At the beginning of the semester, I had never touched any camera other than a disposable or an iPhone camera. Learning the ins and outs of a DSLR was slightly overwhelming at first as well as was learning how to use Lightroom. As the semester progressed, I began to feel more comfortable playing with the camera and playing with the editing process on Lightroom. I enjoyed the field trips that allowed us to explore our creativity and get fresh air. Although I felt that this class added a lot more out of class work, I felt that it honestly enriched my experience and allowed me to socialize with the people in my class. I liked seeing my progress throughout the semester as I began to focus on compositional aspects of my photos. Once it came to the book assignment, I was really excited and eager to make my book what I envisioned and I never expected to be excited about the project. I appreciate the patience you had as a professor. You set high expectations but it only bettered my work in a way I never thought I could get it to.
I completed the “Big Mac Photo Challenge” on Tuesday, April 30th with my boyfriend and another friend. Every Tuesday we get fish tacos at Rubio’s and this is where I took all of these photos. After taking their portrait, I wanted to see if I could capture good photos of other objects such as the succulent flower, the fish tacos, and the golf clubs. The challenging part of this assignment was working with the Big Mac box light and the other lighting around the subjects. I had to be very particular with the angles that I placed the box around the subject. I feel that I created pretty good photos considering I used my iPhone camera and a Big Mac box with a flash light.
My two favorite assignments throughout the semester were the MOPA inspirational photos and the night photography photo shoot. These assignments were more enjoyable for me because I started to feel more comfortable with the camera and its’ settings. I felt I was able to create cool looking photos and develop my skills through what I had learned from prior assignments. Once I could sharpen my camera skills, I could focus on other aspects of photography such as the content and style of the photos I was taking. I had fun playing with the shutter speed and creating images at night using artificial light and moving objects. I enjoyed MOPA because I found it fun being able to create photos that were inspired by actual photographers. I enjoyed being able to recreate the photos in a way that was applicable to my taste and surroundings. I enjoyed experimenting with different lighting, props, and angles to capture the photos.
My least favorite assignment was the Robert Mapplethorpe documentary. After watching the documentary, I found it hard to see his work as artistic. I understand he is a very popular photographer and his work remains significant for many reasons, however, I personally do not enjoy that type of art. I understand finding beauty in the human form, but Mapplethorpe takes it to a different level and I found it offensive and crude. When it came to writing a blog post about the documentary, I could not think of anything meaningful to say, other than my personal judgments. The documentary discussed how his work was often considered controversial because of its pornographic qualities. Although he was attempting to highlight the BDSM subculture of the time, much of his work is very ‘in your face’, which does not make me understand BDSM culture or his portrayal of sexuality any better.
Throughout the semester I have been working on the children’s book called Leo Faces his Fears. The book incorporated a children’s narrative and lego photography. I tried to utilize the various elements of the camera such as adjusting the aperture to create images where the lego man was the main focus and less important aspects of the photos were kept blurry. The story itself follows the lego man and his journey facing his greatest fears such as trying new vegetables, heights, his mother leaving him, bugs, and monsters. While thinking of his fears, the photos contain a white vignette to signal that he is having a thought and an irrational one at that. The pages following his fear thoughts contain him facing his fear and seeing that he is happier once he has faced his fear. I found inspiration to mix lego photography and a children’s book from Pinterest. I saw how creative and cool mixing legos and photography was. I did not realize what a challenge this would be. Photographing something so small proved to be a big challenge. I had to not only get creative with the setting and props I was using, but also with the camera settings. Looking back, I wish I had used a micro lens, so I could capture the photos with more detail and less grain. When setting up each scene I tried to use a mixture of real life props and other small toys. I tried to make it seem as though the lego man was living as a lego person in a real world.
On Tuesday April 2nd, 2019 a few of my classmates and I went to Balboa Park in San Diego to visit the Museum of Photographic Arts. As we walked in, we noticed that the front room of the museum was extremely spacious, white, and clean looking. We began by noticing the main exhibit in this front room which was titled “Defining Space/Place: Contemporary Photography from Australia. This photography featured unrealistic photos of places being attacked by aliens or birds. Other photos within this exhibit contained nothing but women and florals. The women in the photos were surrounded by flowers, holding flowers, and wearing floral prints on their clothes. I used this as inspiration for the photo above in which Kasey is holding a floral wreath that frames her face, just as the photographer Papapetrou did with her photography. The next exhibit was the Hidden Worlds exhibit which gave inspiration to my next photo. Spirit photography was shown in this exhibit as being something that has been captured for centuries. People used spirit photography as a way to connect with the spirit world. By slowing down the shutter speed on my camera, I was able to capture an image that looked as though spirits were captured. Another series of photos within the Defining Space/Place exhibit were done by Hoda Afshar in which he captured dark and moody photographs of people in dirty bathroom/ shower settings. The people were hardly clothed and most were not looking into the camera. The photos were grainy and contained high vignetting. I drew inspiration from this series which led me to capturing the photo of the woman in the bathtub with a moody undertone. I added blue tones to mix with the darkness of the tub water and the natural lighting. While editing, I chose to add grain, noise, and a high vignetting. The next and final photos were inspired from the exhibit titled “Talking with a Friend: Portraits by Bern Schwartz”. Schwartz captured photos of famous and important people. One interesting aspect of all of his portraits was that none of the subjects were ever looking at the camera and they seemed to have a certain emotion that was readable to the viewer. This inspired my last two photos in that I captured my subject in two forms, both with her not looking at the camera and with a very readable look on her face. This assignment was much easier than I thought. There were so many photos that were inspirational to me. I found that the contemporary exhibit was especially fun to recreate and find inspiration. The challenge was putting my own spin on the photos while still utilizing some of the varying and defining aspects that the photographers use in their various photographs.
On Monday, April 15th, I completed the pictorial assignment. Pictorial photos are moody and dark with a lot of grain. The photos look almost unrealistic and have a painting like quality. In order to capture pictorial photos, I decided to use places with dark lighting while simultaneously lowering the ISO on the camera’s settings to create a moody picture. In the photo on the left, I wanted to capture emotion in the women in the bath tub, while not showing her face. Not only is the lighting darker, but the woman is wearing dark clothing and I made the tub water dark as well to capture an even darker mood. In the photo on the right, I chose to create a faint casting of natural light coming from the sliding glass door to hit the crease of the chair slightly to create a high point of the photo while leaving the rest of the photo darker. Doing this allowed a painting-like quality to be given to the high quality photo. The photo has a sepia tone and an added amount of grain to achieve the antique worn look. This assignment was challenging in that it is hard to create a antique or painting-like photo using a high quality camera. I tried to create noise and dust looking features in the photos without using photoshop. I did this with the casting of light onto one part of the chair and by making the bath water dark and muddy looking.
Kasey and I completed our photobooth project on Monday, April 8th in Carlsbad. We chose to use a popular mural in Carlsbad as our backdrop because many people walk by that area and many wanted their picture taken in front of it. The mural depicts tigers and paint and creates an interesting and colorful backdrop. We made a sign letting pedestrians and cars in the surrounding area know that we were photography students from California State University San Marcos and we wanted to take their picture in front of the mural. We had a tripod set up and told people to pose in any way that made them happy and comfortable. Initially, this assignment was quite daunting and we thought it would be very difficult for us each to capture 40 different people on our cameras. What was discouraging was the amount of people that said no or that would not even stop to hear what we were doing. After we got a few people to pose in front of the camera, many others started to come around, wondering what we were doing. Several others simply recognized the artist of the mural and wanted to take their picture in front of it anyways. After we took each person’s photo, we offered them a piece of paper with our school name, our class name, and our blog links where they could see their photos. Although it was hard to break out of our shell and talk to people and convince them to let us take a photo of them, it became fun to talk to the locals and the visitors from other states and countries who were interested in having a new experience. It was also fun to see where people gravitated towards on the mural itself. Some people wanted to pose with the tiger in some way and others wanted to be centered around the mural. Some people wanted to pose normally while others wanted to do crazy poses.