Thursday, October 25, 2007

Practice Test Animation

This is my friend Matt building and destroying a pyramid of Polar Springs tops. It's a little fast.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weekly Post IX

Late October.

Not All Taken By Me

Aline Smithson Response

I found Smithson's series to be absolutely hilarious. She has an old lady dressed as a Grizzly Bear, terrifying doll faces repeated in multiple scenes, and a series of celebrity portraits, which she doesn't blatantly explain as being taken in a wax museum. Although I did enjoy the "Portrait of the Photographer's Mother," "Hugo," and "Shooting Stars," I found myself most drawn to her "Self Portrait" series. She discusses in the little blurb that she hates being photographed and therefore hates self portraits of herself. I find it amusing that we can learn so much about her, and maybe she is learning about herself as well, just by taking on her point of view as she looks down to her feet. In twenty-one images we learn that she lives in Los Angeles, is on a diet (or has been recently), owns a yellow lab, is interested in fashion and dressing well, uses a medium format camera, isn't afraid of heights, has a son who plays lacrosse, has spent time in Hollywood and is possible a Jackie Chan fanatic, is married, enjoys soap operas and the beach, and knows how to garden and drive a car. What fascinates me about her approach is that not only do we not see anything but her feet, but we learn more about her by seeing images of her feet than we often do by simply looking at a traditional head-shot of a portrait.

The majority of the images seem fairly thought out and posed, but I have no problem with this as the composition is strong in each and they hold my attention. I think that people are generally interested in getting a sneak peak into other people's lives. It is rare that we do actually get information like this about a stranger, but it is almost as if we can't resist finding the truth out about a complete stranger. On that note of truth, I find myself not worrying about the validity of these images. I would be surprised if she would stage a scene that wasn't characteristic of her. So, no lies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lying Response

Over fall break we read a little about lying through photography and began thinking about our own lying project for the coming weeks. At that point I wasn't really that into the project. I was thinking about it too much and it wasn't until we discussed lying in class that I became more comfortable with the idea of the coming project. When designing my project I kept thinking about the words tricking, lying, fiction, and a few others and then trying to establish a distinct difference between them. However, there is really a gray area around each of them. Is tricking your audience the same as lying to them. Is a staged or posed image/series a fictional story or is it a blatant lie? What actually makes a photograph a lie? After freaking myself out thinking about all of those questions, which don't seem to have concrete answers, I just tried to dive into the project and kind of run with an idea. The one I ran with was banned books. I wanted to photograph images of destroyed books and the destruction process and trick the viewers into thinking that the images were actually taken in the 1960s and 70s when two specific books, Lolita and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, had been banned. This would require cutting, tearing, erasing, and burning books, photographing the process, converting the images to black and white and sticking a false date on the bottom right. Although my project progressed in a little bit of a different direction, I was quite satisfied with the final product and enjoyed the project as a whole. I was happy to get three weeks from the introduction of photographic lying to brainstorm a topic and narrow down what began as a very broad and almost vague project.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lomography Response

As photography student I often find myself looking up to those who have made successful careers out of their talent in the medium. I believe that there is no better way to be inspired and no better place to look for a model, but I think that I sometimes place well-established photographers too high above myself. It is all too easy to think about the price of one of their prints and become intimidated and in this case, the value of their cameras and various pieces of equipment. Earlier in the semester Meg introduced us a Peter Adams quote that I try to always keep in mind, "Photography is not about cameras, gadgets and gismos. Photography is about photographers. A camera didn't make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel."

Over fall break I was at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis and I purchased a Lomo book. Since then I've been flipping through the book and constantly looking at the website with the above quote in mind. All through photography classes I have (for the most part) been told to crop out the light spots from unexpected, and unidentifiable sources, crop out random limbs or objects that are sneaking in from the borders of the image, and make a final print with the appropriate and perfect contrast, composition, etc. I have enjoyed the encouragement to be even more spontaneous with my camera and accept flaws and the unexpected as a supplement to the image.

The Lomo company makes these cameras that are relatively cheap and fairly durable considering the price. It is an incredible way to promote photography. When I think about Adams, Frank, Nixon, Leibovitz, and all of the other widely known names in photography, I sometimes sadly dismiss my aspirations to be like them because I don't have and can't afford the tools that they have. Lomo seems to do everything possible to push photography on us, which is a great thing. They essentially encourage the breaking of traditional photographic rules and just set our own trends. The Bowdoin Art Department needs to invest in a variety of these cameras.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Elissa's Allergy Test Results: Negative

Eric Hansen Response

I found these photographs difficult to look at from the start. I have nothing against the images, but looking at them on a website is a challenge. I'm sure Hansen didn't intend for them to be viewed together as thumbnails/ individually as 4x6 images, but I kept wanting to see them enlarged and hanging together on a gallery wall. Anyway, from the start there is a very whimsical feel to the images, which I still don't know if I like. He is quite successful in portraying fictional, even sci-fi-like, scenes through his use of lighting, staging, and framing (and digital media I'm sure). Without being able to speak directly to the artist to get answers, many questions linger with me about both the subject matter and the message Hansen is trying to send. The scenes appear to be made up of everyday objects like flowers, rocks, and sand, but are composed in a way that looks like a vast landscape (hence the titles?). That composition in itself is deceiving and is essentially a lie. The photographer is staging the frame and tricking the viewer into believing that the scene is much larger than it actually is, which seems to also over exaggerate and emphasize the importance of the images, together and separately. The last thing I want to comment on is his choice to work in black and white rather than with color. Like I mentioned earlier, I am assuming that this is digital. I would read into this as being Hansen's way to maybe dispel his audience's questions about digital/computer manipulation. If people thought that this was taken with film, they may buy more into the truthfulness of the photographs.

Long Overdue...Color Response

Overall, I really enjoyed this project. It was a successful transition into color photography after being so intimate with black and white in previous years and gave me that last little taste with my manual 35 mm camera. I struggled a bit initially with the idea of presenting the scanned image with the color slide image, but I just forced myself to not think ahead about it and just take pictures. I was pleased with my final products, especially the dog tail/handkerchief and the door/lavender. I struggled a bit with the scanning process, but eventually figured it all out. There were some technical problems and also a few mistakes on my part in regards to pixels. I think it was a good chance to get used to unfamiliar technology and figure out what I was doing wrong and correct myself. After only a few weeks of using my digital camera, I found in amusing and also frustrating that I would take a picture with my manual SLR and immediately look at the back to preview the image.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Snow Ball Fight 10.13.2007

Weekly Post VII

Lying and Photography

The idea of photography being a major tool, one which facilitates the telling of fictional stories and lies, is something that isn't always in the front of our minds as the shutter clicks. For me, photography is largely associated with journalism. It plays a major role in emphasizing some aspect of a story and facilitates the spreading of important information. In journalistic photography, truth is quite significant. The majority of audiences simply read the story and look at the photo and conclude that it is factual. While this is not the case with every source and in every situation, photography is still considered remarkably trustworthy considering the ways one can lie through the lens, but also using all of the recent digital editing techniques.

With this in mind, I then sort of skip over to thinking about how a photographic lie matters depending on the weight and significance of the image or collection of images. The images of fairies that were innocently fabricated by two young girls prompted discussion, but most likely little uprising. However, I would imagine that images of war such as the staged, iconic image from Iwo Jima or even Roger Fenton's photographs with the cannon balls stirred up some anger in the viewers. Ultimately, we have few to no ways of proving the authenticity of an image. I would say that this is not unique to photography, but something that brings conversation and controversy to the medium.

Our House

Tuesday, October 9, 2007