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The visual aesthetic I chose to portray in my midterm project is film noir. The whole photo shoot plays with different lighting concepts but even when things in the story visually looks “happy”, for example in photo 2, the viewer is still deprived of feeling true happiness or satisfaction they might have felt if the aesthetic were humor or romance. The darkness of the shoot is representative of the dark and depressing world film noir portrays that leaves the viewer in a world saturated in corruption. Another important element that reflects the aesthetic of film noir is the femme fatale character being in almost every picture but remaining in the shadows to allude to her mysterious nature and ambiguous desires. The femme fatale has an almost “haunting” feel to her, as if her dark nature looms throughout the piece. This aesthetic is even expressed down to the minuet details of costume and prop choices. The costume pieces consisting of collared shirts, ties, and a little black dress assists in providing a timeless feel. The props assist in a slightly different way to depict characterization. This is especially seen in picture 4 when he is holding both a glass of liquor and a cigarette; both were popular for detectives to consume in classic noirs. Even the song choice “I Get a Kick Out of You” by Frank Sinatra plays into this theme by creating an “old world” feel that most film noirs inspire in 21st century viewers. The song tells of the protagonist/narrator that feels nothing in his life without his love interest; this ties into my piece with the completely emotionless look on the detective’s face in all the photos without the femme fatale. His world is back to a depressing place without her warmth. However much like with the song lyrics, the photos have the underlying feel that this love affair is doomed to begin with yet it’s still the female character in both the photos and the song that pushes the story forward. With all of these elements working together the viewer is forcefully immersed into the corrupt world of film noir.


Explanations of Midterm