Monday, November 25, 2013

Reading 8: The Top 11 Things Photographers Wish They Learned In Photo School

      While reading this article about what photographers wish they had learned, I felt both a little relieved and a little scared. Some of the things mentioned made me feel better about myself as a photographer and reassured me that I have what it takes to make it in this competitive field. On the other hand, there's aspects of photography that I know I will need to better address later but really don't know much about. The paragraphs about where to find things to photograph and how it's about the photographer, not the equipment, made me feel some reassurance. The one part talked briefly about how one doesn't need to travel in order to make great photographs. Sometimes, I feel that I need to explore new areas in order to bring anything exciting to the table. However, I really don't need to travel. As long as I keep my mind fresh and open then I can make exciting images with what I already have around me. Along with that, I think sometimes I forget how I don't need the nicest equipment to do something great. With all the competition today, I tend to feel that I need the best lenses to be taken seriously. However, as a photographer I need to remind myself that I have the knowledge necessary to create interesting work.
      On the other hand, the parts of the article referring to photography in a business matter is what makes me nervous. I wish that school would cover these areas more because any freelance photographer needs some pricing and business knowledge. It also made me nervous where the article said starting out at low prices isn't exactly the right thing to do. As a new photographer, I don't want to put these high prices out there without the confidence of creating great images. However, I know my standards will need to be raised in order for me to get what I deserve. I just hope, as I just read, that it won't backfire on me later on.
      It was helpful to read what other photographers have to say now that they're older and deeper into their career. I feel that a lot of what I read consists of what I have already been thinking of. At least, this makes me feel that I'm not alone in my thoughts and there are others who I can relate to. I'm sure there will be even more subjects as I grow as an artist that I will be wishing that I knew earlier. However, it's all about the experience and I'm confident that I will end up where I need to be.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reading 7: Bending the Frame

            In the introduction to Bending the Frame there was questioning as to what photographers can do to bring more awareness to important issues. Though this may be an important subject to a certain audience, I felt that who I am as a photographer was being questioned. Every artist has their own motives and goals, and the introduction made me feel like what photographers do now isn’t enough. Photographers are artists, and therefore shouldn’t be pushed in a certain direction. If the goal of certain photographers is to find new ways to bring awareness to issues such as global warning then I say go for it. However, each photographer has unique ideas and therefore shouldn’t be pushed to make certain images if it’s not what they want.

After reading into the first chapter The Useful Photographer I started to feel better about the introduction. Rather than feeling criticized I felt more that photographers were getting recognition for the impact of their work. I suppose this is what the introduction was talking about, but the first chapter seemed more accepting and appreciative rather than critical. Reading farther into the writing I saw the criticism start to come back. I think the important thing to remember throughout this reading is that photography is an art. Though the reading may be referring more to photojournalism, I feel that photography needs to be regarded as more than "just pictures."

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reading 6: The Photographer's Eye

In reading The Photographer’s Eye, I felt that I was back at the beginning of my photography practice. It went over parts of photographing that are essential and therefore become the base of the process. Since I am already aware of these aspects, I didn’t feel that I was being told anything new. However, there was a quote that I felt was significant in relation to being a photographer. Ivan’s wrote, “At first the public had talked a great deal about what it called photographic distortion…[But] it was not long before men began to think photographically, and thus to see for themselves things that it had previously taken the photograph to reveal to their astonished and protesting eyes. Just as nature had once imitated art, so now it began to imitate the picture made by the camera.” This quote sums up some thoughts I’ve had on being an artist from the beginning. Though one can receive training for art, I believe there is a natural sense for image making inside of artists. It’s a natural skill to be able to look at the real world and imagine pictures and crop images in your head. What one person may see as a normal tree another person may see as a photograph manipulated to show a different side of this common object. Certainly, as a photographer you begin to see the world in new ways with help of your imagination.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reading 5: 3 artists

      For Reading number 5, I first reviewed the series Self-Portraits by the photographer Jen Davis. These images first caught my attention on account of the rich and natural colors. It appears that she utilized natural lighting mostly. However she accomplished these colors, they are very captivating. Not only are the colors mesmerizing, but they create an atmosphere to accompany certain images. Aside from the colors, there is great emotion shown in these photographs. I have no idea who this person is but I felt extreme sadness and loneliness looking at them. The woman isn't what would be considered beautiful these days, and she uses that to her advantage. Her photographs make you feel like you know her and that you are even feeling what she is. They bring out a strong emotional response as well as technically being strong images.

       Next, I looked at the series The Mark of Abel by Lydia Panas. I decided to look at this series because her style reminds me of Sally Mann or Nicholas Nixon. This automatically made me curious to see how a modern day photographer is approaching these kind of portraits. The series is definitely interesting to look at. All the images are of groups of people with a blank stare into the camera. It's especially interesting to compare older portraits with these on account of the diversity in people today. The blank stares don't tell the viewer much about what they could be feeling. Some seem to be more bored or sad, but I can't be too sure. They make me wonder who these people are and what is troubling them, if anything. Technically, I wasn't too impressed. Many of them are cropped at the top of the head or eyes. This works for some images, but for others just seem confusing and annoying. Basically, I'm not positive of the intent in any of these photographs. However, I still enjoy them as portraits of specific people.

       The third series I looked at was called The Devil's Promenade by Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley. This series caught my eye on account of the surrealism it involves. It is a mixture of landscape, nature, and people. The mostly all have an unnatural look to them made possible by color. I'm not too interested in most of the portraits, but the images of nature and houses are what make it most exciting. Most of the scenes seem like normal images of a place at dusk. However, there are odd colors thrown in there that give them a mystical and eerie feel. This atmosphere is what holds my attention rather than having me scroll past. They feel like something unusual is happening and that I'm becoming a part of it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Reading 4, John Berger: Ways of Seeing

      In the first video Berger mentioned something about photography that pointed its uniqueness as an art. He said that unlike a painting, a photograph can be any size and go anywhere. It is not confined to one wall and one size. This touches on the fact that you can do so much with photography. I see this as a positive quality and it made me proud to be a part of something so versatile. This was just a good opening to the series of videos for me. Something that he spoke about in the second video had me thinking. He talked about being nude and being naked. Portraying the nude in art is something that makes me think a lot about intent. I suppose it depends on the artist, but I just always wondered why it's done. I feel like some people just appreciate the figure, but other than I know there's deeper meaning. To add to my wonder of nude art, Berger mentioned that being nude makes you an object, while being naked is just for the clothed to see. I understand this as defining nude as an art form in itself, while the naked is just a person without clothes. I think this is something to thoroughly consider for artists making this kind of imagery. One of the aspects that I think about with these images is where is the line? What makes a nude art? I believe this is why I sometimes struggle with the subject and wonder if a piece of art is justified or not.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Reading 3: Critique Handbook

      In the third reading there was a section that talked about a big struggle artists deal with. This is making cliché work. The article brought up the contradiction that we are expected to do something original yet constantly told to refer back to other artists’ works. As students we have even been told to go ahead and copy famous artists because now is the time that we will get away with it. Maybe we are told this to give us a boost in thinking about our own work. However, if something is redone others may see it as boring or an easy way out instead of coming up with your own idea. The article also questioned whether it would be better for artists to isolate themselves from past work to avoid being unoriginal. I don’t think that would work at all. Whether or not you’re aware of the work, it’s likely that you’re being repetitive in some way. So many different kinds of work have been created and will be redone over time. I don’t think this is a problem as long as the artist and the audience is aware that there is still originality in each piece of work. Whether it’s the artist’s train of thought, technical skills, or layout of the end result there is sure to be at least somewhat of a different approach taken to what seems like a clichéd work.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Reading 2: Interpreting Photographs

    While the first reading was easier for me, this second reading is the one I find overwhelming. Being in art school we are constantly analyzing images. Normally, I get a natural reaction or intuition about a photograph. Then with that first reaction I look into the image more to interpret it. I never considered what kind of view I was having on a particular piece of work. I just always went with my feelings of it. Now, after looking at this reading, I'm aware that I actually can have categorized different views.
    What's overwhelming to me is that having a categorized interpretation of an image is a reflection of myself. When looking at art I am not looking at it from just a regular viewer's standpoint. I am in fact looking at it from a biased angle based on my own opinions and views. This is where the mention of significance and meaning come in. A piece of work most likely has some intention that the artist wants to relay to the viewers. This is what the artists means to show. However, each individual has a unique mind and different feelings about life in general. Therefore, each piece of work is significant to everybody potentially in a different way. I now am aware of the idea that an artist may never clearly depict a concept to their audience, solely because of unique interpretation standpoints.