Tagging, Neuroscience and the value of fascinated men

I found these today.  I think they’re interesting.

At the risk of being completely pretentious about it, I love that they suggest a timelessness to the idea of people and relationships.  I also like that they give merit to the modern, the value of expression constant even as the specific style of expression changes.

But what I find really interesting is that the backdrop is so recessive.  You just don’t see it the first time you look at the images.  I’ve shown these to a number of people and every time I’ve had to point out the tagging (particularly the first two).

I guess this is either because tagging is so ubiquitous that it’s close to invisible, or it’s because we are just naturally drawn to people, and particularly to faces.

I suspect it’s the latter, which is one of those ‘principles’ that I’ve always tried to reject. I don’t like the idea that we are that predictable, that instinctive, in our responses because it’s that idea that leads to the concept of ‘rules’ that govern how layouts or art direction work – that there are a set of principles that should be followed to ensure maximum attention and impact.

I really hate the thought that those dreadful cosmetic ads that occupy the first fifteen pages of every issue of American Vogue might actually have some merit, simply because at a really basic level we just like looking at (pretty) faces. Or that those dire fragrance layouts featuring Kate/Scarlett/Gisele/Angelina/Heidi and an anonymous, handsome, clearly doting male might actually work.

But sacrilege as it may be, I’m starting to wonder if they might.  And then I stumbled across this and it seems neuroscience sort of agrees.  Apparently when featured in print layouts attractive people are good, celebrities are really good (but not that much better) but for greatest impact attractive women being admired by attractive men are the way to go. Or, as Claude Hopkins noted in 1923,

“… with beauty articles. Picturing beautiful women, admired and attractive, is a supreme inducement. But there is a great advantage in including a fascinated man.”

It seems it was always thus.

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Tagging, Neuroscience and the value of fascinated men

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