Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Angela Strassheim

This week I began to investigate Angela Strassheim's work.  What quickly stood out to me were some of her portraits of females.

Mainly the first image is what quickly stood out to me.  Obviously this is a picture of a little girl, so not quite what I'm looking to show in photography, but the idea is there.  It shows elegance and innocence very well.  With the second I am a fan of the feeling of lifelessness that I get.  It feels that this girl has some wealth but she still has not found anything that gives her purpose.  I assume I enjoy this because it harps back to the whole birth mother being separated from her child idea.  
I also always enjoy and prefer photography that can imply nudity, without actually showing it.  I was a fan of Max's portrait of his friend in her bed.  His image was able to show innocence, fear, and the naked female form, without being blunt about body parts.  

Even though this image contradicts my love of minimalistic portraits, it does start to show the feeling of being lost within something.  The kids are oblivious to the camera, and the balloons are taking over their inhabited space.  I really wish it was one child and a lot more balloons.  I like that I begin to feel lost, but I don't yet feel alone or out of context of a fairly wealthy family's home.  I really appreciate images that can remove the subject from their original context.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Philip-Lorca diCorcia

This week I began looking deeper into various artists.  One that stood out, mainly because I was able to read an interview from them, was Philip-Lorca diCorcia.

Since typically, I tend to photograph people I was curious about his origins in household items falling over, and his switch.  I have begun to see that I do like some architectural images of my own, if I can use the architecture to help tell a narrative or idea, rather than just using the camera to analyze shapes.  

He first started using a flash because he required motion in the scene to come to a stop.  I was excited to learn this piece of information because that is the same reason I began using one.  I didn't start using a flash because it was a dark scene I was capturing, it was because I needed to stop the motion before me in order to get all the details.  

I was semi-mindblown to read that originally he was not interested in his predecessors work.  When I began taking pictures I had started because I was growing very annoyed at seeing the same exact images from magazine to magazine in the skateboarding industry.  Since then, I have come to appreciate more of the people who came before me in the medium, however I feel that my contemporaries are much more influential to me.

Usually still life images, or simply images of a room don't gain my attention.  However with some of diCorcia's pieces from A Storybook Life I was actually investigating them.  I'd like to understand what makes these work for me, as opposed to most.  My guess is that still places are created, but not a still image.  There's still a figure in the composition that is out of place or normality.

Perhaps this idea/method would help out my work.

My critique did not end up the way I had hoped.  Some images I used I wanted to experiment with delivery.  I also wanted to see the reaction of what I typically do on my own vs. how I perform for assignments.  Most people seemed to prefer my assignment work.  It may seem that my self guided work had no united direction, however I just have not had enough time to gather the correct images for the subject matter I wish to portray.  Hopefully, I can implement some words of wisdom from "the predecessors" for use in my self directed work and in general in between images.

Article I'm referring to: 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week 5

This week I began to swim into the sea of American Suburb X.  I was very pleased to see such a reliable source of actual photographic work.

I was excited about two images in particular from Roswell Angier's "Combat Zone", and for a series as a whole, Andy Warhol's Polaroids.

Combat Zone was interesting because of two images.  One of a female facing a thee park ride and a truck, and one of two females in a hallway next to a piano.  Both images created a sense of isolation as well as an understanding of who the character was, without the use of the person's face.  Both brought about the feeling of being lost, but somehow still empowered.  I would really like to investigate this concept further.  I also was interested in the specific use of nudity.  Most nudity in photography that I've seen recently tends to be used without a real purpose or end result other than "look at the naked body". I find that for the most part implied nudity is actually more effective and can bring across a better conceptual idea or topic.

I had not previously viewed Warhol's Polaroids before.  I was interested in them because they only depict one person or subject at a time.  While they could be seen as a little plain because of the backdrop, I believe they are actually more powerful than most because Warhol was able to capture a lot of the personality with only a little room for space around them and a standard background.  Having the portraits be of famous celebrities when they were young and looked much different helped to take the viewer away from being a "celebrity fan" and rather put the viewer into new shoes.  I was able to read these people as typical/average citizens who had a story to tell.  These images helped to show me that simple can actually create the greatest impact.

I did have a couple of questions.  How often do they update, and do the artists themselves (or foundation) have to put up the work, or is it generated by a committee board?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 4 Justine Kurland

I had never been able to attend an Artist Critique before and I was very excited to be able to participate in Justine's.  Although, it would have been really wonderful if my own work was on the wall.

I thought for most of what she had to say were spot on comments.  Particularly when she was talking about the images from a male student in the corner, and how his stuff was focused on design.  It was nice to see her essentially showing the student his strong skills and encouraging him to develop them further.  I appreciated that she talked about the one set of photographs with color lights.  She pointed out that it looked more like a low-hollywood set, rather than "photography".  It disappoints me when photo majors use the camera to display something about another medium, rather than focusing on photography.

It was nice to see her pick apart students image sets and, in an upfront manner, select the photographs that fit together perfectly, while pushing aside the rest.  I feel that most students don't put enough thought into the images they want to display for a show, so I loved that she wanted to help with the organization.  Choosing your images correctly can really make or break a show.

I did not like a portion of her comments on Melissa's pictures.  I felt that most of what was addressed and talked about was very helpful and insightful, but not in this case.  She immediately spoke about how it's hard to do a self portrait if you are a "non-conventional female by society's standards".  While this is true, and I assume the work is in fact discussing the that, I felt it was really unnecessary to mention the topic.  Once she began talking about the lines and shapes and the specific use of the body, I believe in the third and fourth images, I forgave it.  However, the topic of "being overweight is difficult" is way too obvious of an idea to discuss, at least when I'm listening to a guest speaker who is supposed to be much more knowledgable in a field and can offer real insights into student work.

I found it interesting at the beginning when discussing one of the first two students pieces how opposed I was to Justine's preferences in images.  We started with a female student who had a self portrait that depicted her chest with puzzle pieces over it.  I thought that picture was very interesting, aside from the visible tape, but Justine did not like it and instead voted for the one below, which showed the backside of a girl in pantyhose.  For me, I felt I had seen the pantyhose one countless times before.  So, I thought it was intriguing that she approved of that one so much more, causing me to investigate the image further a day later.  I still stand by my original preference though.

Hopefully, I'll be able to attend more of these Artist Critiques in the future.

(I wasn't sure if the associated students would appreciate me posting iPhone pictures of their work, so I've omitted them for now.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week 3 News Article Respone

I did not want to cover/respond to a news article regarding turmoil for this assignment.  Instead I hoped to look into a topic that I thought most classmates would overlook.
While the effects and benefits of sleep is a standard topic, I knew it would be left out, and I thought I could have fun with some odd portraits.

I strolled along them internets for some articles that would startle me a little.
Of course I always knew that "getting your eight hours" was highly suggested, however I usually am able to get much less.

Knowing this, I was in for a surprise when I came across a New York Times article that told me that,
"Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life."

Seeing this led me to choose this topic for my images, and want to investigate further.
I decided that for my photographs I wanted to depict people on campus who I interact with on a daily basis, sleeping with a serene expression, but in a very uncomfortable position.  I wanted to show how we all love sleep so much, but none of us (these students) never really get enough for the upcoming day.

I'm satisfied by a couple of them.  The image of a friend sleeping on the television, cramped between the wall is a highlight.  I will most likely go back to where the self portrait, of me sleeping on top of a shopping cart, was taken and re-do it.  For this one, I was dissatisfied by how my arm was supporting my head, rather than being flopped over the side of the cart.  I was also dissatisfied by the one of Jackson sleeping while doing his homework.  The framing I used failed to show that he was balancing on the top of his chair, and it just looks like he's in bed.  I did really enjoy how the laundry mat bench photograph turned out.  I am able to draw a better relatable experience with the help of the background of washers and dryers behind the sleeping subject.

Usually I don't use "The News" as canon for any work, since they tend to be personal, but this assignment has caused me to consider using this method more often.  At least to get some new approaches to what I'm already doing.

I'll be updating/editing this to add in my related contact sheet.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week 2 Adams Why People Photograph

I agree that the idea of surrounding yourself with colleagues is of the utmost importance.  Over the summer I spent most of my time by myself, creating next to no images.  The moment I was with some friends who also use cameras I had more than I could handle.  I also believe that having colleagues who are better than you is important.  Once you can accept the idea that someone will always be better than you at something, having that higher knowledge around you is paramount.  The group critique is also a necessity, however some previous classes have skipped on this, and I felt that was a monumental waste of potential growth for everyone involved.  

I do not agree with the mentioned general idea that negatives are worthless but prints are everything, once a photographer dies.  Perhaps its because I'm a college student, but if I couldn’t make a living taking pictures, I would still do it, I would simply savor my rolls.

I usually implement the approach of not placing yourself or your model.  Unless I'm trying to create something really specific, I just carry a camera, and let life unfold.  I also have discovered that I too make use of the concept that life is suffering.

“Our subject thus redefines us, and is part of the biography by which we want to be known.”

With my recent works, especially the entire La Ceiba collection, I feel the works are beginning to create a new origin story about me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chosen Artist

I chose Mark Steinmetz as a relevant artist.
I found a few running trends and themes that we both implement, or that I'm currently working on emulating.
For instance this relates to a past series of mine titled "Drug Dealers".

"I think Winogrand put it as "photographs that state problems." I greatly admire the
work Cartier-Bresson did in his early twenties or that Atget did in the last years of his life - their images are rich, resonant, and not so readily interpreted. I'm not so sure my work has any single specific emotional effect - so much depends on the eyes of the beholder and where he or she might be at in their life or in their cultivation. The work is open to interpretation. I think my psyche is just wired a certain way and that I'm pretty much helpless to photograph things the way I do. It's my nature."- Steinmetz

In Drug Dealers, I showcased the subject of skateboarding.  However, I altered the typical approach to skateboard photography.  I had no interest in photographing the activity, but rather the events that surround it.  For the most part, unless you know that the images are depicting this sport, you would not immediately know the whole story.

With this in mind, I feel that some of Steinmetz's images are similar to my own.  I don't think my work so far is open to a vast amount of interpretation, but it at least is not obvious what is being depicted. 

Also, the last two lines reflect a bit of how I feel in regards to the practice of photography.  Most of my time spent using a still camera is from within a sort of helpless state.  The larger portion of all my recent work is heavily preplanned and researched.  With these more focused works, capturing with a camera, or paint, or w/e, it is not a choice.  It must be done, or it will consume my thoughts.  

"I've studied silent films and film noir so who knows what I've absorbed from all that and how it may have seeped into my work."- Steinmetz

I thought this was an interesting find.  I came to Purchase as a Cinema Studies major.  I always loved that I can view a film from an analytical stand point, then use that knowledge to better understand how I can compose with my own cameras.

Steinmetz often finds subjects who are emotionally or physically isolated from their surroundings or current environment.  I really appreciated this part of his approach, as I try to do the same.

I believe isolating a subject assists the viewer in understanding more about the subjects plight or mental state.  Recently, I've been attempting to be as minimalistic as I can within all my works.  Only photographing one subject within a frame, or only using two base colors with painting.

His project "South East" resonated with me the most, and is what caught my attention, sans the guy smoking a cigarette.