Week 9: Shadows

I’ve been racking my brain on what to do for this week’s theme, when I realized, I already have something which I just recently completed.

When thinking of shadows, one most likely thinks of the shadow that something casts.  You’re able to see interesting distortions to the original form, and the ground or object that the shadow is cast on can also create some interesting visual details.  One of my favorite things to do, however, has to do with the blockage of light, and the “shadow” which is cast from that.

When making cyanotypes, I’m always working with what shadow an object or negative will cast to leave some interesting mark on my paper.  It’s not a shadow in the sense of Peter Pan, or sitting under a shady tree, but the image which results is due to the shadow which is cast.  So when my “Alternative Processes” professor said that we needed to create negatives for out first project, I approached it in a similar way.  He told us to make “paper negatives”, where we layered different objects (like paper or tape) to make different densities and values once we develop our prints.  Hmmm…no thanks.  I’m not a fan of what kind of geometric and abstract forms that will create.  So I decided to find some objects, which ended up being feathers and plants from around the house, and and a few doodles.

I’ve never worked with feathers before, so I was hopeful to achieve some interesting and intricate details from those.  I’ve also never drawn on any of my negatives, but, since along with the paper and tape, he mentioned drawing on our negatives with different tools, I thought I would humor the idea and give it a try.

So there they are!  I love how they turned out, and I’m glad I decided to scan them, because the colors and contrast are great.  I have to say, this is nearing two months old, and I’m shocked to see how much color is left in these leaves.  Anyways, I started pretty much in this order.  I thought, “well, I’ll just do what I’ve always done.  I like that!”.  Since I’ve worked with photograms in the past, and have been wanting to get back in the darkroom to do more, I wanted to get back to the arrangements which I really liked; simple objects and compositions which let the light start to show through, creating interesting shadows and values.  Then I thought I would do a little drawing, to make sure I stayed in line with the assignment.  I didn’t know what to do, so I took my transparency sheet with the fern on it, and just began doodling.  I’m never confident in my drawing capabilities, but the more I did, the more I liked it.

With the easy ones done, and one complicated doodle, I had to think of some other ideas.  I did, after all, need a total of six negatives for the assignment, and I was only half way done.  There were a couple rejects, which I took to class and never ended up developing.  The winner, however, was the single feather.  I loved the shape of it, and knew all the little details would show through, but I didn’t want to have a whole bunch of really simple, single, objects.  So against my normal practice, I tried to draw a realistic yet simplified representation of the feather in a mirrored drawing.  I’m so glad I did, because that one (and its counterpart) ended up being my favorite.  With that, I had to organize my thoughts for the final critique, and decided to work in three sets of diptychs.  I did another mirrored object/drawing combination, and another complicated doodle.  I even messed with my simple objects, and ended up with the three sets you see above.

Off to the dark room I went, and I couldn’t have been happier.  MICA has a great darkroom, yet I hadn’t had the chance to get in there, or the introduction of how their set up works.  It felt great getting back in there and working with all the chemicals and enlargers again.  I love the smell.  I know, a little weird maybe, but I love it.

After a few practice exposures, everything was going well, and I’m really happy with the results I got.  I knew how the objects would react from previous projects, but wasn’t sure how the drawings would turn out.  I was just using a fine point sharpie on a transparency sheet, but it worked really well!  I thought for sure the light would shine through pretty easily, but the sharpie made a surprisingly strong barrier.  So with the darkroom bug biting me again, here are my “shadow” images.  Can’t wait to work with this some more, and I’m happy to say this class has had me in the darkroom for some other projects already.  Enjoy!

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Week 30: Self Portrait

Wow.  It seems pretty crazy to be typing “week 30” already.  This year seems to have gone by too fast and not fast enough at the same time.  Just today I was thinking about how much of summer is already gone.  Have to make the most out of the warm weather before it’s gone!

Anyways, back to the topic at hand….unfortunately.

Self Portraits.  That’s what I am tasked with, and I’m not trilled about it.  To say that the self portrait is the least favorite subject I could depict, weather it be photography, painting, drawing, or any other medium, would be an understatement.  I cringed when we were instructed that self portraits would be our first project in my digital photo class.  We all grumbled as we repeatedly worked on self portraits in preparation for our final in my drawing class.  I about hit my head on the desk when we were instructed to completed yet another self portrait project in design.  I truly despise them.  Yet, as ironically as it may seem, I feel like you all have been privy to quite a few of them.  Though some images may be abstract, you’ve seen version of my self portraits in week 24, week 6, week 19, and even in week 18.  I suppose when necessary I will utilize the self portrait to convey my message.  Something about that makes it much more enticing than being instructed to complete a picture of myself for a project.

So I haven’t at all decided what I’m planning for this week.  Part of me wants to simply complete the project as many would interpret it and take some pictures of myself.  I never do, and this would be a good way to break that barrier.  The other part of me wants to keep with the theme of just portions of myself; hands, eyes, feet, profiles, etc.  Yet another part wants to take this in a completely new or abstracted way, photographing myself in a way I never have before, or simply photographing items which would capture the essence of me.  I suppose you’ll see when I figure things out.

In the meanwhile, I’ll leave you with one of the afore-mentioned school projects.  In the design class I took, all of our projects, with the exception of the final, were completed in black and white.  While the majority of our work was done with paint, pen, and pencil, we were lucky enough to have the option of any medium while completing the self portrait project.  Since my teacher was already aware that I was a photographer, we both knew that was going to be my go-to.  The objective was to use different values of light and dark to show two different sides of yourself, or two different personality traits.  In the end, this turned out to be one of my more favorite projects.  Once the images I selected were reworked into black and white, I loved the final result, and how the light worked in both images.  Perhaps I’ll have to keep these positive results in mind while working on this weeks project.  Enjoy.

Night and Day

I don’t know what I did to get all turned around, but it looks like I’ve fallen behind by a couple of weeks for this challenge.  No worries, I have been busy taking photographs, so I have plenty of stuff to show you!

Have I mentioned how crazy things have been lately?  Yes, I know I have.  I’ve moved, and am currently living out of boxes for the most part.  I’m reluctant to unpack, so I’m going to do my best to maintain this box lifestyle while searching for yet another place to move to.  With all the drama that is included in moving, I’m happy to have been able to escape to my happy place this past weekend, the beach!

It was just a mini vacation with some family, but it was a much welcomed get away.  I couldn’t imagine a better time to zone out on the beach than this past weekend.  Not did I get all the fun of hanging out with family and being able to see all of the 4th of July festivities, but I got a much needed mental check out.

While there, I definitely had my photo assignments in mind, and remembered to take some shots for last week’s “diptych/triptych” theme.  Since I’m always looking for things to take pictures of on the water, I used this weekend to my advantage and have completed a beach themed diptych.

It’s a relatively simple concept of day and night, but I think it’s a good representation of where I am right now.  A lot of the time I’m stuck in this perpetual darkness, not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to say.  Yet, each day is a new beginning, and I’ve been trying to treat it as such, and make some positive moves.  This weekend was a definite help — I mean, how could you see this and not be happy?  Beautiful.  At the same time, I look at these pictures and think of how drastically different the same exact place can look at a different point in time (I also look at these and think of how drastic the quality is….forgot my tripod for the night shots — sorry!).  Often times when thinking about the things which have transpired in my personal, professional, and educational life over the last few years, I find I’m always looking back at how things used to be; how things have changed both for the good and the bad.  It’s amazing what time will do.  I wouldn’t say that I have any regrets about how things have happened, but when in the darkness, you often look back and think of all the beautiful details of the past.  Likewise, when you’ve overcome a great difficulty, you can look back and see how you’ve escaped that darkness.  It’s so strange to be in a place where I feel like I’m doing both; looking back in victory and defeat.  So enjoy one of my favorite places with me, regardless of what time of day it is.

Week 25: Diptych/Triptych

I’ve been looking forward to this week!  Mostly because some of my favorite photographs have been parts of diptychs and triptychs.  That’s the theme for this week: diptych, a set of two images, or triptych, a set of three images.

It’s funny, when I started going back to school a couple of years ago (agh, that’s weird to think about!), we were constantly working in series of images.  When I would think about my photography at the time, I would say that I just had a bunch of random images, and never really thought to work in groupings.  Admittedly, I also didn’t really want to work in groups or themes, and just wanted to continue my randomness of getting various different successful shots.  Now, I can’t seem to get away from it.  I mean, come on, you’ve seen my blog (hopefully — if not, then explore!), it’s like a struggle for me to only post one image when working through these themes and topics.  It seems like everything I do is in a group, and I have to say I miss the random good image that can just stand alone.  But back to topic, I’m still happy that I get to work like this again.

Aside from working pretty much consistently with groups of images through school, there were a couple of projects where I worked with diptychs and triptychs.  I didn’t realize it when I did it the frist time, but my very first project which consisted of the photograms that I did, I also had a single rose which I used, and produced an image, as well as an inverted image.  I loved the simplicity, as well as the ying and yang qualities they had, so I always placed the two together.  Later on, I was actually assigned a project where the goal was to come up with a set of two images (diptych! — which I still didn’t realize it was call that then).  The images were supposed to be either opposites, or around a related theme, so clearly, I went with the opposite theme.  When you’re not getting a glimpse into my nature photography and I’m working on a personal project, I work a lot with conflict and emotions; inner turmoil, regrets, and memories.

The “opposite project”, as my professor and I named it, were my favorite images.  That is, until the next semester, when I audited the class and got to do a whole bunch of fun, experimental things, like my double exposures.  During my first semester final, this girl appeared on that last day of class, images on the wall ready for critique, and I had no idea who she was.  Turns out she was auditing the class at that time, and was working on a much more flexible schedule.  She had completed some pretty interesting images, one of which was a double exposure.  The only thing I’m sad I missed out on was having a nude model in-class; apparently that was discontinued during the semester prior to my arrival.  This girl was lucky enough to have one, and completed a double exposure of abstracted model photographs and flowers.  The images really stuck with me, and I couldn’t wait for a chance to do something like that…eventhough it was the end of the semester, and I was clearly going to have to wait a good amount of time.  So when I got through my first two classes and got my first assignment of “the concept” during the audited class, I used that to my advantage.  “Just come up with a concept, something conceptual” was along the lines of what I was told, so of course, you know I struggled for a while with that broadness.  Finally, I had an idea, and there was a chance to do my double exposures.  Working with old photographs that my mother took during my childhood which I either used the existing negatives or photographed to create a new negative, along with new images in the same location of the childhood images, I created my “now and never again” project.  One part memories, one part remorse for how much things have changed, and a pinch of sadness, you know, to stay inline with my usual process, I worked for weeks to combine the two images seamlessly, and show how the happy memories from childhood are gone, the places have changed, and many of them are in poor condition.  Even though I created a set of five images, I selected three to be presented as a triptych (also, not knowing that was a thing.  I need to stop living under this rock apparently…).

So, while I’m constantly looking for new things to do as I work through this 52 week challenge, I think I’m going to stick with some of the themes I love working with as I complete these images.  Opposites are such a great thing, and can show a variety of concepts, thoughts, and struggles.  So enjoy my previous works while I think of some new ideas (and sorry, not the best quality scans on some of these)!

Now and Never Again

Conflicted Life and Death