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!

Bubbles

So this week was fun, but a bit of a challenge.  “Mirrored images”, to be interpreted however I chose, so I went with reflections; a literal interpretation of a mirror type image.  I wanted to do something different — I had a lot of ideas, but it seemed to me that they were relatively frequently done.  First I thought of doing a reflection from the surface of this little lake outside of my house.  Then I thought of taking pictures of my own reflection in the mirror, but with my face doing something/looking in a different direction than the reflection.  Then I thought about all of this glass I had saved from a broken table for future photo projects, and I came up with this…

Not too bad, and I like the images themselves, but the glass didn’t have the reflective quality that I thought it would.  My table actually has the strongest reflection, though I do like the one piece of glass which is reflecting the stem of the rose.  After messing with that, and moving pieces of glass to a million different positions on my table, adding water, and not getting any results, I had to move on.  So I started thinking about pictures that I have done in the past.  there were two that I had taken fairly recently that kept coming to mind:

One was a picture from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, MD, and another was from J.D. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.  Both of them included water…just can’t seem to get away from that when thinking of reflections!  So I started thinking of water, different elements of it, and finally it came to me — bubbles!  So, even though the bubbles that I was going to make aren’t like anything that comes from water, like the foam of the ocean, that’s where my inspiration came from.

So off I went to seek the help of some more unwilling photo assistants (I’m always bugging someone for pictures 🙂 ).  Out in the back yard with my “assistants”, just around sun set, I had them alternating in blowing bubbles for me.  It was a lot of fun, but chasing bubbles around through my lens on a windy day was difficult to say the least!  I’m happy with the shots that I got, however, and I’m glad that we did it later in the day.  Some of the bubbles have that natural oily effect, but others reflect the evening light rather nicely, and the background has a natural dark, yet warm, effect.  Wish I could have gotten more shots with multiple bubbles to make things a little more interesting, but I guess that’s a project for another, less windy day.  Check it out!

Week 5: Mirrored Image

Well, this week has been off to a slow start.  I’ve officially started my last semester in school, which is bittersweet.  I’m so excited to be done, and even though I’ll only have an Associate degree, I’m happy with that.  I’m also really going to miss taking classes, since, let’s be real, someone without a job, and only working with crafty things and a slowly developing photography business (no pun intended….kinda) does not have the money for a 4-year university.  So my options are limited, but I’m still looking in to things, hopeful that I’ll be able to continue classes soon!

So I get to work on a mirrored image this week, and I want to do something a little out of the ordinary.  Not quite sure what that is yet, but I’m working on it.  I keep thinking of doing a reflection of a person, where one image has the opposite expression as the reflection, but I’m pretty sure that ideas like that have been well overdone.  Maybe I’ll do something along the lines of the image below, using water or drops in a way to play off of a reflection or catch a reflection.  I love how I caught this image; just as it was starting to rain and I was hanging out talking with a friend, I just stuck my hand out the window when I noticed the drops on the mirror, and there you have it.  It almost looks like the drops are falling into the palm of my hand — love the result!

Business wise, I have to organize my contacts, and still (sort of) play catch up from previous weeks.  Well, I suppose you could count this week’s task as done, since my list of contacts is non-existent, but perhaps I’ll be proactive in searching for vendors and contacts which I would like to use in the future.  And, as a progress report, I did reach out to a few vendors last week about showing my work in their shops, as well as for some juried art shows.  Wish me luck!  I’m hoping to hear something back soon!