Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Historical Photographer Presentation: Gustave Le Gray

A French photographer (originally a painter) born in 1820, died in 1884. During his time photography was still a new medium for artists to work with. He is known for his innovations and teaching of the medium.

He was of a few elite photographers hired by the French government to document French buildings and architecture in the 1850s. At the same time he also helped to found the Societe Heliographique, which was the first photographic organization in the world.

In the mid 1850s he opened a studio and developed in to a portraitist, which included being the photographer for Napoleon III. Despite his artistic success, his business failed and when it went in to debt he abandoned his family and fled in order to avoid creditors. After moving to Lebanon and then Syria, Le Gray finally settled down in Cairo where he most likely spent his last days.

His most famous works are those of French monuments and buildings, portraits, and seascapes such as the images below.

Semi-Contemporary Photographer Presentation: Arthur Tress

Arthur Tress is an American photographer born in 1940. He began taking photographs when he was just 12 years old. He attended Bard College where he received his B.F.A. Then he moved to Paris to attend film school. Between 1962 and 1966 Tress traveled various continents and countries, documenting the cultures and customs he encountered along the way.
He is best known for the surrealistic style that he produces in his photographs. His images are described as "disturbing but intriguing". They are the kind of image you can't stop looking at while wanting to look away at the same time. His photos follow the rend of having contrast, unique lighting, dark overtones, and an interesting perspective on everyday objects.

Recreation 005

Assignment 004 - Popular Media/Culture

Image 001 - Billboard
For this image I wanted it to be simple, yet for their to be some element that was attention grabbing. The billboards you notice on the side of the road are the ones that have something to draw you in. In this case I used the words 'good things' (because who doesn't want good things?), as well as the bright colors of the two Smirnoff bottles to potentially draw the viewer in. I also used the lighting to create the specific emotion I wanted the viewer to feel. The bright, cheery lighting of the bottles is more likely to make a viewer want to try them then a dark image would.

Image 002 - TV Still/Advertisement
This set of images was inspired by the TV commercial advertisements put out by the Apple to promote their ipods. In order to create the silhouetted figure and the solid background I took a picture of the subject posing against a solid color wall. The figures were then overexposed until they appeared to be silhouetted, while the background remained at a normal exposure. The shadows that appear behind the figures are the actual shadows that the subjects created on the wall. I changed the background colors to be more vibrant and saturated to draw attention like the ipod commercials do. I think that images are easy to connect with the original Apple versions but they still have a unique twist of their own. The Apple images use shades of grey in order to define clothing and white to define the figure's ipod. However, my images are solid black, with the only midtones beind the shadows they cast on the wall behind them. I think that this is a good middle ground between recreating the Apple images exactly and creating a completely different image.

Image 003 - Stock Photography
This image was created using very brightly colored faux flowers. I framed the image so that the sole focus was the flowers, ie. no background or other elements to distract the viewer. I used natural lighting, which I think was successful at creating fairly high contrast between the lighter colored flowers and the darker colored flowers. My motivation for this image was images of flowers that I have seen in the past. When you search for an image of 'flowers' on the internet it is common to see a close up of a single flower or a bouquet just like this image. I think that photographing the flowers in black and white instead of color gives them a completely different feel. While the lighting still allows the viewer to sense a bright scene, the colors are not there to immediately attract attention and create vibrant contrast.

Image 004 - Polaroid
For we created a 'polaroid frame' using a poster board. Instead of framing the picture and then using the computer to add the recognizable polaroid frame, we decided it would be more fun to create a 3D object to play with during the photoshoot. I also put a tint on the final image to make it seem like it was an older shot.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog Prompt #23

1. In what ways do you “construct” your identity? In what ways do you “perform” in your daily life?

I construct my identity first and foremost based on how I was raised and where I grew up. This is the biggest influence over who I am because my childhood so concretely shapes the type of person I am/want to be. College has also helped me to grow as a person and realize what aspects of my childhood I do not want to carry in to my future. I 'perform' how I would like people to perceive of my character.

2. Describe some ways in which your personal culture and social environments are "constructed".

I feel that college life and the social norms versus abnormalities are constructed to form an ideal image that isn't really possible for anyone to live up to. For example, in movies we are shown images of 'perfect looking' men and women that are popular, rich, and like to party. I feel that many people on MSU's campus try to fit themselves in to this stereotypical sorority/fraternity girl/guy role when in actuality, I think it would be safe to say that college students as a whole are scrambling for everything they have, money, good grades, and free time to 'party'.

3. Describe some ways in which your physical environment/space is “constructed”.

In my opinion, a majority of the space that I occupy is constructed. Not only are the physical buildings obviously constructed, but the environments we put ourselves in. The environment expected and therefore created at a party is very different from the environment expected and created in a classroom. We create "space", whether is be physical or more figurative, based on the activity in which we are partaking.

4. In your daily life, what would you consider to be “real” and what would you consider to be “constructed/fabricated”?

I consider the human race to be "real". Whether we choose to or not, we are all existing in the same space. When you start to break down the population further than that is when you start to enter the realm of constructed or fabricated things. Ie. When you say you live in a certain country, state, city, neighborhood. Or when you identify yourself as a member of a certain religious community, a student of a certain school, etc.

5. Describe a narrative tableaux that you might create to be captured by a photograph. A narrative tableaux can be defined as “Several human actors play out scenes from everyday life, history, myth or the fantasy of the direction artist” ( Constructed Realities: The Art of Staged Photography Edited by Michael Kohler , 34).

In order to create a narrative tableaux to follow the theme of constructed reality, I would compose a scene that you would see in everyday life such as the typical grocery store. Each person would have a different part to play that fell in to one of the stereotypical roles that you would see if you were shopping at a grocery store.

6. Describe an idea for a photograph that includes a miniature stage of still life. A description of such an image is "The tableaux reconstructs events as in the narrative tableaux, but in miniaturized format, using dolls and other toy objects" (Kohler, 34).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blog Prompt #22

I found this video to be very interesting. Before watching the video I was not aware that CG techniques were even being applied to photography. I am unsure as to whether this will have a positive or negative influence on photography. When photography began photos were exact representations of reality. As time has progressed, photo editing programs like photoshop have allowed reality to be distorted. I feel that CG entering the photography world will push that distortion even further.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recreation 004

Recreation inspiration: iPod Advertisements, which include television commercials, posters, print ads, and billboards. The advertisements feature a silhouetted figure on a brightly colored background, dancing to upbeat music while listening to their ipod.

About my recreation: I originally planned to use backlighting in order to recreate the 'ipod silhouette', but I had a difficult time getting the message across since the image I produced was still more photograph than graphic. Instead, I used photoshop to underexpose the figure while leaving the background/shadows at a normal exposure. I think that the shadows made my recreation similar enough, but yet still a little different and from a new perspective than the original.

Original image:

My Recreation:

Semi-Contemporary Photographer Presentation - Christian Boltanski

Christian Boltanski is a French born artist working in many different mediums including photography, sculpture, painting, and installations. He was born in Paris in 1944. His artwork is most recognized for its themes of death/loss and memory. His work serves as as sort of memorial for the anonymous/those that have seemed to disappear. His artwork often includes more than one medium, ie. an installation including sculptural work as well as photographs. Below are some examples of some of his unique installations. They are often dark and somewhat disturbing, but intriguing at the same time.

Historical Photographer Presentation - Eddie Adams

Eddie Adams was born in 1933 and died in 2004. He won hundreds of awards for his work, particularly his pictures of celebrities and politicians, as well as his war photography. This picture of a prisoner being executed is one of his best known/award winning pieces. It was taken while Adams was working as a photographer in the Vietnam war for the Associated Press.

Eddie Adams, Saigon Execution, 1 February 1968

In addition to being one of Eddie Adams's best known photos, this photo is one of the most widely recognized from the Vietnam War. However, it gets a bad rap because people often misinterpret what was actually going on in the photo. I found this link interesting; it shows the image reproduced by others http://frgdr.com/blog/2008/06/29/renditions-saigon-execution-eddie-adams-vietnam-1968/ .

Blog Prompt #21

A. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of “news”-related photographs.
News related photos are often shocking and graphic. This is for the purpose of obtaining a high viewership and therefore a higher rating for the news source.

B. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of “snapshots”, including family photographs, cell-phone shots, photos posted to facebook.
"Snapshots" are generally of lower, unprofessional quality because they come from cell phones, point-and-shoot cameras, or sometimes even disposable cameras. The purpose of these photographs are less artistic and more to record an important memory, which is why the quality is less important.

C. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of advertisement photographs, including fashion photography, product photography, etc
Photos used in advertisements are unique, bright, and flashy in order to catch the attention of viwers that might not otherwise try a product. They seek to make a product or service as appealing as possible.

D. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of film/movie and television stills.

E. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of yearbook photos, senior pictures, and team/club/sports group shots.
Yearbook photos, senior photos, etc are often very awkward and cheesy because they are so posed and often undesired by the subject. They are the kind of photos that everyone wants to avoid because there is very little control over how they turn out.

F. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of stock images.
Stock images are very cliche, and hardly unique. They basically describe what would most commonly pop in a person's mind if the same word were to be given to everyone. Ie. Flowers, Ocean, Stars, Etc.

G. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of fashion photography.
Fashion photography is very unique from any other type of photography. They are flashy and seek to promote mostly the clothing and fashion, but also the model.

H. Describe some common aesthetic aspects of paparazzi shots or celebrity photographs.
Paparazzi shots are more often than not deceptive and unflattering to the celebrities that are captured.

Assignment 003 - Written Statement Part 2

Assignment 003 - Place

Image 001

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