For the portrait assignment, I took pictures of my friends in different locations to have a variety of pictures to choose from. I did two sessions on campus one with Herdis outside and one with Natayle in the library. A while back a photo challenge at Michaels went viral and after watching a few youtube videos I decided I wanted to try it out. I went with a couple friends and the pictures didn’t turn out how I envisioned. The lighting kept changing and I tried using my prism in the same way a photographer used hers in a video I watched but, it just didn’t have the same effect. If I were to do this again I would check out a longer camera lense to have a deeper depth of field. I also took a couple photos of myself just to experiment with different colored lighting in my room and tweaking it in lightroom.
For the panorama photos me and my mom decided to go to a few different spots to take photos. The first panorama was taken at Hollandia park in San Marcos, however after walking around I wasn’t getting the view I wanted and being mindful of time me and my mom decided to go somewhere else. We went to Double Peak park and since there was so many spots for panoramas I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else to take photos. My mom has never been there before and she really loved it and wants to go again! I’ve never taken panoramas on anything besides my phone before so this was a fun practice shoot and now I know how to create panoramas for future photoshoots!
This week’s assignment was about recycling and creating images that reflect sustainable objects. I’ve grown up getting my clothes from thrift shops and from my older sister so most of my clothing is secondhand. I also have a lot of passed down items from my Grandma, dad, and other family members. There are other items in my room that I have remade by painting, cutting, etc. so for this project I had a lot to choose from. Ultimately, I decided to incorporate old photographs of my family to correlate with the objects in the photos.
For example the first photograph I took and that inspired me to continue with this theme is a photo of my Grandma and Great Grandma Rose. My Great Grandma is wearing a scarf in the photograph that I now own and is in the background of the photo. I paired photos of my Dad with the records he gave me that were once his. The Led Zeppelin album has a drawing that my Dad did on the cover when he was younger. My Aunt Laura works at an eyeglass co. and she refurbished two pairs of vintage frames for me that my family has had for years. My Uncle Joe made the Bears pin that is on my jacket and I found an old picture of him in a bears football jersey as well as a old Bears playing card. I also took parts of my Dad’s old sweater to make a patch on my jacket. The Beatles rose photo includes a thrifted purse, thrifted pants that are the background, a repurposed sign I made for a sculpture, and a vintage photo of Paul McCartney from a vintage store. I also included a photo from my mom’s wedding photo shoot with a patch that I made and sewed onto my jacket that used to be my Grandma’s. I created two still lives of my Grandma’s photos and objects. One includes her purse, belt, blanket, and photographs. The other has a photo from her wedding, her mirror, a silver box she gave me, and her old tapestry. Another photo I included was of my jacket and has a pin of my Dad, Grandma, and Uncle Frank and if you look closely my Dad is wearing a smiley face in the photo pin and I have the original smiley face pin placed right next to it. Overall, I thought this project was fun and I think buying secondhand objects is not only less expensive but adds more character and sentiment to your home and wardrobe!
For the personal photography series, I chose to do a fashion photography series. I had different concepts in mind in narrowing down what kind of fashion photography I wanted to do. Originally I wanted to take photos inspired by male icons like The Beatles, Jim Morrison, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc. and transform myself and my friends into these famous male figures. However, I quickly realized that I did not have enough time to execute these photos in the way that I wanted and I decided to research vintage magazine covers. I wanted to do fashion through the decades starting with the 1950s and going to the 1990s, but I didn’t have the resources, people, or time to do all the decades. So, I focused on the 1970s since most of the clothes I have are more related to that decade. In my photo series, I used the 1970s fashion as inspiration and collaged the photographs with overlay drawings. I made a research board to keep all of my ideas/inspiration for this photo series and the link is here:
Examples of Inspiration:
This project I wanted to include different people to photograph but I was strapped for time so I was only able to capture one portrait. After spending the day taking photographs I accidentally formatted my SD card, this made me so upset because I lost all of my photographs. I looked up tons of videos of how to recover my photographs which led me to a lot of different software. Unfortunately, the software required $90 for me to recover my photos so I just screenshotted my photos on the preview on one of the software programs. This made the quality of the photos not as high as they would have been in their original format. I didn’t have a lot of time that is required for the collage aspect in Photoshop because I don’t have Lightroom and Photoshop on my computer. However, I was able to get a free trial but, I wasn’t able to execute the photos in the way that I would have liked to. With more time, models, and access to Photoshop I think this could have been a stronger series.
WaterMark is a documentary film by filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and photographer Edward Burtynsky. Three aspects that stood out to me from the film were motion, honest storytelling/environmentalism, and overhead landscape views. The film is about humans relationship with water and how our manipulation of it has a direct impact on our environments globally.
The film opens with a scene of still water and the noise gradually gets louder and the motion of the water gets stronger, the camera draws in deeper and then cuts to a landscape of the dry earth. The motion of the water is strong and destructive and then transitions to a landscape where water is nonexistent and therefore is silent. I think the contrast between the powerful water and the dried up water showed the two extremities of the forms water takes. Choosing how to present subject matter in contrasting ways is an aspect that the film presented and is something I can think about in presenting my work. I want to put in more thought in how I arrange photographs and artwork to make it more interesting and memorable.
Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge the truth, in this film Edward Burtynsky forces us to recognize humanities truth with water. There are many overhead landscape views that are shocking such as the dried up Colorado River Delta in Mexico and the Ogallala aquifer in Texas. With these images, it is impossible to deny human’s relationship with water that has had a direct negative consequence on our environment. I think I can learn from Edward Burtynsky’s honesty with humanity, I can imagine how hard it was to take the photos because it shows humans failure in protecting the Earth. This is an issue that we are all responsible for, photography is important in capturing honest photos to initiate action.
Edward Burtynsky states in the film that the question he asked himself was “How does water shape us and how do we shape water?” when moving into this project. He also wanted to show what nature has given us and how technology has impacted our environment. The photographer also wanted to make sure he knew what he was trying to say to the viewer and what it has to do with water. Planning ahead with conceptual thinking allowed Edward Burtynsky to decide how to present human’s narrative with water in an impactful way. This is something I will continue in my photographic practice. Asking myself questions about what I am trying to say with my subject, thinking about viewer’s reception, and thinking about different elements will give me a better perspective on how to move forward. Sometimes I can get stuck in visualizing and forget the importance of the narrative impactfulness of the photos. Conceptual thinking and questioning can lead to better ideas of how to arrange and compose photographs that will demonstrate your subject and narrative in a more provoking way.
What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann is a documentary film that follows the work of photographer Sally Mann. The things that stuck out to me in the film was when Sally Mann stated “It never occurred to me to leave home to make art.” This stood out to me because, I am also a person that stays at home, makes art at my home, and photographs at my home. The subjects of her photos are of the everyday, and what is interesting is that she finds ways to make them beautiful and see things differently. I like that she states “Photograph what you love, otherwise you can’t make good art.” Often times I feel pressured to take photos of what I think art is supposed to be and lose passion for what I actually want to capture. I feel I share similarities with Sally Mann because I like to capture images from my home, from what surrounds me family, friends and Sally Mann demonstrates that you can create dynamic images from your everyday life. This is something I will continue to do throughout my life.
Another aspect from the film that stood out to me was Sally Mann’s ability to see in photographs. She knew what she wanted to photograph and could direct her kids, husbands, and animals in how to move so that she could get the right composition for her photos. The ability to visualize what is in your mind into reality is a great skill to have. Watching how she directed has taught me how I could be more vocal in how I direct my subjects. For instance when she is telling her daughter to go deeper into the water and move her hair forward to create a dynamic shot was impressive and shows that the tiniest movements is what can make or break a photograph. When watching the film you see her kids having fun at the lake and then she directs her daughter to do this pose and creates a haunting image that is very different from the reality of what was actually taking place. Her vision is clear and I think that I want to find my own point of view in creating images of my everyday life but pushing them to new perspectives, by doing the unexpected.
Her production of her photos was also interesting. She did not want perfection, she actually depended on the uncertainty and technical errors to make her photos the way she wanted. This is something that would be nerve racking for me. I like to know how my photos and artwork are going to be executed, so to have little control over my work could allow me to be less attached and become more experimental.