How is age represented in the front cover of Saga and GQ

One way in which age is represented in the two texts is clothing. In the GQ magazine front cover, Clint Eastwood is seen wearing denim jeans with a denim shirt. This is partly to create an overt link to his former role as a ‘cowboy’ in his western movies, but it also connotes rebellion and this is a trait that is stereotypically synonymous with youth. Clint’s clothes have been specifically chosen to represent youth so as to attract GQ’s target audience which is predominantly males of a middle social economic class who age between 18 and 27. This is overtly shown through GQ’s ‘tag line’ of: Look Sharp, Live Smart. Also, the subtext lists successful, classy and young actors, anchoring the idea that GQ is a magazine constructed for young males. Michael Caine is seen as wearing a black suit which connotes importance and success.

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The clothes are slightly more suitable for his age than Clint Eastwood’s. This makes him appear older than Clint but not old. Michael’s glasses also help to give him a more elderly look and connoting intelligence. Michael’s clothes were specifically selected to attract the target audience who are people of an older age group (35+) and are of middle class. This is shown through the ‘main story’ title which brings up the issue of crime, this is an issue that more elderly people fear and are interested in. The camera captures a mid-shot of Clint Eastwood at slightly below eye level; this is done so we can see his facial expression and body language more easily. His facial expression is hard and stern; this connotes rebellion and overtly suggests that there is a danger to this man. Clint has a direct mode of address and this, coupled with his facial expression, explicitly suggest confidence and a stern ‘ruggedness’ about him which fits his title of ‘Badass of the year’ well.

Michel Cane on the other hand, is seen in a long shot with the camera slightly tilted up, as if the audience are looking up to him. This connotes power and creates a god-complex centred on him. It anchors the idea that he is portrayed as a wise, all-knowing man. The body language of the two different men also shows a clear separation of the different representations of age. For example, Clint is seen sat rigidly on a chair with the veins in his arms being highlighted as straining against his skin. This explicitly links to the ‘badass’ description of him, ergo, portraying him as being younger than he is. This slightly contrasts with the way he holds his hands, fingers slightly interlocked with his thumbs gently touching each other; this softens the image of him, overtly suggesting that he is also a kind, gentle man. This is all constructed so as to present him as a young rebellious man but also to maintain the ‘elderly’ respect we hold for him.

Michael Cane on the other hand, stands straight with his hands placed in his pockets and one foot slightly in front of the other. Unlike Clint’s body which was rigid and held sharper elements, Michel’s form seems to ‘flow’ a lot more easily and this generates a softer feeling within the audience. This suggests that Michael is portrayed as an older man than Clint is to attract the different target audiences. Another element which subtly contributes to the different representations of age is setting. Clint is photographed in front of a smooth grey background which seemingly changes gradient from darker in the bottom left hand corner to lighter in the top right.

This is done to highlight the main article ‘Badass of the Year’ but also to create a feeling of seamless editing and an ‘image of perfection’, connoting youth. Michael is shot in front of a slightly crinkled white background. This reinforces the idea of him being portrayed as an omnipotent man, but the wrinkles in the material suggest that he is older and that time has worn him out slightly more than Clint. The two texts are constructed differently so as to create two different portrayals of the same age. We identify with Clint as a cool, tough man, and with Michel, we see a friend, a consulter. This is done to tailor the needs and expectations of the different target audiences.