Tuesday, January 1, 2013

An update on my relationship with photography

I wanted to experience this trip to Paris and London because last spring I took an intro to photography class and fell in love photograph, and more specifically film photography.   I had been into photography before the class, and really enjoyed taking digital photographs, but I had no idea the wonder of film photography until I took that class.  Film photography has helped me to grasp the skills of photography and most importantly it has challenged me to bring intention and thought into capture an image.  When I taken film pictures I think a lot about how I would like the picture to turn out, and what I am imagine I am trying to capture, more so than when I take digital photographs.  Before this trip I really was using my digital camera more as just a point and shoot, and not really producing meaningful photographs.  This trip allowed me to translate my skills learned on a film camera to a digital camera so that in all pictures that I take I have a purpose and vision.  I still struggle sometimes with night photography and figuring out all the settings on my camera fast enough to get the picture I want just right, but I know that the more I practice the more I will understand and the more pictures I will have as a result.  This trip has also evoked an inspiration to take more photographs because I realized how much photography is a preservative, a preservative of a moment, a memory.   Photography will now be a way for me to journal my life through my own eyes. 

For the last photo assignment, a day my life, I complied photographs that I took throughout a couple of days, mostly with just my iPhone.  These photographs represented a day in my life because they showed the different adventures I go on, and I always try to do an adventure a day, even if its just a small one.  The pictures also show experiences I partake in that are unusual for people my age, such as the ones of my chemotherapy drugs. And finally, the pictures show how I see, and what I think is interesting.  

Psychological difference between a painted subject and photographed subject

The exhibit we saw today was called, Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present exhibit.  It explored differences between painted subjects and photograph subjects by grouping painted settings or objects with similar photographs. There were also videos of how some of the photographs were made to look like specific paintings, which was incredible to watch. It was amazing all the effort put into making the picture look just like the painting, and then with a quick click of the camera the photograph is taken.  I liked the parallels with actually painting makeup on someone’s face to make them look like an image that was completely painted.  To me it showed how painting could be incorporated into photography.  My favorite painting/photography comparison was Rhineke Dijkstra’s photograph of a young Polish girl in a bathing suit standing on a beach.  Next to the large portrait was the painting of the Birth of Venus. I really enjoyed this comparison because of distinct similarities and dissimilarities.  The girl’s stance in the photograph was very similar to the stance of Venus in the painting.  The photographed was obviously a more modern approach with a young girl in a green bathing suit, and in the painting the woman was naked.  Also the girl was very skinny, and in the painting the woman had more curves.  I think that putting the Birth of Venus painting next to the photograph of the young girl on the beach gave the photograph a different meaning than if it was on its own.  Together, the painting and the photograph show two different worlds, two different time periods, which to me give the photograph greater influence that I am still trying to figure out completely. 

Today’s photo assignment was about a sense of time and place.  Most of my photographs from this set were taken with a film camera.  The film photographs reminded me of the photographs in the exhibit that were taken to look exactly like old paintings because although they were taken in this time period, they turned out looking old and vintage.  I also focused on age as a sense of time, so there are photographs of children and of men, and children with shadows taller than themselves.  

Response to Photographs at the Photographers’ Gallery


            Today we visited the Photographer’s Gallery in London.  Right in the entrance of the place there was a projection of the exhibit For the LOL of Cats.  Someone had noticed that there was an insane influx of photographs of cats on the internet, so For the LOL of Cats was produced.   I enjoyed the informality and humor of it, since they are just photos of cats by any body.  My favorite CATegories were cat breading, where you take a hole out of the middle of the bread and shove a cats face into it and take a picture, and cat shaming where there is a picture of a cat and a notecard that says something that they did terribly wrong that day.  
            My favorite exhibit at the gallery was SHOOT! Existential Photography.  One part of the exhibit included pictures of people from carnivals where they shoot at a target and if they hit the bull’s eye their photo is taken.  There was a really neat collection from a woman who had done this carnival game for years and saved her photos, so you can see the same woman shooting over the years.  There was also an artist who used the camera itself as a target.  He would shoot at a camera...and the hole resulting from the bullet served as the aperture.  So each of the photos also had a whole in them from the bullet.  Another part of the exhibit had this room in the dark with four huge screens surrounding you and it would play moments from movies in which the characters were shooting at the video camera, so it felt as though you were being shoot at from all angles...kind of scary. And finally there was a room in which you could shoot at a target and if you got the bull’s eye you received a picture.  Unfortunately, I am a horrible shot and kept hitting the walls instead of the target…oops. 
            I really enjoyed going to the Photographer’s Gallery because we were able to see multiple photo exhibits.  It encouraged me to put more thought into developing each of my sets on flicker, and show them like separate exhibits.  Today’s assignment was ‘The Human Street’.  My photos were of people moving about, in the streets, in museums, going places, working, and having fun.  I also have two photos from a thrift shop. Although no people are pictured, I felt as though the clothes represented a sea of people, the hangers acting as shoulders, keeping the shape of the human form for the clothes.  

A Letter to Talbot (one of the pioneers of photography)

Dear Fox Talbot,
            Walking around your home, and the land surrounding it, I felt as though I had the same desire you must have had to capture the beauty before me.  I loved leaving the big city to come to a quaint country town for the day.  It evokes new inspiration in me, inspiration that I had lost with my travels from Paris to London.  I often feel incredibly overwhelmed in large cities, so this little town, with the vast landscapes really made me feel more relaxed and able to get into the photography assignment of the day, which was a sense of light and time. With the maze of large buildings gone, I could play with the sunlight in my photographs. 
We were able to tour your house and see the window from which you produced the first negative.  The sunlight was beaming through the window at the time we were there to view it.  It must have been a great feeling for you to capture a picture of the window looking out.  In my photography, I like to manipulate the object or setting that I wish to capture, to make it look different than how anyone else would see the same object. I like to use my photography to capture how I see things differently. 
Thank you for pioneering a way for others and I to capture moments, people, and places, a way to show each individual sees differently.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Journey so Far

            Today we traveled to London by the way of the train through the English Channel. I was fighting sleep to watch the train go underground because I was secretly wishing that we would be in a tunnel surrounded by ocean with ocean creatures swimming by, but that was not what happened at all.  Instead, the train went underground in France and then reemerged in England, and I slept most of the way.  Au Revoir Paris, Ello London. 
It was a strange feeling going from the US, to Paris, and then to London.  In a way, being in London felt as though I was back home because I was no longer surrounded by people on the streets speaking another language.  Although the language barrier can be isolating, traveling in a large group takes away some of that isolation, because instead you are all isolated together.  However, it also takes away from being completely emerged in the new city’s culture.  I enjoyed the when I was in a smaller group, trying to figure out how to get around, and eventually just resorting to wandering about.  I loved when people would speak to me in French, thinking that I must be from here, or that I should at least know what they are saying.  And then feeling guilty when I all I could respond was a laugh and a shrug or nod, not giving away just yet that I had no clue what they just said.  It was strange going to restaurants and just pointing to the item on the menu that you wanted or hoped that’s what you wanted.
Now in London, its weird hearing people speak English again.  I feel like I still cannot communicate for some reason.  I either become mute when someone talks to me or I respond in a horrific mix between an English and Australian accent.  Anyways, I am excited to explore London and hopefully my communication will improve over night. 
            Today’s photography assignment was USA in the UK.  I mainly took pictures of the people that make up the photography group because we are all tourist here, trying to blend in…