Analysis of Lauren Greenfield’s “Girl Culture”

Lauren Greenfield’s photography video is a provocative commentary on American consumerist culture, comprised of still photographs appearing in view only for about one to two seconds at a time, dynamically moving in and out and discreetly directing your focus to different elements of the photo. This approach more interesting than still photographs progressing like a slideshow. Music that is rhythmically upbeat but thematically scornful music plays over the visuals, with lyrics alluding to moral impairment, perhaps in society or in specific cultures.

On Scott McCloud’s Iconic-Realistic-Abstract Triangle, this work could be placed about on the bottom, in the center. The photography is realistic, portraying events and situations we can all expect to be a part of every day life for these people, these subjects, and it also implies some more abstract notions regarding money, sex appeal, social injustice, and their relationship to American culture. I would like to substitute Word-Picture Combinations with Music-Picture Combinations, since text is largely absent and music is the main interacting force with the visuals. I would define this combination as Interdependent. At first glance one might assume Montage because of the way the photographs move through time like a montage, but once you experience the work about half way through, you begin to realize certain correlations between the lyrics and theme of the song and the apparent theme of the photographs. Greenfield’s work portrays a blatant Moment to Moment approach to closure. Images flash from one to the next, giving only an instant for the viewer to make judgements before being thrown into a new, transient experience.

-Dane Andersen


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