Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

On Photography

February 25, 2008

If you were, say, an evil mastermind, and wanted to develop a course of study to cause people to become bitter, shriveled husks of their former selves, you very well may develop photography. Let me explain why.

First, you spend hours of almost every day in a nearly pitch black (for developing paper) or absolutely pitch black (for developing film) room. Take away the photo work and close the door, and you’ve created a pretty nasty solitary confinement cell. Some scientists think it is bad for people not to get a certain amount of sun, so what a dark room’s safe lights do to you is beyond me.

Add to this the way the system causes you to wish your life away in 2, 3, 5, 8 minutes increments (because, truly, not even the Buddha himself could find peace or fulfillment in agitating a tray of developing solution for 2 minutes) and you’ve found a way to teach your students how not to appreciate the moment.

Finally, for good measure, throw in a little anti-Pavlovian torture to make it really stick. Pavlov, as you may already know, trained dogs to associate an external stimulus (a bell) with food, to the point that ringing the bell would cause them to drool. However, the opposite can be done; randomly administer shocks to an animal, and they will, in their confusion, sink into a deep depression. Photo is similar; each teacher has a long list of very specific procedures, which would be ok, except that every teacher’s list is different, and many are contradictory.

Ironically, though, I’m not writing this because I am frustrated with photography. Actually, I’m really excited about the next project, and I still get a lot of joy out of it. I was just wondering lately why it is that all the senior photo majors seem to be bitter, withered husks of their former selves. So I guess now I know. Oh well.


More About That Art Project

October 1, 2007

I’m glad that the fortune cookie told me to hold off and wait for some help from friends on that art project, because I sure could use it. I realized that there are probably a lot of details I ought to sort out before I go to my prospective models.

What sort of background should I use? Or should I use a background at all? How formal should the portraits be? A part of me had originally intended to model it off a project I saw that was made up of formal portraits of fencers in their gear. Another part of me, though, feels like the project would benefit from a slightly candid element.

I suppose my best bet is just to go in with full disclosure that I only halfway know what I am doing. Ha ha. I’ve only ever used Moi as a formal model, and we had such a well established relationship that it was never that difficult. She was very tolerant of my lack of experience.

I think I’ll go ahead and put up the request for volunteers late today. What’s the worst that could happen?

An Idea For An Art Project

September 30, 2007

Last year, my roommate was reading through a web comic called Drowtales, which focuses, not surprisingly, on Drow (better known to most non-Dungeons & Dragons players as dark elves). At one point, we started wondering how the distinctive look of a Drow – dark, slate black skin, pure white hair, and generally purple to red eyes – would translate into real life. In the comic, it was interesting, sometimes almost attractive. We suspected, however, that in real life the effect would be disturbing. After all, black (as in slate, or grey, not dark brown, like the people) skin is generally a sign of really bad disease, or, well, death. But we weren’t sure.

So I decided to find out.

I used a picture of my most willing (read: unable to object) model, my then girlfriend Moi, and went to work in Photoshop. The process was a lot of fun and the result was impressive. Turns out, she could pull it off pretty well, at least, to my roommate and I’s taste. Maybe were just weird.

Anyway, I’ve told you all of this because it inspired my newest idea for an art project. Between the two of us, we know lots of people who have played D&D. I was thinking, what would it be like to turn them into their characters. What might it tell us about them?

It would be quite a bit of work, no doubt, least of all being the actual portraits. But I think the results could be impressive. Also, the idea of D&D characters hanging in a gallery tickles me.

I’d love people’s thoughts. Thanks!

[P.S. – I wrote this up last night, and today I grabbed the campus newspaper and checked my horoscope: “You’ve put together enough of the pieces to visualize the whole picture. Don’t take action yet; you’ll have more support from friends if you wait.”  I’m not one to believe in horoscopes, but I thought the coincidence was funny. Especially since the paper is still the one from Friday, which I haven’t read till now.]

My Photography

July 31, 2007

Tonight, I submitted a photo to JPG Magazine. I don’t have a lot of hope that it will win, but it is a step in the right direction.

That said, read below! I wrote something a bit more complete.

Shot in the Dark… Hit?

May 6, 2007

A while ago, out of a mixture of not wanting the standard soul-crushing summer job experience, I posted an ad on craiglist offering my services as a darkroom assistant in exchange for cash or darkroom access. (That last part might bite me in the butt… I’m so burnt out on the darkroom right now, although even experience (as a virtually unpaid intern) would be a great opportunity.

Well, that was a solid month ago, so I figured my shot in the dark (and honest description of my abilities) had thoroughly missed.

And then tonight, I come back from seeing a movie with my dad and there is a message sitting in my inbox.

Hi. Have you had any classes on lighting and sets yet? Can you tell me what you’ve already learned in your classes?

Thank you,


I am not crazy, I am not at all sure that I will be what she is looking for. I am still trying to compose a fair and honest response. But hell, I’m just impressed I got an answer.


My Day

April 27, 2007

Well, the day went pretty well. Photography we had our final work in progress critique. Went well. Lots of people seemed to like my photos, but this time we have to actually tie them together in a theme, so only about four of the eight will really work for the final. But i have next week for that!

As for the portfolio review that will determine if I get into the school of fine arts next year, I don’t think I could have realistically expected better. My reviewer seemed impressed by a few of my photos and some of the other medium work I submitted. Working for Rhodes Group has to look good, right?

Anyway, I’ll learn my fate in the next few weeks. Columbia and School of Fine Arts info coming in. Wish me luck!

A little update

April 4, 2007

Well, I realized it’s been a while since I posted anything, and I have a free moment, so heres a little news. I got my resume just about set. A few things left to do and I am a little disappointed in my experience (uhg) but otherwise it looks good. It’s exciting too to think about being able to mark something off my list, even if it’s something that requires constant maintenance.

Otherwise, this week has just been busy, but pretty good. I have all my film developed for my current photography project (due tomorrow) and have been printing like crazy. I am so happy with these pictures. And on a related note, thanks to some very kind words and a little sagely advice, I think I am going to go for transfer to the school of fine arts this semester. That means my portfolio will have to be done by the middle of this month. So, a little freaked out, but it might just work. That said, still LOTS of red tape stuff to deal with before the end of the semester.

Also, I saw a pretty cool musical this weekend with Hun and Kathryn called Spring Awakening. I’d recomend it. I’ll try to write more about it soon.

Time for class!

Back on track for resolutions

March 31, 2007

Well, as promised, a little about my shitty week. Not much too it really, just a lot of work and not much time to do it. Photography project, two papers, extra reading, plus I was informed a day ahead of time of my course registration appointment, so I had to cram five hours of research into one day. But now my course are signed up for (mostly), my classes are set for the week, and I am off to New York to take a ton of pictures.

I am so excited about this weekend! My current project is called “Fabricated”, and we have to create images that are obviously staged. After a while spent worrying over it, I settled on going for an artsy, fashion style look, and so far I am very happy with the results. Probably shoot three or four rolls this weekend and hopefully get something good. ^^ Thank you Hun for posing! You too, Doug (my father).

In other news, I realized lately that I have been slacking on my new year’s resolutions. The worst is, naturally, the salad problem… I’m a good four weeks behind I think. But I can live with that.

As for the others, I am getting down to business again this weekend, starting with that resume. It should be pretty quick and it might be handy for my search for summer employment. Also getting worked on soon is my portfolio, which I am (for lack of an immediate better idea) shaping after the portfolio requirements for application to the School of Fine Arts at my university. I am considering applying next semester, but we will see. They are not making it easy on me. However, they do have a darkroom. Hmm.

Besides that, not much to say. I am writing from the Metro-North train into New York, so I will have to bite and claw my blog program into formatting this right. It reallllllly likes it if I write posts in the browser itself. Oh well.

Don’t forget to leave me a note if you come by!

Till later.