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!

Week 10: Collage

Week 10?  How did we get here already?  And an even better question, what happened to week 9?  Well don’t worry.  After racking my brain to think of a good cliché theme, I’ve finally got it, and I’m just waiting to get a model….again.  So it’s on the way, along with the “red” week theme that’s still a work in progress.  Just hang tight, it’ll be worth the wait!

As for this week, I’m a little tempted to combine the business challenge with the photo challenge.  Business challenge? (So many questions this week!)  Ahh yes, I’m still keeping that portion of this 52 week challenge in mind.  So the photo theme is collage, which is like a bonus-do-whatever-you-want type theme (yay!), and the business challenge is “Loved ones photo shoot”, which is just like another photo challenge.  Now, I have to admit, that would kind of be like taking the easy way out, but it sounds like a fun idea.  The only down side is….my family hates taking pictures.  I think they, particularly my immediate family, have been scarred for life when taking pictures.  My mother is a photo fanatic, and is one of those “Smile, oh wait, smile, wait you’re not smiling….SMILE!”, and “OH WAIT!!!  Just one more!!” (but it’s never just one) type of photographers.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my well documented childhood, but it was a little much at times (sorry mom 🙂 ).  So I think I may see if I can get a few of the family members together this weekend, and get some fun, causal pictures to get the business side of this week done.  As for the photo challenge, I’m thinking of focusing on a single object, and taking photos from various angles to create some abstractions.  Now just to pick an object.  Maybe something sentimental?  Who knows, but if we’re going to go the sentimental route, here’s one of my favorite sentimental pictures,which was taken with my film camera and finished as a kallitype print.  Miss you Lelo.

Week 9: Common Clichés

The grass is always greener on the other side.  People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Actions speak louder than words.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Laughter is the best medicine….

…A picture is worth a thousand words?

Well, this week, let’s hope so, since if it isn’t obvious, I’ve been plagued to work with common clichés.  Sounds like a fun idea, but what the heck do I do?  In another week filled with two winter storms, as it’s currently snowing again outside, the “grass is greener” cliché is sounding really good right about now.  I’ll have to get creative for this week, since I’ve already toyed with some ideas which would fall in to the “common cliché” category.

As I get working on thinking of something, I’ll leave you with some pictures from an old film photography project that I did about a year ago.  I was working with the idea of how throughout our lives, we’re constantly longing for another, or some type of human connection, and even if we have what we want at the time, another season of life will bring another need that will seem insatiable.  It seems like at the end of it all, when we’re left to ourselves, all we want is what he had before and can never get back.  When comparing to clichés, it almost makes me think of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” — I think that cliché sucks!  Though it does make the heart grow fonder, it also breaks the heart, which is an unfortunate side-effect, sometimes without remedy.