Week 10: Environmental Portrait

I love it when I get a chance to do something a little different.  As you know, I’m always having problems finding models for my projects, so when I saw that this week’s theme was “environmental portrait”, i.e. taking a picture of someone in their environment, I was a little worried.  It took me a while to think of the idea, but I decided to go out and trying something today!

I usually have off on Mondays, so that’s my big “catch up” day for projects, school work, and whatever else I have going on.  Today, however, was a beautiful day, so the motivation to work on things in doors was just non-existence.  Instead, I went out and got breakfast, drove around a bit, got a coffee, took some photos outside for another week’s theme and just kinda hung out.  Then I thought, well geeze, I’m really putting off this portrait one, so I better get to it.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I play the guitar.  Not as much as I’d like to, but I still play it once in a while, and I will always love it.  Ever since I’ve started, I’ve gone to the same little shop for everything.  Atomic Music — they’re basically amazing.  So in my goofing off today, I wandered into the store and did something I never do: took pictures of people, with their permission!  Well…kind of….

I started talking to one of the guys who worked there, Mark, and he was super cool about the whole thing.  I told him that I was working on a project, and when you say that, people automatically assume it is for school.  He told me to take my time, and enjoy myself, which I did.  I wandered around the aisles browsing all the guitars and amps, and listening to people testing out things, which is always a fun part of going there.  After I was done checking out the “environment”, and one guy who wasn’t paying attention to my camera, I went back to Mark and we started chatting.  Come to find out, his wife is a 3rd generation gradate of MICA.  Yay!  We talked a bit about what she and her artistic family had done, things that were going on around Baltimore, and a festival happening this week that I didn’t even know about.  I asked if I could snap a pic of him, and he was happy to do so.  Double yay!  I’m always so nervous thinking about asking people for their portrait, and I have no idea why.  It’s not a big deal to me to be told “no”, but for some reason I’ve always been apprehensive about it.  So check it out, and enjoy my favorite music spot, and the portrait.

Week Two: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

Wrapping up week two, here are my “song interpretation” images.  The song I selected was “While My Guitar Gently Weeps“, written by George Harrison, and performed by The Beatles (go ahead, click on that link and give this song a listen while you read 🙂 ).  I’ve always loved this song, and I thought there couldn’t be a better way to fully integrate music and photography than to interpret a song about a musical instrument.  Though my images are a rather literal interpretation, I really enjoyed completing this project, and feel like this song really speaks to my relationship with my guitar, unfortunately.

A little history on the song…

It was actually almost never recorded!  How sad would that have been?  According to this Guitar World article, the other members of the Beatles didn’t particularly care for the song when George Harrison introduced it.  Along with tedious work and multiple recordings to complete the song, The Beatles added Eric Clapton to the mix for this song to play lead guitar.

Inspiration came to Harrison while reading “I Ching”, which as he explained, “the Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there’s no such thing as coincidence [a common Western belief] — every little item that’s going down has a purpose”.  He decided to write a song based on the first words of the text, and upon opening the book read the words “gently weeps”.  You can read more about that, and some of the omitted and changed verses, here.  One verse that I particularly love, and wish they would have incorporated in the song reads “I look at the trouble and see that it’s raging,While my guitar gently weeps.  As I’m sitting here, doing nothing but ageing,Still, my guitar gently weeps.”

The verses of this song really speak to me, and truthfully, have me feeling regret of the lack of motivation I’ve had in recent years to play and create music.  I’ve attempted to convey several emotions through my images.  The black and white, as well as the less saturated images, show the depression of missing something which I truly love.  Adding to the motivation issues, some pretty bad bouts of tendonitis make it nearly impossible for me to play some days, which is heart breaking.  On the other hand, as conveyed through the more saturated and vibrant images, I love my guitar, and I love music; this instrument has the capability to produce such a beautiful sound, I simply couldn’t dull all of the images and negate that.  Overall, I’ve personified the object which is my guitar, adding the tear drops, representing the regret that I have, as well as the neglect that I imagine my beloved instrument feeling.  Thankful for this week’s assignment; at least I picked up my guitar today and played a new song.

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping, while my guitar gently weeps…


Looking in to the objective for week 2, interpreting a song, I’m flooded with thoughts of all of my favorite songs and bands over the years.  My music taste is somewhat all over the place, and I’m jumping from classic rock to classical, to alternative, to newer songs, whatever genre you would call them, but I keep circling back to one song in particular.  I’m excited to complete this challenge, because it’s allowing me to combine both of my loves: art and music.

Speaking to the business side of this challenge, I haven’t forgotten about you!  Week one’s task was to start a project, to which I decided to start an ongoing project of locating and signing up for craft & art fairs to get out there a little more!  Week 2 has me getting out there yet again; I have to do a photographer outreach.  I think the business side of this is definitely the more difficult list of tasks, as I’m a pretty big introvert, and a lot of these tasks are causing me to get way out of my comfort zone.  Oh well, it will be good for me 🙂

Anyways, off to work on my photo assignment.  Here’s a “preview” of my idea, sort of.  A shot from an old film photography project that keeps coming to mind when thinking of my song interpretation photo.