How Many Will There Be?

So, I did a fun little project in class that I thought I would share with you guys ūüôā

I’m taking this class called “Contemporary Directions in Photography”, which sounds interesting, but to be honest, has not been the greatest thrill of a class. ¬†We’ve been talking about a bunch of photographers who deal primarily with appropriation, particularly things like Google Street View, and things like that. ¬†I know we’ve talked about other things, but it just keeps going back to something like that, so it’s all I can think of. ¬†Our first project was to make something in response to “screen culture”, meaning, the culture in which we now live where nearly everything is presented to us via a screen, consuming out lives. ¬†I mean, think about it… I’m sitting here typing this to you on a computer, with my phone on the desk. ¬†You’ll see this on either one of those two things, or a tablet, or something else. ¬†We watch TV, have GPS, are constantly monitored by security cameras, traffic cameras, you name it. ¬†The list literally goes on an on.

I don’t really like that. ¬†I know, it’s nice, and convenient, and we’ve all gotten to the point where we think, “How can I live without my (enter technology here)!?!?!”. ¬†The truth is, it’s too much, though that probably won’t change any of my current habits.

What that did get me thinking about was how things have changed so drastically just over my lifetime. ¬†When I was little, we had one TV in the house, and that was it. ¬†We didn’t even have a wireless phone. ¬†We didn’t get our first computer until I was in 7th grade, and I didn’t get my first cell phone until I could pay for it at 18, and it wasn’t “smart” at all.

Then I started thinking about photography. ¬†To this day, my mother likes to take pictures of everything that happens to us which she is present for; the camera is out on birthdays, Christmas, parties, vacation, you name it, she’s snapping away. ¬†The only difference is that now, everything is digital. ¬†All of the pictures that she’s taken over the last 15 years or so, that’ I’ve been there for, and have most likely been in, I’ve never seen. ¬†Growing up, everything was on film for us, so we could just flip through the photo albums, or anxiously await for a roll of film to get developed to see whatever it is we took photos of a couple weeks ago. ¬†Regardless of the why, the what is that we actually had pictures to look at. ¬†Tangible, physical things, not just digital files to be tucked away and ignored.

I suppose what started this train of thought was something(s) I read over the last few years. ¬†This current generation will be the most photographed generation in the history of photography. ¬†Wrap your head around that. ¬†They will also be the generation with the least amount of photographs. ¬†Double wrap your head around that. ¬†Isn’t that crazy? ¬†People are obsessed in taking pictures for Instagram and Snapchat, posting things to Facebook and Tumbler, and Twitter, and you name it. ¬†In a blink of an eye, however, an update of technology, a glitch in the system, it could all be lost forever. ¬†You can argue that the same could be said for film photos, since you know, disasters happen, but I don’t think the majority of people taking all these pictures realize just how fragile they are.

So I began thinking about all the photos that I had that existed in only a digital state. ¬†When I went through my photo back up, it appears that my digital era started circa 2003, so that’s a good 12-13 years of photos that I’ve never printed. ¬†I decided to start printing every photo that I’ve ever taken, so that when everything goes south with how I have these stored (since some of them are originally stored on CDs…yikes), I will at least have a physical copy of the image, and of the memory.

Now, I didn’t realize how much of an undertaking this would be. ¬†I started with 2003….ok, not much there…then 2004…same….2005, 2006, eh….then 2007…over 1000 pictures. ¬†I think that was the year I bought myself my “first real camera”, my little Cannon Powershot (loved that thing). ¬†After that, it’s essentially all down hill. ¬†Looking through my Lightroom catalog that I started in September of last year, I already have over 5000 photos that I’ve taken. ¬†That’s a lot for essentially only six month’s worth of work! ¬†So since this project only had to be a “proof of concept” I decided to stop there for the moment. ¬†That, and I had to replace the ink in my printer…again…so I was annoyed at how quick that went by, and how expensive ink is. ¬†But look…!

That’s pretty cool, right? ¬†The first five years of my photo taking history, over 1500 photos, all printed and wrapped up in a nice little bowl. ¬†Well, not wrapped, but you know what I mean, it’s a cute little presentation. ¬†I wanted to have it in a vessel which would allow people to interact with it, swirl their hands around, grab chunks of photos, and just check out what was going on in there. ¬†I also started writing on the back of them, which is something I think I want to revisit should I ever complete this project. ¬†I might just start over, because the printing size in inconsistent (I was a little indecisive when completing this project), so that will give me a chance to write on everything. ¬†I did the writing prior to cutting the strips of photos, once I started writing, which gave another interesting element to the project, since now there are also little puzzles hidden in there.

I have to say, I’m rather fond of it, and I’m glad that this project seemed to be well received. ¬†I’m sure I’ll finish it up one day, but the longer I wait, the more I’ll be printing. ¬†Oh well, it’s not like I’m busy or anything, right? ¬†The question I keep getting is, “well how many photos do you have all together?” ¬†I have no clue. ¬†Too many to count, I would say, but I guess I’ll be finding out soon!

Oh, and incase you’re wondering if there’s really that many photos in there, there are. ¬†Here’s what they look like all together, because you know, I needed just one more thing to do on my list, so I collaged 1500 pictures ūüôā

collage.jpg

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Week 5: Black and White Landscape

So that’s a pretty specific topic, don’t you think? ¬†I don’t mind it, though. ¬†At this point, I’m ready for some pretty straight forward assignments. ¬†I’m sitting here at school, in between classes, after having worked on scholarship applications and brainstorming on how in the world I’m going to redo my first assignment for my photography class. ¬†Don’t you just hate it when your original idea flops? ¬†I know I do. ¬†Anyways….

Landscapes! ¬†Black and White! ¬†Two things I’m very fond of! ¬†As a matter of fact, I’m working on another project for my Alternative Processes class (side note: ¬†I’m super excited to be taking this class!). ¬†So, while out shooting for that class, I decided to visit my favorite tree….yes, I said favorite tree, I know it sounds a little weird. ¬†Once I saw him, I decided to do a whole series of trees; closeups, abstractions, and landscapes — the whole gamut of tree shots. ¬†Since this assignment is an introduction to cyanotype, we had to create negatives to use for the contact printing process, and therefore, I had to change my images to back and white. ¬†Perfect for this!

I have to say, even though I’ve worked with essentially the same image of this tree over a multitude of mediums and projects, I never get tired of looking at it. ¬†I think it’s interesting, too, that the original “favorite tree” picture was taken with my film camera, making a black and white image, yet this¬†digital version has a personality all it’s own. ¬†I think no matter what I use, I’ll always love it. ¬†It’s a little creepy, the branches twisting and contorting in ways which I haven’t noticed often elsewhere. ¬†It looks dead nearly all year, but then flourishes in the spring with it’s bright green leaf-filled branches. ¬†Honestly, the spring version of my favorite tree is a little weird; you can still see it’s gnarly branches poking out between the¬†lush leaves. ¬†Maybe I’m bias because I admire the winter version all the time, but I think the bald look fits this tree better.

So as a fun little thing, here’s a comparison of the original, and my new image ūüôā

A little bit different, compositionally speaking, but you can certainly tell it’s the same tree. ¬†If you can’t tell by looking at these, however, the original is on the left (a scan of the black and white film), and the new one is on the right. ¬†I’m sure you’ve all seen this tree before — it’s not the first time he’s been on here for different things ūüôā

But aside from admiring my favorite little tree, I did take more pictures, so it’s not just an obsession about him (though, now that I think of it…). ¬†Here are a couple of the more broad shots from the project, in their black and white, pre inverted negative, versions. ¬†I’ll save some of the detail shots for later. ¬†I was going to say I think they’ll be more interesting as cyanotypes, but you’ll just have to wait and see. ¬†Maybe I’ll post both versions and you can decide :). ¬†Enjoy!

Week 4: Headshot (kind of)

So I decided to go in a little bit of a different direction for this week’s theme. ¬†Never mind that I’m a little late — I’m working on that. ¬†I think I’m going to be perpetually busy for the next few months, but I digress. ¬†While thinking about what to do, I started Googling “headshots” for inspiration. ¬†Low and behold! ¬†Did you know that people aren’t the only subjects of heatshot photos? ¬†I’ve stumbled across a whole section of animal headshot, and decided that’s just what I’ll do, especially since I had a ton of photos from Florida of animals (well, birds mostly) that I haven’t had a chance to work on.

In going to the usual places, there were the usual subjects; ducks (baby ducks! ¬†So cute!), seagulls, squirrels and so on. ¬†But during this visit, I was out and about with the mentality of “photographer” in mind! ¬†So as I was walking around throughout my trip, I was lucky to snap a couple good shots of those usual suspects, and pretty close up as well.

There were a few odd balls in the bunch, however, as well as a crazy feeding frenzy that I found myself in the middle of! ¬†As for the odd balls, the birds much have been hungry, because I’ve never seen so many fishing birds over such a short amount of time. ¬†Maybe that’s because I’m never looking as frequently as I was during the trip, but I’m sticking with them being hungry this time. ¬†I saw this awesome little Snowy Egret who was fishing like a pro – fish after tiny fish — he was having a feast! ¬†While at the beach that day, I also saw one of my little favorites, a Least Sandpiper, and something I always like to find, a crab! ¬†He was a spider crab, which is different than what I usually see in Ocean City, so it was neat to find something new.

We also made a stop by the aquarium, which is place where I’ve never taken photos before. ¬†I’ve always had reservations about photographing animals in contained habitats. ¬†It just seems too easy, you know? ¬†There’s no excitement in catching them out in the wild, and hoping to get the perfect shot. ¬†However, a girl in one of my classes last semester when to the aquarium to get photos of jelly fish, and I have to admit, I was jealous. So, off we went, and along with the jelly fish photos, I snapped a couple shark photos as well, because let’s be real, I’ll probably never swim with them in the wild. ¬†Well, never say never I suppose. ¬†It may be crazy, but it’s definitely on my¬†bucket list.

As for the feeding frenzy, we went to the beach on my last day there, and my friend was wise enough (and sneaky, because I had no idea) to bring some bread to feed the seagulls. I know, I know, you’re never supposed to feed them, because they go crazy, but in this case, it was pretty amazing. ¬†They started off pretty cautious, not getting to close to us as she threw bread in their directions. ¬†It was only a few minutes, if even that long, before they were swarming around us, and even taking bread directly out of my friend’s hand. ¬†So, half scared that I was going to get pooped on (because if you didn’t know, they’re notorious for that), and have really amazed at how crazy they were acting, I started snapping away. ¬†I have to say, out of all the unusual birds that I saw, these seagulls were my favorite. ¬†What are normally nuisances¬†around the beach turned out to be some pretty majestic models, if you ask me!

Hopefully this counts, but either way, the point is I worked on some photos for this week. I mean, technically, there are faces, just not human faces? ¬†So, animal headshots it is…..even though that sounds weird, like hunting weird. ¬†Ok, so we’ll just say animal close ups, with a focus on their face? ¬†Enjoy!