Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Prompt #19 - 20

19) Can you think of anything that...
...should not be photographed? Why?
I think that a photographer should be sensitive about moments that are considered personal, that people may not want photographed. For example, when entering a home, the private happenings between family members are very personal.
...cannot be photographed? Why?
I don't think that there is anything that cannot be photographed. Some things may be harder to photograph because they are in difficult spaces, they move fast, etc. But I do not think there is anything that cannot be captured. For example, even emotions or feelings can be captured. The anguish and pain on the face of a sad child is easily distinguished from the joy in the eyes of a happy child. do not want to photograph? Why?
I think that documenting social events or circumstances through photography could potentially be a discouraging thing to do. For example, documenting war, genocides, poverty/squalor, etc. would likely leave a photographer feeling depressed about capturing such intense/raw images of the situations.

20) Describe at least one photograph that you could take for each of the following “place” prompts.
  • An image of a synthetic “place” such as Disney World, Las Vegas, a Hollywood set, a diorama, etc. - I picture something Lady Gaga-esque. Flashy/Sparkly/Bright, exotic, unexpected and exciting.
  • An image of a fantasy/fictitious environment concocted from your imagination - I imagine a scene that is eerie and dreamlike but bright. It is cloudy/foggy and the world is made of strange things, similar to an Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scene.
  • An image of a placeless space such as the Internet, cell phones, e-mail, e-bank, surveillance, etc. - I imagine an abstract image that captures the radio waves, cables, air space, etc. that are used to send each of these forms of communication from one person to another.
  • An image of a public space - I immediately imagine a park, filled with trees, benches, and lots of people. The sun is shining brightly and the sky is bright blue.
  • An image of a private space - I imagine a bedroom. A place very personal to an individual, a place to get away to.
  • An in-between space that brings to mind one of the following ideas: nomadic lifestyles, displacement, rootlessness, out-of-placeness, boundaries, movement, expansion, etc. - I picture the changing scene in one's life as they grow up from childhood to adulthood. One moment you are surrounded by toys and no responsibilities. The next moment you are surrounded by bills and a full time job.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Assignment 002 - Written Statement Part 2

Image 001 ‘Intimate’ – This seemed to be the photograph that got the most suggestions for improvement. The print version of this image turned out darker than the image appears on a computer screen so much of the light was lost. It was suggested that the shadow on the arm/neck area was sort of confusing because it blended in so much with the shadows in the background. If I could reshoot this photo, I would probably make sure that there was some amount of light or a reflector was used to aim light towards that area so the detail was not lost.

Image 002 ‘Gender/Sexuality’ – For this image the main suggestion was that the few distracting elements in the background be taken out so that the focus was completely on the subject. The framing of this photo works particularly well, because only seeing half the eyes sort of creates a greater mystery as to the gender of the subject. The haphazardly created mustache also adds to the photo in a sense that it seems to be a comic play on the topic of gender/sexuality rather than a serious commentary.

Image 003 ‘Slow Shutter Speed/Self Portrait’ – There were less comments from my peers on this image than on the others. I think that it works well as a self portrait because it is so abstracted. I think this would be an awesome concept to take and use for a series of self portraits done in a slow shutter speed. In addition, I think that altering the background and lighting to create a completely different feeling based on the self portrait would be an interesting concept.

Image 004 'Fast Shutter Speed' – In this image the motion is captured well, but there is not too little or too much snow in the frame. The trees work really well as a frame for the subject, instead of just having the subject in front of a non descriptive background. I could see this image as part of a series documenting a snow day or some other fun winter event. I think the most important element in it is the sense of frozen time that it creates so it would be important to carry that theme throughout a series of similar pictures.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blog Prompt #16-18

“I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody's face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.” Duane Michals
I think that it is important for both types of photos to exist: provocative and the ordinary. Ordinary photos are important because they document our history and can be used to look back upon at a later point in time. Provocative photos are important too though because photography is an art and thus should be taken up with a creative approach as well as merely trying to document a moment.

“I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see.” Duane Michals
I like this quote, and I somewhat agree. However, I don't think that what you cannot see is MORE important, I think that it is just as equally important. In order to have a basis to let your imagine jump off of, you need to be able to see at least something in the photograph. If you couldn't see anything, you wouldn't have a photograph to begin with.

“Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world.” Arnold Newman
I also somewhat agree with this quote. Photography can play tricks on your mind and make you believe that you see something that you really don't because it captures such a small fraction in time. We create our own 'private world' from a photograph because each of our experiences allows us to take away something different from a photo and to interpret the emotions and feelings it conveys differently.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recreation 003

My recreation is representative of a place at home where my best friend and I use to spend a lot of time in high school. We live next to a golf course and by her house there was a small, overgrown path that led to the creek that ran through the golf course. The creek was reputed to be dirty and hazardous, but in reality it wasn't. This picture of the Red Cedar is similar because the Red Cedar is also rumored to be 'toxic'. Also, the footprints show that there was some time of human interaction with the space in the past, just like the worn path at the creek at home shows the same thing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Contemporary Photographer Presentation: Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson was an American artist born in 1938. He was most famous for his land art. He initially identified as a painter, but then moved on to sculpture. His initial sculptures were unique in their use of glass sheet and neon tubing, which he used to explore visual refraction and mirroring.
In 1967, Smithson became fascinated with dump trucks, which he witnessed moving earth and rock in industrial areas in New Jersey. Inspired, he began to create site and non-site land art. Site art was work created in a specific outdoor location. An example of this is Smithson's work titled, Spiral Jetty, which is located in Great Salt Lake, Utah.

Non-site work could be displayed anywhere, including a gallery. It often consisted of a photograph of a site work alongside actual material that would have been used to create a piece of land art.

Historical Photographer Presentation: Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1864 to a rather affluent family. He attended school in Germany to become a mechanical engineer. While in school he experimented with photography and eventually went to New York in 1890 to begin his photography career. He was famous for his desire to prove that photography was a valid medium. He believed that photos were equivalent to painting or sculpture in terms of their ability to convey artistic expression. In 1893 he was offered and he accepted the job of co-editor of The American Amateur Photographer magazine. In May of 1896 he successfully joined the two photography clubs of New York the Society of Amateur Photographers and the Camera Club to form The Camera Club of New York. The Camera Club went on to produce a magazine by the name of Camera Notes, which quickly rose in popularity around the globe. In 1902 he began printing the visual magazine Camera Work. During the length of his extensive career Stieglitz produced more than 2,500 mounted photographs.

This photograph, taken in 1931 from Stieglitz's 13th floor apartment of the Shelton Hotel exemplifies Stieglitz's documentation of the changing New York City skyline. Propelled by his fascination with prolonged viewings, he illustrated the play of light and shadow on the buildings of the city, particularly this view of Radio City Music Hall, and what detail is revealed through the act of looking.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Assignment 002 - Portraiture

Image 001: Intimate

Written Statement Part 1
I wanted the framing of this image to focus on the subjects and to not have much of a background so that there was nothing to distract the viewer. I originally wanted the subjects to be silhouetted or backlit but I couldn't get the lighting right. I like the way that the photo ended up though because the light helps to focus on the subjects faces. The prompt behind this photo was 'intimate' so the concept or idea was to show two people with a close relationship to one another in order to create a feeling of intimacy. I think that this image could be put alongside images from photographers that have done social documentary work. It captures an innocent and candid moment between two people, commenting on their everyday life that the world otherwise would not have seen.

Image 002: Gender/Sexuality

Written Statement Part 1
For this image the cropping/framing was done with the intent that it would show less of the subject and therefore give away less clues as to the gender of the subject. Also, so that the focus was on the subject and not the background elements, which would have been distracting. In creating this image I wanted to create a play on questions about gender and sexuality. The use of the obviously fake mustache makes the photo less serious (almost comical) although it can still raise such questions. I think that this photograph could be compared with the works of photographers who have taken photos that invoke discussion and cover controversial topics.

Image 003: Slow Shutter Speed/Self Portrait

Written Statement Part 1
This picture came about largely by accident. This was used for both the slow shutter speed prompt and the self portrait prompt. I initially wasn't expecting to create such an eerie photo. I think that the perspective being from a little higher up than the subject adds to the eerieness, because we're looking down at the subject as if it's something less than human. I also think that it seems like the subject is fading is and out of consciousness, maybe really tired or overwhelmed. I think that it works well for a self portrait because there's a time when we all feel kind of like that so the image then becomes relateable to its audience.

Image 004: Fast Shutter Speed

Written Statement Part 1
For this image I intentionally used the trees as a frame for the subject so that the viewer would zone in on what the subject was doing. The idea was to capture the subject enjoying themselves playing in the snow. I think that the subject did a good job of conveying that they were truly having a good time and the fast shutter speed helped to capture that. I think that the lighting on her hair and face also help add to the composition because it is bright and sunny out, meaning it's impossible to not be enjoying yourself.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Prompt #15

I think that my family is an important part of my past because they have helped to shape me in to the person that I am today (although they'll definitely remain a part of my future too). I think that my boyfriend is an important part of my future because he'll help to influence and shape the family that we will create together. In order to capture these two pieces of me as a collage, I would use a slow shutter speed. My family would be on one side of me and my boyfriend on the other. I would be in the middle because I am a blend of both of them, while at the same time being completely a completely unique element.

Blog Prompt #14

When I imagine a familiar place I imagine a place where I spend a lot of time, like my apartment or a friend's house. I would use lighting to convey the feeling of a familiar and welcome place such as my home. Softer, warmer light would make a photograph of a place seem like it was warm and inviting. When I imagine a faraway place I think of somewhere that no one, or hardly anyone has ever been to such as a deserted island. I think that the content of a photograph of such a place would be enough to convey the idea that it was a faraway and 'untouched' place.

Blog Prompt #13

When I think of the ways in which humans interact with the environment, the first thing that comes to mind is that humans are actually destroying the environment. I think of the countless times I have seen so much garbage floating alongside the freeway or caught in a corner of a parking lot. If I had to create a piece of 'land art' I would use garbage to create something organic such as a tree, etc. in order to create a statement about what our carelessness and waste is doing to the world we live in.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blog Prompt #12

Memory of a Photograph:

The photograph I remember most is a photo of me, my dad, and my older brother that has always been my mom's favorite. The picture was taken on a Sunday morning after we got home from church. My dad was laying on the floor reading the paper and my brother was laying curled up on top of him, then I was laying curled up on on top of my brother. I have no idea how we came to be in such a goofy pose but it's definitely a unique picture. Considering I was about 1.5 or 2 when the picture was taken and my brother was about 6 or 7 I have changed A LOT and I imagine a reenactment wouldn't quite be possible and it definitely wouldn't be as cute as when we were little.

Blog Prompt #11

Memory of a Place - The first place that comes to mind is my Grandparents house in the upper peninsula. I remember their house by memory but there are also pictures of my family in front of it as well. It is a small, white, one-level house surrounded by several acres of wooded property. There was always a bright red hummingbird feeder in front of the big picture window because my grandma liked to watch the hummingbirds in the Summer. I'm not sure what it would look like today because its been many years since my grandparents have sold the place. I imagine it as still being white and having a giant picture window but I'm sure that the hummingbird feeder is no longer there since that was something that was unique to my grandparents. I think that its also possible that the current owners have added on to the house because it was really small. In terms of other colors that come to mind I picture really green grass and blue sky because we only ever went in the middle of summer when the weather was beautiful. There was always lots of family around. including my aunt and uncle and older cousins.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blog Prompt #10

“All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this - as in other ways - they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it.” - John Berger

I both agree and disagree with this quote. While some photographs can remind us of things we would otherwise forget, some are fabricated just like paintings may be. I do agree though because a camera is better at capturing detail that we might forget because it was left out in a painting.

Blog Prompt #9

“You don't take a photograph, you make it.” - Ansel Adams

Even if you are taking candid photos you are creating the photo. Before you decided to take a picture, whatever you capture only existed as a moment in time, not a photograph. By composing the photo you create it. You create the framing, the focus, the lighting, etc. Before you choose to create it in a certain way the moment in time could only be seen as it was.

Blog Prompt #8

"My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.” - Richard Avedon

A portrait tells two stories. First the obvious, it tells the story of the people in the photograph. Second, it tells the story of the person behind the camera. What a person chooses to photograph shows what they are interested in and what moments they find significant enough to freeze in time. You can learn a lot about there character, ie. whether they take serious portraits or funny ones, fabricated portraits or realistic ones, portraits of older people or of young kids, etc.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Assignment 001 - Written Statement Part 2

Image 001 ‘Light’ – I think that the lighting of this image is working well. I really like the contrast that is created by the parts of the jar that the light didn’t hit and the part of the jar where the light is most concentrated. If I could change one thing about it I would angle the jar to create a more dramatic diagonal line because I think that the slight diagonal line creates some interest. Like I said in part one of the written statement, if I could redo this shoot I would play around with different containers to see how the light looked reflected in to them. Ie. glass versus plastic, a drinking cup/glass versus a bottle, etc. I would also use different kinds of lighting to see what variation in effects I could create.

Image 002 ‘Burnt Out’ – This is one of my favorite images but there are a still a number of things that I would change about it/redo. To begin, I would have someone to help me because lighting the matches and trying to take the picture was really difficult. I ended up having to set the timer so that I could light the matches all at the same time. I would also change the composition. At first I like the diagonal that the image was taken on but I now find it to be distracting so I would change that and the framing a little. I would also experiment with when I lit the matches more if I didn’t have to focus on doing that and taking the picture.

Image 003 ‘Sparty Wants You’ – This image is probably my least favorite of my 3 final images. I really like the concept behind it but I didn’t quite execute the technical aspects of it the way I had planned in my head. I wanted the finger to appear more in the foreground and the face to appear more in the background, almost to a point where they seemed disconnected. If I redid this image I would focus on trying to create this greater sense of depth in order to create a stronger image. I also think I would have experimented with a similar concept for different organizations and groups to see what I liked best. My favorite part of this image is the framing. I think that the amount of the subject that is in the frame is perfect.

Contemporary Photographer Presentation: Nikki S. Lee

Nikki S. Lee was born in South Korea in 1970 as Lee Seung-Hee. She got her B.F.A. at Chung-Ang University in Korea and then moved to New York where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She then attended New York University where she got her M.A. in photography.

Lee is known for her numerous series of photographs that document her exploration of identity and culture. She observes specific cultures and groups, adopts their styles, and then approaches them. Her experiments cover all walks of life and include people of different ages, races, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and hobbies. Once she integrates herself with a group, she stays with them for a couple of weeks, participating in their daily lifes. A partner takes pictures of her/the group when she instructs them to and she then selects which pictures fit the series she was working on. All of the photographs are taken with a manual 'snapshot' camera.

The technical aspects (framing, composition, lighting, etc.) of Lee's photographs are unique to the culture of the individual she has transformed in to. Her photos arent always of the best quality because of the equipment they are taken with but I think that this adds to the photographs. They seem more amateur in a way and therefore make them seem more believable. A studio version of the same subjects and setting would be aesthetically pleasing because the lighting could be just right and the photographers could take hundreds of shots of a single scene in order to get just the right picture. That however, would take away from the picture because these pictures give us a sliver of the life of these people.

I love Lee's work because it is so different from any thing else that resembles it. Countless photographers seek to make a commentary on identity or to capture individuals in their own 'habitat'. Lee takes this one step further and goes outside of the box by transforming herself into one of them. Her transformations are not very simple either. To go from a Korean woman to a blonde Ohio woman to a 60+ year old woman AND be believable is amazing. At first glance you wouldn't have any clue that she didn't fit in with the people she was photographed with.


From her series Projects (1997-2001): (Top to Bottom) The Ohio Project, The Hip Hop Project, The Hispanic Project, The Seniors Project

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recreation 002

Original Image: Margrethe Mather, Billy Justema in Man's Summer Kimono, 1923

Born in March 1886 as Emma Caroline Youngreen. She spent her young life selling her body for cash. She is most closely associated with an American photographer, Edward Weston, who she met and began working with in 1913. Mather helped to take Weston's traditional style of pictorialism to photographs of more modernity.

My Recreation: In the original image I was most drawn to the stomach and the awkward hand positions. It seems as if the cloth and the hands were creating a frame for the stomach. For my recreation I zoomed in more on the body and didn't worry about adding cloth or any other props since that's not what I wanted the picture to focus on.