Over the Shoulder


This body of work looks at the cinematic effect of "indirect subjective" shots, a.k.a. "over the shoulder" shots. In literary theory, one of the great inventions of modernism was Free Indirect Discourse, where the narrator speaks in the third person while retaining some essence of first-person speech. 

An example: "Ernesto looked at the mess of boxes and luggage. What did he actually value in this world?"

In a cinematic context, the subjective shot is a shot where the camera's lens and the character's eye are synonymous, but the indirect subjective contains that same partial mediation, where we basically see what the character sees, but we aren't sharing a body with them. The indirect subjective is used frequently in conversational or interview scenes. I find it interesting that the indirect subjective allows viewers to jump between subjectivities, to think dialogically, and not become too invested in identifications with one subject. In these paintings, I see how the interplay of two indirect subjectives works to complicate a traditional portait. 

© 2023 By Henry Cooper. Proudly created with Wix.com