Graham Wilson

While I always have several projects underway at any one time, my main efforts are currently at the interface of photography and emotion.  I am a few months into a project attempting to identify the set of ‘low-level image factors’ (LLIFs) in photographs that are responsible for provoking specific emotional responses in viewers, and to establish whether a photographer can intentionally use these for this purpose.  Aside from impacts on general and advertising photography, and image analysis, if successful this could be of profound benefit in the application of behavioural economics principles in development aid contexts, and in the evolution of wearable technologies for patients with schizophrenia, alexithymia, social-emotional agnosia, and autism spectrum disorders.  LLIFs are features of an image that can, in theory, be detected by machine.  They are generally under the control of the photographer.  Examples include; narrow depth of field, types of subject, use of compositional rules (eg the ‘rule of thirds’), high key or low key.  Existing research in relation to emotion has concentrated on facial expressions of humans (and rather remarkably, recently, on the faces of sheep too)!  My own research attempts to achieve this for scenes devoid of human faces.  My research approach uses established psychological methods, in an experimentally designed, controlled, and quantified analysis, to explore what practitioners have traditionally assumed to be highly subjective and deeply personal aesthetic choices.

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