Week 1: Self Portrait

Well what better way to start out the new year and the new challenge than by looking at myself. ¬†Oh, my favorite ūüėź ¬†Yes, I know you know, I kind of hate self portraits, but lucky for me I’m at the beach and with a good idea in hand! ¬†Well, I’m not at the beach, per se, but I am in Florida (woo hoo!), and went to the beach yesterday with the intentions of taking a “self portrait”.

So, like many of my other self portraits, this on is a little abstracted, if you will, and doesn’t show my face. ¬†When my friend was watching me shoot these, she was completely confused on how this constituted as a self portrait, but no where does it say that I have to take a picture of my face, does it? ¬†I suppose that’s what people typically think of, but when consulting my good ole friend, dictionary.com, it states that a portrait depicts “a likeness of a person, especially of the face, as a painting, drawing, or¬†photograph”…..but not specifically the face!

So with that, I happily took a few photos of myself, well, more specifically, my feet! ¬†You know I love the beach, and my toes in the sand, so I though, instead of torturing myself on vacation and trying to get a glamorous, gorgeous “selfie”, why not do something fun. ¬†So I snapped a couple pictures and ended up combining a few together. ¬†Photoshop is something that I really need to practice in, and not forget the little I have learned before the next semester starts in a couple weeks. ¬†So while I liked the bubbles and water of one image, I also liked all the little shells (coquina clams, or as I like to call them, baby clams) in another, and decided to join the two together to get the perfect little beach image. ¬†So enjoy! ¬†I had fun practicing, and hope that my composite isn’t too obvious. ¬†I’m happy with it, but I’ll keep practicing anyways ūüôā

bubbles and shells-2

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Low-Key Me

I have to say, I was a little apprehensive¬†about doing this week’s task. ¬†Not because I wasn’t looking forward to, or was intimidated by the idea of low-key, but because I knew I had some catching up to do. ¬†Yes, the fact that I’ve skipped a couple of topics is in the forefront of my mind each time I begin working on a new week. ¬†This week, I’m happy to report, ¬†I’ve included the subject of one week’s task in the low-key realm: me! ¬†Remember a couple¬†weeks ago when I was supposed to do a few self-portraits and I didn’t? ¬†Well here we have it, ladies and gentlemen, me in low-key.

I love taking pictures of¬†people, but with this love comes a few problems. ¬†For starters, I don’t have a lot of handy volunteers, as you know, so finding models for my somewhat strange ideas is a little difficult at times. ¬†The other three weeks which¬†need catching up on all have models in my mind; one could do without, though I’d rather have them, and the other two would fall into the strange category, so I’ll just keep searching.

My next, and undoubtedly biggest, issue with photographing people is that I’m incredibly shy. ¬†When I have a model, it’s always someone I know, so I should be comfortable, right? ¬†Wrong. ¬†It takes me a while to get into a groove, and I’m completely uncomfortable directing them. ¬†I’m sure in this case I would do much better with someone I didn’t know. ¬†I would feel comfortable in being much more direct, and I don’t have to hear from them how stupid I sounded afterwards, right? ūüôā ¬†It’s just like any other job; I’m completely professional and can handle everything on a day-to-day, until a family member visits me at work, and then I’m a total doof.

Hiring a model for all these projects is a little out of the question at the moment, so I’ll have to suck it up. ¬†Which brings me to the people who I don’t know and do have at my disposal. ¬†Street photography. ¬†Ahh, yes. ¬†I love it so much, but have I ever done it? ¬†That’s a big n-o. ¬†It’s not like I’m uncomfortable being in public and shooting pictures; I’d actually walk around all day taking pictures of things and looking like the complete “tourist”, which I know is a big deterrent¬†for a lot of people. ¬†But as soon as I think about pointing that camera at the random interesting stranger walking around, I can’t bring myself to do it. ¬†It’s something I need to work on, I know, especially since I have this nagging feeling that I need to just get out there and do it. ¬†I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until my portfolio contains a good amount of street photography shots.

To get back on topic, the point of this is to say that while I wanted to photograph someone for the low-key project, I was out of volunteers, except for myself. ¬†While completing all of what seemed like a million self-portrait projects in my drawing class, my professor often told us that “you are your best model”, if for no other reason than simply because of availability. ¬†I often scoffed, internally, at this. ¬†It’s not that she was invalid in saying this; she’s absolutely right! ¬†I, on the other hand, hate taking pictures of myself, hate being in pictures, hate drawing myself, and the list goes on. ¬†So as I mentioned before, I wasn’t enthused about the self-portrait project, but knew I just had to do it to stay on track.

So after being selfied-out from taking my school ID badge picture earlier in the day, I decided to not let a good hair day go to waste. ¬†After it got dark, I got my low-key set up together, which consisted of my camera, tripod, mini hand-held flashlight, Nikon WMU, and cell phone. ¬†Now, this is quite the cumbersome set up, but it gets the job done. ¬†Once you get the hang of getting your camera settings correct for a low-light setting, then using your phone to preview and take pictures while posing, holding for the long exposure, and moving the light around, you can get some decent shots. ¬†My arms were pretty tired from holding things up for a while, and I was semi-blinded from shining the light in my eyes a million times, but it’s all for the sake of art. ¬†Glad no one caught me, because I must have looked crazy all contorted and trying to do this. ¬†Oh, and one more thing about me not liking pictures of myself: I never smile. ¬†Unless it’s a group photo where I’m instructed to “smiilllleeeee!”, it’s not going to happen. ¬†Even MICA didn’t get a smile for the ID picture, sorry guys. ¬†Also (ok, so it’s two more things), I also like to shoot more abstracted views of myself. ¬†You’ll see; it’s me, not smiling, and semi-cut off in a lot of these!

Originally, I thought that I would go all black and white with these images, but after seeing the final results, and actually loving them without any edits, I decided to leave the majority of them in color. ¬†I do love how the black and white images give a slightly warmer feeling to the composition, which I was pleasantly surprised by. ¬†The color images are fun because of my crazy hair color; I love it when the light hits it and it’s a really intense color, which is what you’ll see here. ¬†I may have hit the highlights a little high in some of these, but I think I’ve captured the essence of low-key. ¬†The difference between black and white and color also plays a part on this; ¬†not only do the black and white photos appear warmer in my opinion, but they also make those highlights look more toned down, even though I didn’t do anything different to those images than I did with the color images. ¬†I say, as far as successfully completing this project, the black and white images win, but I love the pops of the color images! ¬†Either way, enjoy, and let me know what you think! ¬†Black and white, or color?

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.

Week 24: Shades of Grey

Lovely! ¬†This week I have a blank canvas, so to speak. ¬†I have enjoyed working through nearly half of this 52 week challenge, but what has been an unexpected challenge is how blocked I would be when working with specific themes. ¬†I suppose it’s good, and the purpose of this whole thing — not only do I have to constantly get out and shoot, but I also have to think out side of my own box. ¬†I’ve enjoyed some of the themes more than others, but beyond that, I have enjoyed working in ways I would have never thought of on my own.

Now, back to the good old stuff…

Working in shades of grey has me thinking of one thing — black and white photography! ¬†I mean, what else could it be? ¬†Ok, it could be a lot of things, and just as I’m typing it, I’m thinking of tons of ways to capture this theme without taking it so literally. ¬†But the one thing I’ve missed about working with film are the beautiful tones of the blacks, whites, and greys developing in the darkroom. ¬†And the smell? ¬†Yum, weird, I know, but I love it. ¬†Ok, so there are a lot of things I miss, but I digress… Even though I would love to, I can’t do a film project for this theme. ¬†Being out of school has been fun, and weird, but it’s also left me without the resource of a¬†dark room. ¬†So for this week, my digital files will just have to imagine they’re film, and my computer will become its own imaginary little darkroom.

I suppose this theme is coming at the opportune time… I am in a rather “grey” period of life….like a dark slate, thunderstorm, type of grey. ¬†So while I’ll be working in the spirit of the darkroom, I’m probably not going to produce any more of my happy little nature photographs again in the near future. ¬†And with that, I’m off to think, and to reminisce. ¬†Here’s another film project from a past class of mine. ¬†It was the first “story telling” type project that I worked with, and out of all the different ideas that I had, this was my favorite. ¬†I liked that it told a story in so many different ways, without actually saying anything direct. ¬†It allows¬†you to look at it and interpret it as your own story, and to me, it has many meanings, which is in a strange way kind of cathartic. ¬†Changing of seasons, passing of time, a year going by, life passing you by, standing still, running in circles, travel — just a few of the meanings this has to me, and, just a few of the things I’ve meditated on while looking at these photos. ¬†So enjoy, and feel free to leave me a note of what you think!

Telling a Story

Well, by now I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that another model didn’t work out, but I’m telling you anyways. ¬†I had a really interesting idea planned¬†out for the “blending in” theme, but things didn’t work out, so I’m just storing that idea for another time. ¬†With all the problems I’ve had in hashing out my ideas, I’m still holding on to the hope that I’ll be able to get my, now three, incomplete projects done in all one go, whenever that may be.

Since¬†the original idea didn’t go as planned, I decided to look through the archives to see if there were any photos which I could use for this week. ¬†Going through some old film, I discovered that there was a projected that I completed for my first photography class¬†which I never got to develop, so I decided to work on those! ¬†Hooray¬†for finally seeing their final result, albeit it was done digitally as opposed to in the darkroom (I miss you, darkroom!). ¬†One of the best gifts that my brother gave to my mom for Christmas was a film scanner thing, which I “borrowed”….for a very long time. ¬†My biggest fear when I started working with film, and really loving the process and results, was that the actual film seemed so delicate and precious to me. ¬†Digitally, I have learned to have photos stored in multiple places, so my worries are somewhat at ease. ¬†But film — it’s a whole other beast! ¬†Well, maybe not beast…I think of the negatives as these little irreplaceable treasures which I have to guard with my life! ¬†Even though my mother has tons of photo albums and negatives at her house, and it’s nothing new to have that as the only means of “memories”, I’m completely paranoid about something happening to my work. ¬†So thanks, bro, for getting mom (me) that present :).

Since I’m on the subject of family, that’s what this project is actually about! ¬†The technical assignment was to tell a story, or complete a type of documentary or timeline of an event. ¬†I shot several different types of “stories” for this one project, and ultimately ended up working with a different set of negatives. ¬†Unfortunately, since it was our final project for the semester, I didn’t have the opportunity to work on these. ¬†I suppose, in retrospect, I should be glad that my work was more conceptual rather than literal when completing a “story” project, as well as be glad for the fact that my model didn’t work out for the past week.

So in this “story”, I took a look at my family, and the story that could be told through looking at us; our connection, our similarities, and our differences. ¬†Ever since I was little, people told me that I was the spitting image of my mother, and on more than one occasion have confused me for a sister to her and my aunt. ¬†It used to drive me crazy, and for some reason, still bugs me a little (someone even said it to me just today!). ¬†I joke(d) and say I’m adopted (my dad is blonde, my mom has black hair, and I have brown…I don’t have either of their eye color, so on), but clearly I was just a combination of my parents. ¬†Over the recent years, I began to develop an interest in this concept. ¬†I never saw it before, or maybe never wanted to, but I can see the similarities now. ¬†It’s pretty fascinating, when you think of it, of how closely you can resemble your immediate family members. ¬†What’s even more interesting is just how different each individual in your family can be. ¬†Some families can be extremely close-knit, sharing all of the same ideals, values, and personalities. ¬†Others, can be polar opposites, bordering enemies, if you will. ¬†I would say¬†we’re clearly just a mix of everything; having our disagreements at times, but we love one another, and are there when it counts….pretty much all of the time. ¬†I’m thankful for that, and I know I’m lucky, even if they drive me crazy. ¬†So, if the eyes are the windows to the soul, take a glimpse in to who we are, and maybe you’ll see how we’re all different, yet all the same.

Eyes Wide…Open

Insomnia¬†is a great thing, isn’t it? ¬†No. ¬†No it isn’t. ¬†As I mentioned in my last post, I spend a lot of time awake during the night hours. ¬†I suppose you could call me a night owl. ¬†I would say I’m sleep challenged. ¬†Always wanting to sleep when I can’t, and wide awake without sleep in sight when I’m able to. ¬†I suppose it can be a good thing at times; I’ve been incredibly productive, and have gotten a lot of work and projects completed when I should have been sleeping. ¬†At other times, I would much rather be sleeping instead of watching countless re-runs and infomercials at 4 o’clock in the morning. ¬†Like last night, for instance. ¬†I was a little frustrated, but at least I was semi-productive. ¬†I completed crafting my mom’s Mother’s Day present, and just in time for this week’s theme, took some pictures.

Though this isn’t using my camera to its full potential, as I was so excited to do, at least I was able to get some shots of “nighttime”, and I had fun playing in Lightroom giving some of my images that dreamy, hazy quality, which will match how I will feel the rest of the day. ¬†It may not depict your typical night, but it is for me…sometimes…unfortunetly. ¬†What always surprises me is the amount of noise I hear my neighbors making at all hours of the night. ¬†I suppose it’s good to know that I’m not the only one (I mean, misery does like company, right?), but what the heck are they doing? ¬†People stomping around upstairs, doors opening and slamming shut, loud talkers in the hallway. ¬†I’ll just have to assume that my neighbors all have far more active social nightlifes than I do! ¬†Then again, they all also appear to be early to rise. ¬†Like this morning…it’s 9 o’clock and someone is doing some type of construction? ¬†Maybe they’re all vampires, or whatever other mythical non-sleep-needing person. ¬†I digress….

So here you have it. ¬†All the things I peek at while I desperately try to fall asleep, things that go bump in the night in my apartment, and the dreadful realization that the sun is coming up before I’ve even gotten a wink of sleep!

Hiding Your View

I know I know, I’m a little late in posting for the week, sorry! ¬†Anyways, in working on this “hidden from view” theme, I thought I would take this opportunity to finish up a “self-portrait” project that I begun working on a few months ago. ¬†For me, I think using a self-portrait is appropriate for a hidden theme; ¬†I really don’t like taking self portraits, or “selfies”, so when I do, they’re usually of a weird view, or only include a portion of my face. ¬†So to take it a bit deeper, much like when I meet people, it takes some time for me to really let my personality shine through and allow new people in. ¬†Not quite sure why I do it, but it can make for some pretty awkward social interactions at times, admittedly, and I’m working on not worrying about it so much. ¬†Sometimes it can be great to be the introvert, sit back, and observe people — people truly do divulge a plethora of information about themselves without even thinking about it, and I like being able to pick up on those small things. ¬†I suppose that I can be rather transparent once I start talking about ideas, thoughts, passions, and so on, so I want to make sure that I can trust the person that I’m sharing things with, instead of just volunteering everything there is to know about me right off the bat. ¬†I’m pretty complicated, to say the least, but not in a bad way. ¬†I’ve been told that there are a lot of different aspects to my personality that I don’t make known at first glance, and I don’t think keeping it that way is a bad thing. ¬†So there you have it; a partial view of me, and just a little more of my hidden insight.