Tomorrow I will be reshooting the bar scene for my final project. Today I received my film from my other reshoot, which I did on Wednesday. I scanned, edited, and printed most of the ones that I liked. I thought I would share a few photographs from this batch. I am curious if I am figuring out how to properly use the lighting where I don’t lose detail in the blacks and whites. Brian, Tom, and I discussed this in detail in class on Tuesday. For these photos, I made sure there was no greater than a 5 stop difference between the darks and the lights. On top of that, I overexposed my film by 1 stop and then underdeveloped by 1 stop.

Here are some of the results (though hard to see on the computer, I think I accomplished getting more details in the blacks):

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Before this assignment I hadn’t really looked at online photo magazines. Because of this, I had to look on my own at different magazines to see which ones I related to. Unfortunately, I went through many magazines and didn’t seem to find one that I liked. However, I came across this magazine: http://blueeyesmagazine.com and really enjoyed it. 

Blue Eyes Magazine is dedicated to showcasing long term documentary photo projects. “Skate Rats” the current showcase is what really caught my attention. I loved the use of color as well as the use of the subjects in each photograph. The people seemed gritty but fun. And it gave me a sort of “day in the life” of a skate rat.

I think this sight is worth while because it really shows us interesting subjects. “London Calling” and the work on flight attendants may entertain others that weren’t so interested in “Skate Rats.” I think documentary is important because it shows us what is going on this world and that we aren’t the only beings that are important. I think the long term aspect is also worth while because it shows us how a photographer grows over time. This way, we can look at the site and learn from the things that we liked and that we didn’t like. 

For my final project I will be doing an outline of my plans for my senior thesis. My hope is to utilize dramatic lighting as much as possible and as such, I am photographing a themed Film Noir. For this project I’ve outlined my own “faux” script so I would have a brand new Noir instead of ripping off other old films. Despite this, my project should have obvious similarities to old Noir – for instance, the staple of the fedora hat, the femme fatale, and the dramatic lighting. As I move forward with the project I may even start experimenting with off camera angles because this was another staple shot in many Film Noirs’ to show an “unstable universe.”

I am shooting in both medium format and 35mm. The reason for this is because I’m unsure of whether I want my senior thesis to be in medium format or 35. This is also a good way for me to tell the differences between the films. I will shoot the same shot with each camera so I can do an easy side by side comparison. As for printing, my initial plan was to scan the negatives and print digitally. Though I am still leaning toward this option, after experiencing issues in the digital lab I am considering going back to the dark room because I know my way around the dark room very well. Working in the digital lab would give me a lot more experience with digital printing and I would probably learn much more, however, I don’t know if my final prints will come out as well as they would if I printed them analogue. This is something I’m debating – learning more of one medium or sticking to something I know and make perfect prints. Again, I am still leaning toward digital because I want to get better at that medium.

For my final size, I’m hoping to print on 11.7 x 16.5 luster paper by Ilford. With my project I think this would be better than an 8×11 because they will look more like film stills. I will have at least 8 photos, but I’m unsure how many more. I already know that I have many reshoots that I need to do for my thesis but for my final there may not be enough time to get all of these done. I’m already assuming that my final will have about 5 to 7 less pictures that my thesis. I’m hoping this won’t hinder the project, but to tell a story in a series of photographs takes time, effort, and many photos – especially in a “faux” movie.

I am nervous about how the film is going to turn out. Since it’s not digital, I can’t be sure how everything is going to look and it’s one of the first few times I’ve used professional lighting. On top of that, I don’t want my models to seem to posed and I feel like I may have run into a problem with that as well. I’m hoping for the best, but I realize that more reshoots are in order, I just hope that there is enough time.

I really didn’t know what to expect when going to view Metzker’s work at the Getty. To be frank, I had never heard of him – which isn’t too shocking because I haven’t heard of many photographers. I refrained from looking him up and researching him prior to my visit because I like to be surprised, especially at the Getty because it is one of my favorite museums. Entering the room I, again, didn’t know what to expect but I was quite delighted by what I saw.

I liked how the exhibit was of Ray Metzker and his journey, not just an exhibit on one of his body of works but instead a whole compilation. This was really interesting because I like to see how artists grow and where their vision might change drastically or skew minimally along the way. Metzker seemed to only have little changes instead of big ones, and even in changes you could tell the work was all from him because of his technical aspects. From my perspective, Metzker, like me, is a contrast junkie! Much of his work had strong contrast between the whites and the darks. I loved this because I happen to love this same aesthetic, I haven’t quite mastered it yet but Metzker seems to be the king. Right when I noticed his love for contrast I began to see Metzker as more of an influence and less as a school assignment.

I genuinely liked most, if not all, of his images; but I responded most to his photographs from “City Whispers.” Many reasons created a reaction from me. For one, I love the city. Growing up in the suburbs just minutes outside of one of the best cities ever, New York City, gave me an interest in the city life and a disinterest in the boring, mundane, suburb life. I think that Metzker photographed the city in an interesting way: instead of seeing all of the positives of city life, Metzker seemed to focus on the alienation and loneliness that occurs when someone lives in such a mass populated area. He shows this through his juxtaposition of (what little he photographs) the city with a lone person or a small group of people being engulfed in massive shadow. I really liked the idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that in such a large city you can feel the loneliest you’ve ever have. On top of the subject matter, I was immediately drawn to the lighting of the pictures. Again, he has incredible contrast. Furthermore, the lighting that he uses reminds me of a film noir type lighting (which is something I am experimenting with for my senior show). The dark shadows give a haunted feeling or even a mysterious/lonely feeling.

Two photographs really stood out for me as seen below.

ImageI love this photograph. As mentioned before, I love the contrast he has as well as the subject he is conveying. What really catches my eye is the lighting. The fact that he blacks out the woman’s face speaks volumes. For me this is saying, “Who is this woman?” We have no idea. It’s almost has if she has lost her identity while trying to make it in the big city. She is alone and yet we will never know who “she is.” In a city with a vast amount of people, there isn’t anyone special. You get lost in the sea of millions of people, all working, living, and hanging out in the same area. So who are you? It seems that Metzker is saying that in the city you are no one, or at least you FEEL like a nobody. The beauty of this photo juxtaposed with the sad, but someone true, message, really spoke to me. The whole photograph is a hit for me, starting with the lighting and ending with the message.

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This photograph spoke to me for similar reasons. I find that we are seeing a similar message: that you could be surrounded by people but still be alone. This is shown through the image by grouping the people at the bus station together while choosing to show the large city space to the right – disclosing that there is no one else there. All of the people at the bus station are not only alone together waiting for the bus, but they also seem to be alone even in their group. None of them seem to be interacting – it looks as if all of them are there by themselves, catching the bus, not with a friend, but with their own being. The lighting again gives this photograph an eery film, quite like a film noir. The people are different and yet the long shadows give everyone the feeling of being the same. They don’t realize that they are all feeling the same alienation, but they are.

In the end, I extremely enjoyed Ray Metzker. The two photographs that I posted here are photographs that made me do outside research on him once I got home. I looked at even more photos from his collections and saw, as I said earlier, someone who influenced me. With the senior show coming up, I have recently decided to create film noir photographs. I find that Metzker could be the perfect person to research and study in order to understand where and how he lit his photos to give them such a haunting feel. I’m glad we were asked to go to this show, it really gave me a new artist to turn to when I’m lacking inspiration. It’s nice to see people showing off really great black and white photographs – something that I favor. Metzker accomplishes everything that I have tried to achieve – interesting themes, lots of contrast (but not going overboard), photographing people, and mastering lighting.

Even though I’ve had multiple photoshop tutorials there sate still areas that I struggle with. I’m not sure that I can say that I feel totally comfortable with anything in photoshop. Last year I do think I became a lot better at cleaning up the scan and learning how to find the correct color. However, I have issues with actually remembering everything that I’ve learned because so much information is given to us. 

I think I still need to work on a few things. I’ve gotten pretty good at black and white photography on photoshop but sometimes I go overboard on the curves. I need to know when the best balance between lights and darks are. Similarly, when you print the picture it never comes out the same as it looks on the computer screen, this creates visual issues for me and tends to be the reason why I give too much contrast. 

As for another area I need to work on it is sharpening. This one is pretty basic. I’ve never done sharpening before so I usually sharpen too much or sharpen too little. 

Overall, there are areas that I need to try out more and practice more. I so think that I’ve become way better at photoshop than when I first started using it years ago. I think this class will really help cement the other teachings I’ve learned while making me better in areas that I’ve previously struggled with.