Tuesday, February 1, 2011

say cheese

I spent the majority of the weekend and nearly six hours in the lab yesterday fretting over my photography project.  In my intro class last year, we usually had 2-3 images due for each project.  This year, I am taking a studio course and our first project required 7 images that fit the following guidelines: an image with minimal post-shooting work, an appropriated image, deconstruction, intense tonal and chromatic changes, a fixed perspective composite, a photomontage, and a structure of our own choosing.  And of course, my perfectionist tendencies forced to me follow these guidelines as strictly as possible even though many of my classmates seemed to barely take the guidelines into account.  I managed to finish composing, editing, and cutting the images by class time...it's funny how the images that I spent the least time planning turned out to be the ones with the greatest reaction from my peers.  

Needless to say, I was pretty nervous for my first critique of the semester because 
a)  I wasn't sure if the pictures worked well together as a set 
b)  I wasn't sure if I had understood the guidelines
c)  I almost ruined two of the prints because the first paper cutter I used was too blunt
d)  I had never presented so many pictures at one time
minimal post-shooting work
My professor really liked this image because he thought the Mac looked like the Death Star or something.  He also enjoyed how the image plays with real and virtual space.
appropriated image
A lot of people responded to the composition and angle of this picture of a Sanrio shopping bag because you would normally expect it to be two dimensional.  I think this photograph conveyed my message the clearest: society invests money and personality into aesthetically pleasing brands and anthropomorphic inanimate objects.  We are attracted to childlike designs because they appeal to nostalgia.  We are able to reconnect with our pasts through consumerism, yet there is tension between the youthful return to innocence and the mature afterthought of (monetary) responsibility.  Or something along the lines of that.
intense tonal and chromatic changes
The shallowness and inundation of materialism of this image was compared to Andreas Gursky's 99 Cent store photograph.  One person said that this photograph feels like it extends infinitely beyond the frames.
Not going to lie...originally I had a different vision, but I didn't have the time or patience to carry it out.  Instead, I sharply cropped and pasted images of stuffed animals' eyes to showcase the haunting yet compelling personality of inanimate objects.
fixed perspective composite
A lot of people responded to this photograph too.  They were intrigued by the "grown man's" hypnotic expression because it proved that stuffed animals have a timeless appeal.  They liked the perspective of being "inside" the claw machine.  I personally like the details in the reflections of the glass.
This photograph drew a lot of attention because of its playfulness and the contrasting spaces.  The three dimensional "secret garden" clashed wit the flat, two-dimensional Hello Kitty's.  Some said that it reminded them of a video game as if the Hello Kitty's were sprouting like mushrooms (goomba!).  I had intended the picture to be reminiscent of a sticker album which thankfully came across to the class.  My professor encouraged me to pursue more photographs like this that worked with imagination.
I wanted to create a narrative that could come to life without being animated with color.  People liked how goofy this picture is and how it isn't grounded in time or space.

After all was said and done, the critique wasn't so bad!  For the next project, I have to choose the most compelling image from this set and develop it more.  What are your opinions?

When I was preparing to print yesterday, I came across some of my previous work from my intro photography class last year.  Here I explored people sleeping in public spaces and the commentary this had on the fast pace of American society:
I felt like such a creeper!  So for my next project, I focused on defamiliarizing money and the implications of monetary policy:
And for my final (and favorite) project, I photographed my good friend Andi to convey the sublime: something simultaneously beautiful and repulsive.  Nothing was more appropriate than her fascinating hypermobility (a.k.a. double jointedness).

Phew!  That was a lot of images!


  1. I like the second one the best. And then the first one. I like the second one cuz at first, it's like, Oh, Sanrio bag! and then you see the money pattern, that's oh so subtle, but has that definite undertone. The first one I like, because it's like, Oh, cheetah background! and then you notice the little Hello Kitty figurine.

    Bahaha, you're such a creeper taking pictures of people sleeping. ;P

  2. Haha, I just noticed in the first one also, it's like Hello Kitty saying hello to the big kitty on the screen. Lol...


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