Glasses off

It’s good to have a side project on the go. Of the many I have, they usually just languish somewhere on a hard-drive, or occasionally get posted to Instagram without anyone being any the wiser that they are part of a themed project. However, I’ve just launched a Tumblr of Glasses off, a completely pointless exercise where-by I photograph my glasses laid over an image of someone’s face. *


Being shortsighted I have to take my spectacles off to read, and last year when flicking through the August issue of the British Journal of Photography, I noticed that as my glasses lay next to the magazine they almost perfectly fitted the image by Debashish Chakrabarty on the cover. The fact that I shave my hair short made it doubly fitting, and this image formed my social media profile picture for sometime after that.


Since then, as I come across images of heads that my glasses might suit, I’ve been snapping them. Some work better than others, but I quite like the awkwardness of some of the oversized glasses, or the angled heads, meaning the glasses look precariously balanced or they alter perspective. Some remind me a little of Mariscal’s Cobi, where-by the character’s head is side on yet he has two eyes facing the reader all the time.


As the collection grew it felt right to give the project a dedicated space online rather than just sandwiching shots in-between my other opportunist photography on Instagram.*

Interestingly though, I haven’t yet come across an image of someone already wearing glasses that is large enough to suit the project. This strikes me as a little strange, considering that almost every single person I know wears glasses at some point for some function. Do the ‘celebrities’ reproduced in the media all have perfect vision, or do they wear contact lenses? Is there still a social stigma about being a ‘four-eyes’ that is borne of  teenage playground bullying? Or is this just intense vanity on the part of the person being captured? In a year of taking these shots this has only just become apparent to me, but then, in posting about it here, sod’s law states that tomorrow I’ll find an image of a glasses wearer large enough for it to take part in this project.


Now that Society of the Spectacle has become a thing online, and examples can be seen together, I also note how a single object can provide a unifying aspect to some very different facial features.* Something that can bring us all together maybe?


Spectacle wearers of the world unite!

* Facebook friends of mine will be aware that I have been posting these on there for a while, and tagging myself in them, creating a Photos Of You album that turns all these characters into self-portraits. This Field Readings post relates to this project being made public, rather than just viewable to the tight control I have set on who can see my FB profile.

Published by Nigel Ball

Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design

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