Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Assignment Probably #6

Fish Out of Water

And now, for a bit of reflection....

I can work really hard, and I can work really fast. Which is good.

The reason I can do this is because I'm perpetually late. Which is bad.

I liked what I shot once I got it shot. Which is good.

It took me forever to get shooting, because I'm crazy indecisive, crazy busy, crazy procrastinating, and crazy. Which is bad.

In the end, I was really pleased with this project. My dead fish image is interesting (and I love the focus). The one with the hose is grainy, but funny. The staircase, self portrait, and the lettuce I could give or take, but in comparison with, say, my eighth grade body of work, they're stellar. Yay improvement!

The biggest problem I had with this project was shooting. When pressed, I can print like nobody's business. But shooting...meh.

I don't know what to shoot. Then I know what to shoot, and I shoot it wrong. Then I know what I want to shoot, even though it's not what I need to shoot, and even though it's underwater in Fiji. Then I start shooting, and I want to rip my hair out, then I love my camera more than life, then I get kicked out of Whole Foods and my relationship with authority figures is turned on its head and I don't know what to shoot.

Rinse and repeat.

It just takes a lot for me to load the camera, walk around a bit, and shoot. I lack momentum. That's something I really ought to fix before AP next year. But it's more than that - it's that I just don't know what to shoot unless I have it planned out perfectly.

With this project, the way I FINALLY got around to shooting was to take the assignment literally. I shot dead fish and fish furniture - they weren't in water. After I walked around Market Street Grill for a bit, taking LITERAL pictures, I moved on to very controlled images - like the lettuce in the McDonald's bag. And finally, I managed to pull myself together a bit and shoot people. I don't like to shoot people. Portraits and I have a love/hate relationship. I do love to look at and shoot beautiful portraits that have something about them that goes deeper than a facebook pic level. But it's hard to get that. And people I can't control. I see the exact expression I want on their face in my head, but I can't describe it. Even if I could, I don't know if they could even do what I asked - "arch your eyebrows to a forty-three degree angle, soften your lower eyelid, and convey years of pent up emotion with your eyes" just won't work. I guess "people photos" are really just a series of compromises, and after a while you get something beautiful.

This journal makes me sound like a psychopath.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Assignment #4 and or #5

Contrast

If I'm serious about AP Photography next year, I probably ought to kick my eleventh hour work ethic. However, it was okay here. I had like a day of nothing but photo, and this assignment was done on time. I think I have learned a bit about efficiency (the goal I set for this term), but very little about procrastination. Working on that, I swear.

So, this assignment felt like a bit of a turning point for me. Not really because the assignment itself felt big and dramatic (I love contrast, but it feels...old. Like been there, done that, probably need to still work on it), but because I actually convinced my parents that photography matters to me. Usually they're just irritated when they see me carting around a shadeless lamp and taping bed sheets to my wall and setting up odd arrangements of eggs around the house. But they had a bit of a change of heart, and for some reason, watching my mom look at my blog made me feel more like a real photographer than anything else has. Like I'm not just a person who snaps pictures. I make a statement, or an image that hasn't ever existed before, and then I freeze it.

Now, for all that build up, the actual assignment might have been a bit anti-climactic. It felt done. I did like the photograph of the statue. I like the angles and the drama. But the hands feel like everything I've ever seen on TNT. And the black was just ugly. Upping the contrast helped, but really, it was a boring picture. It only barely won out over eighth grade bowl of potatoes. In all honesty, I just didn't have the assignment sheet with me and completely forgot to shoot flat images on purpose. But I probably wouldn't have shot them anyway. I hate flat pictures. They're gross.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

For how much I love darkroom, I do miss putting photos on my photo blog. Writing and research are great and all, but that's not really what this blog is about. That said, here are a few photos from last spring break to tide me over until I do digital again sometime next year. After break, my camera and I were BFF's. Usually. It does have a tendency to make everyone look super pale. 

I like the composition in this one. I like the repetition of the chairs and the bright colors. This is my favorite. 


Sweet air. 
Setting my camera to "manual" isn't just useful for formal assignments! It works in real life! It's not like math! I get to do things like slow my shutter speed just enough to make my brother blur. 

I shoot things directly looking at them or from below a lot...I'm going to experiment with this above angle more. I like it. It's not one 5'4'' me gets to see a lot. 

I don't like the man in the red shirt in the background, but I like the vibrant red in the foreground. It really pops, especially with the white/gray/blue of the scene behind him. 

This isn't a very good photograph. I just really liked the duck. 

Dumb picture, but standing in line at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (which should be called "Mr. Toad Goes to Hell") I had this little epiphany, where I was like, "Window light is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen EVER!" And that was nice. 

This makes me want to do a photo project on hypnosis. Wouldn't that be cool? Photographing illusions and hypnotists/the hypnotized. Volunteers? 

I love color. I love black and white too, but sometimes I just miss color. I write it long lamenting letters when I'm having filter troubles. 

Again, this above angle thing is working for me. I love the colors. This photo makes me feel like sunshine and chlorine. Good times. I like the weird pose. 

This is actually from February. It was an accident, but I sort of like the result. It makes me feel cold and haunted. I like some of the composition...those trees cut in half at both ends of the photograph are a bit obnoxious, but not terrible. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Assignment #3 Journal

Toning

I liked parts of this assignment, and disliked others. No really strong feelings about it, but it was interesting.

What I was happiest with was my image itself (the hand on the window). It had a kind of Alfred Hitchcock-y kind of vibe, and that fits with my discovery that I like photographs that don't show me anything - I like a little mystery. A little uncertainty is good for everyone.

As for the toning...it was so so. Although it smelled terrible, I thought it was really cool, and it did give me that "do-it-yourselfer" attitude I love feeling in the darkroom. I ended up really liking selinium toner. I like the subtlety. I do NOT like sepia toner. I think if I want that kind of warm, nostalgic feel then I'll print on warm tone paper. Sepia (and split toner) feel too...extreme for me, I guess. I just felt like I wasn't looking at my photograph anymore. My photo was black and white. My photo didn't feel like a sentimental Western. If I ever want it to be otherwise, then I will use sepia toner. But for now, I'm happy with the more enigmatic selinium.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Assignment #2 Journal

Paper/Developer Comparison

Epiphany!

Just because you focus on craft doesn't mean you can't also focus on "art", "personality", "voice", "creativity", etc.

For example, I was a bit skeptical about all this new paper/developer stuff. I'm not against change, but I am a fan of the whole "path of least resistence" idea, and I felt like if I was fine with printing on RC paper with LPD developer, there was really no point in trying anything else. Ha, WRONG. This assignment turned out to be a lot cooler than I thought it might be. While the contrasts between the different developers wasn't quite as dramatic as I expected, I genuinely liked seeing the differences in different paper. I like warm tone paper and how it makes me feel all nostalgic. I adore neutral tone fiber paper, and although I am terrified of the hot press and the noises it makes when it thinks no one is listening, the quality of fiber paper blows my mind. Fiber paper and RC feels to me almost like glass and plastic. They can look alike, but where one is durable (if a bit flimsy), the other is just so...nice. Neutral tone fiber is the classiest paper I know.

What's more, I liked realizing that I could use what I learned from this assignment could actually help me make more of a statement with my photography. If I want my audience to take me seriously, I'll probably use fiber over RC paper. If I want to make people feel all nostalgic, if I want them to remember things and talk about "the good ol' days", I'll use warm tone. If I'm printing photos for my friend who really liked the silly myspace picture I took of her, RC's the way to go.

Also, a bit of self evaluation: I'm pretty happy with my photos. While the one of my sister and the big hat may have slightly weird focus, and may also be a bit cliche, I still like it. There's an "air of mystery" I appreciate in a photograph. But I'm really happy with my other image. I love the focus - something I was freaking out about before, because micro-focus in digital all but ruined me. But this turned out nicely. I love the lighting. Again, I like that you can't really see her face. I like photographs that show me something by hiding something.