Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stop Motion Vid

An awesome stop motion video that Slade's Antarctica friend made me think of...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lecture Notes

Yes. I took notes. I'm kind of a nerd.

Anway, here are the four most important things I learned from when Crane came to lecture the other day:

Photography is communication – it has to speak to someone else or it doesn’t matter what you did to make it or how much you “like” it.

Shoot the obvious, and when you get bored with the obvious, start to break through. You have to get bored with it before you begin to find the unusual.

Pick a project that’s accessible – for example, something like a documentary of your father is probably a better idea than trying to shoot the dark side of the moon.

Find the unlimited possibilities in a limited space.

Assigment #6 - Comic Strip

WHAT I LEARNED: Well...a lot. Apparently photography doesn't have to be really heavy and "important" to be good. This certainly isn't. It's kind of light hearted and funny (even though I feel kind of bad for my brother). And it's not half bad.

Also, editing. Less is more! As my Wire teacher tells us almost every class, "you have to kill your children" (not your real ones! She means your stories. When in doubt, cut). I probably could have told this story in less than nine frames. I like having all nine there, just because I think it makes more sense and gives this more of a "story" feel, with a sense of time and whatnot rather than making this just a glimpse at a scene. But still, nine is kind of a lot.

And I've been thinking about what Mr. Crane said about photography being communication. You want photos that say something to someone (it goes along with one of Slade's favorite sayings: "tell me a story"). I think it's great advice - if your photo doesn't communicate anything, is it really even worth keeping? No matter how much you LUUUUUUUV it? I think some of these communicate something, but others (the sugar one, for example)....not so much. It's something I'll work on.

WHAT I COULD LEARN BETTER: How to pick a project. It was something that was really hard for me and that I think I could improve on. First it was hard to come up with ideas, and then it was hard to narrow it down to the one I wanted to do. And it's probably a pretty good idea to pick a project that you really love (well, it's definately a good idea). I thought that a comic strip would be really cool, but I wasn't crazy about making one myself and I think that if I had picked something that I was really excited about my project would have turned out better. Because I didn't really know exactly what I was going to do for my comic strip (and because I wasn't completely in love with it) I kept kind of putting it off and shot a lot at last minute (some of my images actually came from the morning of the day it was due). I think if I had picked a project I was really motivated to work on from the get go (just because I LIKED it a lot) I would have started earlier and gotten some better images.

Oh, and I need to not be addicted to my cropping tool.

WHAT WORKED: Sounds kind of stupid for a comic strip, but honestly, I think that putting my pictures side by side in order was great. It made me feel better like that, to see them all laid out to tell a lovely little story. I like that my pictures kind of rely on each other (though some can still stand alone). I also think that I may have pulled off being slightly funny in this comic strip, which is nice. It's not weighty or epic or life changing, but it's kind of silly and fun, which was what I was going for.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: Kind of the same stuff that I just barely wrote worked. My least favorite pictures are probably the ones of the Cocoa Pebbles, the sugar, and the syrup. While they do add to the story as a whole, as individual photographs I think these are the weakest (the ones that can really stand alone well are probably the two close ups of his face). I'm just not particularly fond of them...I would take them out if the story still made sense.

What made me...:

CRY: This was my last project! So not only can I not reshoot it (something I still really want to do...) but - hello! LAST project! No more digital photo for us this term. It's so sad. An era is coming from the end. My poor blog will be lost, even forgotten, and while I do love darkroom, it's so much harder to compose stupid photo poems while being plagued by the overwhelming aroma of Fixer.

LAUGH: Slade is still struggling with the misconception that I am funny. I'm not funny! It's funny he thinks I'm funny. And it's a little funny that I think that his assumption I'm funny is funny. Funny weird, though, not funny funny.

SMILE: It focused! It FOCUSED! I had FOCUSED pictures! Yay! When I saw this I honestly did a little happy dance with my tripod, right then and there. Until, you know, klutzy me dropped the tripod (don't worry, it wasn't the school's) and fell flat on my face. Also, I've got to say that I absolutely love that second image - the close up of my brother sleeping. The lighting is lovely and after living with him for eleven year I think it's safe to say it's a great portrait of him personally. I also like the second to last close up because I love his expression, even though his lips are kind of blurry. Oh well. He wouldn't be my brother if his mouth wasn't moving.

SMIRK: Yeah. Still not much of a smirker. I did shirk, though, which kind of counts because it rhymes (but not really). Oh, and I guess I may have semi-smirked when I got to keep two memory cards. But that was really more of an inner "yay".
BAWL: This entire last week of school. It SUCKED. But hey, if I make it through finals, I'm off to Mexico! So cliches are true: there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, a silver lining on this cloud, the potential for lemonade out of these lemons...

SWEAR AND CUSS: I cut it REALLY close. Really, really, keep-saying-really-for-three-hours close. I honestly had a brief moment of despair that made me want to shoot myself where I was thinking that I might not EVER finish this...but I pulled through. Yay!

Aw....that's the end of my last assignment post for this blog....what am I to do?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Assignment #5 - Reshoot

My original shot. It's gross - gray, blurry, and kind of boring - lots of negative space. I even cut off the shadow. Whole lotta nothing.
My reshoot - untouched. Still a little gray, but I still like it SO much more than the original - the composition is about a million times better. I got in close, got all the shadow. Though slightly out of focus, still. It's not half bad.

My picture, retouched. It's so high key! Though hopefully highlights aren't too blown out. I like the detail in the cracks and that you can see all of the shadow. Much better than the original, isn't it?

WHAT I LEARNED: Reshooting is a very, very good idea. While it's nice to get it right the first time, I still think that you get better photograph in the end if you don't get it quite right the first time and then go back knowing what to do to fix it. I also learned about negative space, and my reshoot is a lot better because there's less negative space, but the negative space that is there isn't totally pointless - I got all of the shadow. Also: light it crucial. It can make or break your shot. And in the future, treat your initial shooting as if it was your reshoot.

WHAT I COULD LEARN BETTER: How to not procrastinate. I'm serious - I had this great opportunity to make an awesome photograph, and I kind of put it off a lot because this was an "easy" assignment - one week to make one print, and I already knew what I was going to shoot. I wish I had experimented more with lighting.

WHAT WORKED: The composition is infinitely better. The shadow is nice, I like the extra eggshells on top, and hos close I was.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: My camera's focus. Also, I'm wondering if this is a little bit boring, and if more cracks/detail in the eggshells would be a good idea. It's much better than the old one though, so I'm happy.

What made me....:

CRY: It.


LAUGH: The expression on my mother's face when I randomly walked by carrying a carton of eggs up the stairs.

SMILE: My composition was SO much better! It was amazing! I got in close, I paid attention to detail and negative space, and - voila! It's so much more interesting now.

SMIRK: Again, I'm not really a smirker...

BAWL: Again with the focus (or lack thereof). I was very disappointed to see that my camera wouldn't focus manually or automatically. What a sad, sad, day.

SWEAR AND CUSS: Why won't you focus, camera? I've treated you well. I keep you warm and dry. I even kept you in a nifty sock as a camera case. I cleaned you, I took good care of you. I paid the cable bill, brushed your teeth, found a nursing home for your grandmother and a great dogsitter for when you were away, So why won't you FOCUS? WHY? (Sorry to bring this up so much in my post...I really am an optimistic person! Usually. Right now I'm just kind of bitter.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I am very sad, because I am an OCD procrastinator - which means, of course, I have yet to bring in something to work on, and when I do have something I'll stress over it a ton because it has to be PERFECT or else the world will END.

Also, I've done an obscene amount of blogging lately, and it's not the moment.

Anyway, I was trying to figure out what my photographic comic strip ought to be about, and so I've been reading "very short stories" for ideas. Because I can't exactly tell an epic in five photographs (unless I wrote an epic, and then took pictures of what I wrote, but that would be unbelievably boring). Mostly I'm looking for inspiration, but at the same time, it might be kind of cool to shoot my project based off of one of the following really short stories ( I posted ones that I thought I might actually be able to do my project on):

"For sale: baby shoes. Never worn." - Hemingway (this is kind of sad, but it would certainly give me an interesting story to tell)

"Lost. Then found. Too bad." - Graeme Gibson (it begs the questions: what? when? why?)

"Nevertheless, he tried a third time." - James P. Blaylock (tried what?)

"Thought I was right. I wasn't." - Graeme Gibson (consequences?)

Okay, those are all a littl heavy...Slade suggests something like "how to clean a toilet" or "cleaning up dog poo" (he sounds like my brother). So I supposed I could also look for ispiration in jokes...(I should make a dumb blonde comic strip - though it might need to be in color to make sense).

So...funny. I can do funny. Funny...ugh, I don't know. I'm not a particularly funny person (unless, like one of maybe four people in the world, you understand about one hundred inside jokes of mine. Then I'm hilarious).

I suppose I could shoot people tripping, falling off of things, into holes, etc. - pretty much anything you could make a little flip book about.

Too bad I can't control the weather.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Photographic Comic Strips"

So I've decided for my final project I want to do a type of photographic comic strip (not quite sure what it'll be about, yet...) and I was looking online for some examples. Here are my favorite (you really should see them - they're pretty cool):

"Doll Story"
I love the costumes and expressions...maybe I'm just a little seduced by color... I wish I had a way to set up something like this, but I don't really, so I supposed I'll just have to improvise.

"Expresso Conquers Time"
It's true! I like this one - I know what it's like to be dead tired at three in the morning with an essay due the next day... I think it's a good idea to have a story that someone can easily relate too - something simple, like staying up late, instead of something big and dramatic like witnessing a murder.

"Escape to Freedom"
This one's funny, and apart from that I'm not quite sure why I like it so much...but hey, that seems like a pretty good reason.

I like the story that this tells. I like the man in the background of the fourth picture and I really like the lighting (but I don't think this would be nearly as good in black and white).

"Against All Odds"
I think this one is kind of funny, actually. And it certainly tells a very clear, easy to understand story.

"Danse Macabre"
I love how close up these are, and how much detail you can get out of something so small and ordinary as a spider.

I think these photographs have more of the same theme instead of being more of an actual comic strip, but I love them. I love how they each tell a story individually, but also kind of tell a story as a group.

I think I want to do something like the last one ("fixation") because I think people becoming infinately more interesting when they are interested in something (that's why I loved Mrs. Jennings so much! - because she was so excited about what she was teaching us). But I'm not really sure: suggestions welcome.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Final Project Ideas

To make a long story short: I need them.

So far, here are the ideas I've kind of a way...:

Movement - I like blur (unless it's not intended, because then it sucks). I think it would be way cool to go to the rec center and photgraph the swim and dive teams.

Poems - like Slade suggested at the beginning of the term. I think I could either pick poems I love and make a photograph to go with them, or take photographs and then write poems to go with them (obviously it would have to be better than this:

My project I'm trying to choose,
So I have the indecision blues,
I don't know what to pick
And it's making me sick
And as Zel would say, "you loose!")

Sequence - a series of photograph that together tell a story (kind of like a photographic comic strip).

Crestwood Park - there's a park down by my house that I absolutely love (it's the place Mr. Bromley took us to catch bugs, if anyone remembers that) and I think I would really enjoy shooting it and could get some pretty good shots.

Object's Point of View - this wasn't originally my idea, but I really like it. Some examples of this: a gift looking out of the box, a TV looking at someone watching it, a piano being played, a story being written. I think this could be really cool but it might also be kind of hard (and hopefully I wouldn't run out of ideas half way through).

My Neighbors - I have some cool ones. Lots of variety - young, old, ones I know well, ones who I've lived next to for six years but are still almost strangers, tall ones, short ones....lots of ones.

Dichotomy - again, I kind of stole this idea from Hannah, but I think it would be really cool and interesting to shoot and set up.

So yeah, if anyone has any suggestions about what I should choose, I'll take em.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

my sob story

Slade's not here today, and I'm bored, so I decided to do some major wallowing in self-pity.

I don't like our new assignment. It's not the kind of thing I'm good at. It's the kind of thing that makes me super stressed and causes me to chew my nails and pull my eyelashes out in my sleep. So, feeling very sorry for myself, I called my friend up, seeking sympathy. But instead of offering me any sympathy, compassion, empathy, understanding, or condolance she simply directed me to the following quote:

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write and was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

-Ann Lamott, Bird by Bird

So you can see my problem.

While this is a great quote, and I think she was trying to be profound and have one of thoes "teaching" moments that changes people's lives, all I could think was "I don't have very many birds. I only have one bird. And it's an ugly bird. And I have to shoot it several times. And then I can only print it three times, and come to think of it, is it even legal to shoot birds? Are there any birds that you can't shoot anywhere at anytime? Like flamingos - and if you do shoot a flamingo, can you eat it? If you eat enough flamingos, will you eventually turn pink?" And from there I'm sure you don't care where my train of thought went.

So does anyone have another profound quote to offer me?

Oh, and another really quick sob story - this morning my alarm went off fifteen minutes early and I tried to get out of bed to turn it off, but couldn't because at some point in the night I had managed to climb into my comforter cover, and was all wrapped up in it and ended up rolling off of the bed and lying on the floor while "SOS" by the Police blared over the radiot. And I just kind of stayed there for a moment, on the floor, in the dark, all alone, wrapped up like a mummy in a pink comforter cover, and no one came to rescue me.

Anyway, yeah. I'm still looking for someone to pity me.

And Hannah wants a platypus.


Here all are of my "ish" pictures for our portraits assignment - the ones that almost worked, but...not...really...

I love this picture because I love candid portraits. I think that the photo is supposed to be about curtain kid (I can't really tell who it is...), and I wonder if blur person is kind of distracting. Hm....*muse muse muse*

Ha ha ha, my dad's such a nerd... Anyway, this picture would work MUCH better if: 1) it wasn't blurry, 2) I didn't cut off the very top of his hand, and 3) it was exposed...well, better.

I didn't get quite close enough on this picture, and so it's kind of pixel-y since I had to crop a lot. And it might be slightly blurred because my focus might be off (my camera suffered a mishap). I really love this picture, though - I like the pose and the expression on her face She's so...concentrated, but not in the way juice is. Oh! I mean focused. There's the word. I love the contrast, and the kind of black-white-black pattern of the background, her skin, and then the shadow on her eye.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Assignment #4 - Portraits

WHAT I LEARNED: Pay attention to background (subject/ground relationship) - your background shouldn't detract from your main subject. While that seems kind of simple, once I stared paying more attention to it, I noticed that it really makes a big difference. Hm. Imagine that.

WHAT I COULD LEARN BETTER: Once again, I wish that I had shot earlier, and shot more. A lot of pictures were of the same person (Katina - that creepy looking girl) and I wish I had more variety.

WHAT WORKED: I really like that freaky eye picture (even though it was a little blurry - not my fault!). Why? It's memorable! Honestly, now that you've seen it, is it something you're likely to forget?

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: I'm not crazy about the sillhouette one. Honestly, I think it's a little...boring. The outline isn't defined particularly well, and the most interesting thing about it is the background.

And what made me:

CRY: My camera lens was covered in shcmuck and so a LOT of my pictures came out blurry. I'm talking huge amounts of photos, all ruined, ruined, RUINED! Sigh. It was very disappointing. My dad's entire AC/DC photoshoop turned out fuzzy.

LAUGH: Okay, see that creepy little girl? Well, it was hard to take these freaky pictures of her with the two of us keeping a straight face, because in reality she is the sweetest little thing in the world. Honestly, she's adorable. Also, the aforementioned AC/DC photoshoot I did with my dad was hilarious (I turned on AC/DC music and had him dance to it while I shot him). Ah, good times, good times...

SMILE: You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you take a picture that you really like, and everything comes together nicely, and all your hard work has paid off and you have this great photograph you absolutely love? Yeah. That traintracks picture gave me that feeling. I just really like it. Maybe you hate it and think it's ugly and want a copy just so that you can burn it, but there's something about it that I still like.

SMIRK: I'm not really much of a smirker when it comes to photo... Talk to me in History if you want to hear all my smirking stories.

BAWL: :( It's a long story... Alright, not really. In fact, I can summarize it in seven words: Camera. Focus. Math. Throw. Stare. Crash. Carly.

SWEAR AND CUSS: I had one REALLY crappy day of shooting that just...ugh! It was one of the few days that I had when I could shoot before the sun set, and I just didn't get around to it until about seven, which seems like a reasonable time to have at least a little light but obviously isn't if you live in this artic tundra we call Utah where it gets dark at about noon. So it's dark, and my tripod keeps slipping because I can't get one of the legs to buckle in, and I'm trying to shoot Katina before she has to leave, and I'm also trying to light up my stupid dark house, and I broke not one lamp, not two, but THREE. Three lamps. Who breaks three lamps? And then my pictures came out foggy. Great. Joy. Ugh. Photo...

And now, my ingenious stroke of inspiration:

While it is just as I feared,
And some of my photos looked smeared,
I still liked shooting
And Slade I'm saluting
And Katina's eye is sure weird.

Some of my photos are blurry,
Making my subjects look furry,
But I still like the pics
I've learned photoshop tricks
So I'm not going to worry