be a slightly higher percentage in the deaf community as a whole, and then a higher yet percentage if you isolated lipreaders. (Not all deaf people lipread, at all.)
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 06:34 pm
I don't see any fear Confused

Looks like he's showing off his 2 missing teeth.

micros expressions....like the twitch of a jaw, a furrowed brow that's lasts an instant, a shift of the eyes or curl of the lip?

That's why I don't like being too close to people, I want to see all that.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 07:06 pm
The truth is - he WAS showing off his two missing teeth.

I was working on the photo with that in mind when Mo wandered in and said "I don't like that picture". When I asked him why he said it was because he was so mad at me when I took it.

I started looking at it a little more and realized that he looks sad. It's something about his eyes. Cover up the lower half of the photo and see if you can tell what I mean.

By the way - that's a great article soz. I wish I knew the face muscles a little better so I could follow it. Still - amazing stuff. I wouldn't want those guys on my jury if I ever committed a crime!
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Swimpy
 
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Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 07:27 pm
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/swimpy12/JaytheChemist.jpg

What would you say about this expression?

BTW, in my job we have been taught to read people's faces to try an tell if they are lying. It's pretty cool because invariably if someone is lying to you they will momentarily look away or blink. they don't even know they do it.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 07:35 pm
That's cool. I think that may be what I saw as tired.

Interesting!
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 08:09 pm
Swimpy! That photo scares the crap out of me and I can't even see an expression at all!

I'm gonna see that thing in my dreams.

<Brrrrrrrr>

It's that ceiling that is so damn scary. And all those little jars and boxy things. And that inexplicable circle and square Star-Trex deal on the left side.

<Brrrrrr>

So okay, come clean. I've always thought you were CIA on the MTV beat.
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Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2006 08:13 pm
Ha! CIA on the MTV beat. I like that. No, nothing so exciting. The picture is my elder son. He works in a university hospital pharmacy and in this picture he is mixing chemotherapy drugs. The expression is in the eyes. Those are the "mad Jay" eyes.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Dec, 2006 01:26 pm
http://img315.imageshack.us/img315/6706/finishedmeub0.th.jpg


I would be interested to see what people think of my expression here..
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Dec, 2006 03:31 pm
My guess is that you are really put out with someone.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Dec, 2006 05:15 pm
shewolfnm wrote:
http://img315.imageshack.us/img315/6706/finishedmeub0.th.jpg





I would be interested to see what people think of my expression here..



you look horny
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