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Monthly Archives: September 2012

One photographer I really enjoy is Francesca Woodman. She experimented a lot with her composition, subject, and technique and I find it to be very unique, even still, to what many people have done and do in photography.

These three photographs are some of my favorites from her. I like how she uses the human body to create an interesting narrative or shape in each photograph. Generally, I like her style, she uses a lot of models as well as herself in many of her images. Here, I like how she experiments with motion blur and using the body to create a figure. In the first photograph, I love how it looks like her body is blending in with the wallpaper.

I also am a huge fan of how contrasty her photos are. I’m someone who doesn’t shy away from contrast, sometimes I even go overboard in contrast. Personally, I am attracted to photos with darker blacks and lighter lights because it gives it a very heavy, mysterious feel to the photo. I’m a pretty happy person but I don’t find myself being interested in photographs that give off a happy feeling. From Woodman’s work I get a sadness or even just a heaviness that makes me want to keep looking at each photo.

Her composition is also something that I am really drawn to. I think she frames each picture so well and it just makes her subject even more interesting. My eye travels throughout the whole photo instead of just being stuck in one spot. She definitely was able to get a reaction from her audience (though she didn’t really become big until she died). Overall, I like her techniques but also the feeling I get from the photographs.

I would personally love to learn how to take photographs like she did. I feel like she took a lot of risks and that they paid off tremendously. Generally, I have trouble thinking in “medium format.” What I mean is, my mind automatically compositions things in rectangles, not squares. It’s something I have to work at for sure and I think Woodman is an excellent person to look up in in regards to formatting and composition in medium format.

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Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, is a huge inspiration to me. His films, especially in the film The Tree of Life, are filled with gorgeous imagery that could easily be a timeless photograph. He has made me strive to want to learn more about lighting so I can try and emulate his style.

Each presentation that was given was very interesting and enlightening for its own reasons, however, I’ll only be commenting on different sections of three different PowerPoints as to not overwhelm you (the reader) with my own opinions.

When first asked to write a response to the powers points, I automatically thought of three, Quinci’s, Kaitlyn’s, and Candice’s presentations. Both Kaitlyn and Quinci had artists, that they named as artists they enjoyed, that I have strong opinions on while I also had strong feelings for Candice’s own body of work. To begin, I will discuss both of the artists.

© Ansel Adams

Kaitlyn will not be too shocked to hear/read this since we have discussed this ad nauseum before, but one of her favorite artists, Ansel Adams, happens to be one of my least favorite artists. Though I understand why Ansel Adams is considered a very talented photographer (he definitely was) and though I do see the beauty in his landscapes, for me the beauty doesn’t interest me. I think if I had seen these pictures at the time he had actually taken them I would feel differently. Now, I feel like it doesn’t really tell me anything that I didn’t know (which is that these landscapes are beautiful). The reason for this is because since childhood I have been inundated with all kinds of artwork, including photography, of beautiful landscapes.

That being said, Ansel Adams’ photographs were not the first landscape photographs I’d ever seen. If they were the first that I’d ever seen, I’d probably see much more beauty in them, in the sense that they would interest me a lot more. Since I’ve seen photographs like this since I was a kid I wasn’t too taken with the images as I had seen them before. Furthermore, Adams’ photographs have become, in my opinion, completely overproduced. It would be a complete shock to not find one of his photos printed on a post card or a large poster hanging in someone’s room. The mass exposure of something that I don’t find to be that interesting (landscapes) is too overwhelming for me.

I think the biggest reason I’m not a huge fan of Ansel Adams is because it’s not really my style. I used to be really interested in abstracts, and even now I find myself reverting back to taking the photos but now I’m really into photographing people, set shoots (after I learn lighting) and self portraits. I like focusing on people, their emotions, how we want to perceived vs. the way people perceive us – in that respect, I don’t do a lot of landscape shooting unless I’m in a time crunch.

That being said, I can understand why Ansel Adams is an inspiration to Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn is the complete opposite of me photography wise, she loves nature, outdoors, landscapes, etc. Last semester when Kaitlyn did her final project “Looking Up,” I was really surprised. The reason I was so surprised was because I found them so beautiful. Kaitlyn is a great photographer, I already know that, but since I’m not that interested in outdoors, an landscapes I was a little taken aback to find myself really in love with her project. This is why I understand her liking of Ansel Adams and think it’s great! I think that by using him as an inspiration Kaitlyn could use her interests and become someone who takes interesting pictures of landscapes that would catch even my attention (which was already one last semester).

© Banksy

Moving on to Quinci’s presentation, I’d like to talk about one of her favorite artists Banksy. I completely agreed with Quinci’s opinion. For me, Banksy is one of my favorite artists. Firstly, I liked that Quinci used a different medium other than photography to showcase her favorite artists because I feel like we can find really great inspirations in all art, not just photography. Secondly, I think Banksy is a great artist to look to, not only is his/her graffiti art beautiful aesthetically (though it is made from stencils due to him/her having to quickly put it on walls as to not get caught), it is also interesting and beautiful because of the meaning behind his/her work.

Banksy isn’t just a “pretty picture.” His/her artwork deals with critiquing everything and everyone, from society as a whole, to government, to cops, etc. His/her political messages behind his images are incredibly moving. Furthermore, the fact that you don’t know where or when a Banksy piece will pop up makes it all the more interesting. Where will Banksy go next? What will he create? WHO is Banksy? It makes me stand on edge and keeps me interested for his/her future work. His pieces have really inspired me. In general I enjoy things that have a meaning or a story behind them even if it’s not something so obvious (most of Banksy’s work IS obvious though). I’ve even gotten a part of his artwork tattooed on my arm because I love it so much. In the end, I think Banksy is one of this generation’s great artists, no matter how overrated people may think he is.

Finally, I’d like to talk about Candice’s body of work because I was really interested and moved by the photographs. I thought that all of her portraits were done extremely well – the printing, composition, contrast, subjects, etc all appealed to me. I think I enjoyed them so much because I do have a similar aesthetic, though I don’t think I’m as good at portraying that in my execution as she is. I REALLY enjoyed her Occupy photographs. Many people photograph the Occupy movement but I don’t really enjoy those photographs because I find them all the same. I think Candice was really able to get a different view of the movement and definitely thought about the composition and making them both artistic and journalistic instead of JUST journalistic.

With all of her photographs her use of natural light is fantastic. I had to even ask her if it was natural light because the way the camera is angled + the contrast makes some of her photos look like studio lighting which is quite beautiful. Her presentation has gotten me incredibly excited to see her future work and has even pushed me to work harder and think up new and interesting ideas.

© Sebastião Salgado

There were many amazing photographs that really caught my attention at Bergamot Station. In fact there were so many, it was almost hard for me to choose which one to write about and since I’ve been debating between my two favorite photos at the gallery. I have finally decided to write about Churchgate Station, Western Railroad Line, Bombay, India from Photographer Sebatião Salgado’s series, Migrations: Humanity in Transition.

From my first glance I felt in awe of this photo because of its aesthetically pleasing nature. All of the lines caught my attention but I was most drawn to the towering trains that parallel each other. The composition of the photograph is beautifully done, and the parallel nature and size of the trains only help lead the viewer’s eye to the huge amount of people in the station. Furthermore, the use of the light in this photo is quite beautiful and helps make a normally dirty and grungy place (a train station) quite pretty. Furthermore, I was very drawn to the trains because of their size and placement. Though Saldado obviously couldn’t move the trains, he decided to take the picture head on and, from what it seems, an area above the hustle below. The trains size and placement makes the photo seems almost claustrophobic – with all of these people being squished between each other, the walls and the trains that they are trying to catch. The long exposure really adds to the photograph because it gives us, the viewer, the idea that the station was packed with everyone moving very hurriedly. It almost makes the people seem like what you would imagine a pack of rats to look like. They are all very unaware of their surroundings in the chaotic scene below them.

Most interestingly, the photo was not taken in what you would assume as New York City, London, or Paris (big industrial cities known for their public transport). Instead, from the title we see it was taken in India; coupled with the fact that it is from his series that deals with countries being uprooted by globalization (among other things), I believe that the meaning he is trying to portray in this photo is not a positive one. This photo instead tells a story of a country that has been taken over by the globalization of industry and changes its lifestyle in order to keep up with other societies. To me, these people have been forced to become just another blurry face in the crowd as they hurriedly run for their train.