Big Mac Photo Challenge

For this assignment, our instructor wanted us to emulate to the best of our ability portraits of anyone using a smartphone or camera plus a McDonald’s Big Mac Box (didn’t necessarily have to be this, could’ve been any type of box) based upon from a French photographer named Philippe Echaroux. He shot random strangers using his iPhone and decided to include a straw as well as a flashlight in order to integrate it into the Big Mac box he got from McDonald’s. I chose a box from a taco shop and used my own flashlight and straw for my experimentation. Glancing back at my photos, (I had my younger brother grab my iPhone and take portraits of me) I wasn’t entirely happy with some of them. When Philippe took his shots, it was during the daytime. As for me, I wanted to try it out at nighttime. All these images were taken yesterday (Wednesday, May 8th, 2019) at my house between 8:44 and 8:56. There was a YouTube video that showed what the end result of Philippe’s shots looked like, which I tried my hardest in Lightroom to edit. For the most part, I think the first four images I left them the way as they were because I wanted to capture the emotion. I told my brother to shine the light source (basically it was like building my own light reflector) in certain spots where I felt was the appropriate area. Conclusively, the first three images are my favorites while the last two I didn’t like as much. For the last image however, I opted to go black and white.

Photo Booth Project

I had to redo this assignment because I didn’t follow the instructions originally. My classmate Alex Martuscelli (who originally also didn’t finish this assignment at all but later agreed with me to do it together) and I decided to go to the Veterans Center (adjacent to Markstein Hall) on campus because Alex has been through the Veteran’s Center (VC) numerous times. Initially, we both wanted to set up shop in the University Student Union (we asked), but they told us we couldn’t due to some other event happening there at the time. Then, we went to the library to ask if we could gather in front of Kellogg Plaza, but one of the librarians told us we had to reserve through a website called https://25live.collegenet.com/csusm/. Essentially, that’s where vendors and students can rent out space anywhere on campus for a certain time. Before ultimately ending up at the VC, we were intending to choose Markstein Hall. I would like to thank Alex so much for not only helping me out, but also the staff members at the VC for allowing us to take pictures of them. Some of the photographs I took were of the staff members while the rest were all students or student workers. The first six images were all taken on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 and the last seven images occurred on Friday, May 3rd, 2019. On both of these days, they were all done in the early morning hours between nine and eleven. The second image of the woman mentioned to us that they were supposed to be holding an event in front of the VC on Friday, May 3rd for any students or individuals to get their professional pictures taken for his or her LinkedIn profile. That’s why Alex let me know about it and we capitalized on that opportunity. On that Friday however, only five students decided to show up, which hindered my ability to get to the 20 pictures. The woman in the first picture told us on that Friday that she could get more student workers at Cougar Central to come by on Tuesday, May 7th (Alex showed up, but I couldn’t because I was filming a different project at that time in another one of my classes on that same Tuesday). Alex ended up with 18 pictures, while I came out with 13. Conclusively, I had a blast on both May 1st and 3rd, where my favorite subject was the man in the eleventh picture (his name was Steven). He was funny and a cool person inside and out.

Professor/Class Evaluation

Although I will never forget the lovely moments and challenging circumstances that this course has provided me, my professor was prepared all the time in teaching us the ever expansive world of photography. At first, I’m sure there were many students in our class like myself who saw her as daunting in the first couple weeks, but I grew to enjoy her presence out in the field trips and critiques in the classroom. I respect and appreciate all the knowledge that she has taught me. The critiques are always helpful, but the field trips were grueling at times because either I didn’t understand the principle to the fullest extent or it just wasn’t as inviting as I thought it would be. Photography is one of those unique visual mediums that has a lot of complexity to it. Due to my preferred speciality in graphic design, I’m thankful that I had the chance to learn all that I could from this course and incorporate it into a passion. Conclusively, whoever is going into any type of art major and enjoys taking pictures with purpose would definitely have my recommendation for this introductory level class. Hopefully, that individual will be able to see who my instructor was all about, because she is one of the most incredible, hardest-working faculty members in the department. She’s outgoing, funny, and friendly!

Blog Evaluation

Over the course of the Spring 2019 semester, this Digital Photography course brightened my outlook not just around the camera, but also the creative, artistic expression! Even though I’m not going to pursue photography as a career, I believe it’s amazing to not only learn this type of visual medium but others as well such as video, fine art, web design, graphic design, etc. I consider art to have a lot of flexibility and versatility when it comes to skillsets because I may come across a professional photographer or cinematographer or web designer that happened to be apart of my class. With the four listed examples I presented, I virtually have some experience in all of them and I feel that some of the techniques that are displayed go hand in hand with each other. For instance, photography and video have similar concepts such as framing. Being enamored with graphic design, I think some principles and elements of this discipline fit excellently with web design plus fine art such as page layout (composition). Two quotes that I can relate to photography are “Be at your best when your best is needed” and “Make each day your masterpiece”. Both of these phrases come from one of the most iconic American professional basketball figures in history, who is known as Coach John Wooden. My two favorite assignments were the Environmental Portraits and Photo Book Project. With the Environmental Portraits task, it was a wonderful chance to get to know our classmates that we chose via a random drawing out of a hat. Even though we all have different opinions and perspectives, I fully understand and respect how we all are trying to become the best successful version of ourselves. I interviewed Susan and Julia interviewed me, so it was fun and awesome to have these ‘tiny, adventurous moments’. This was also the first time we were able to print our ‘favorite’ image out of the five we were required to shoot, which I took great pride and effort in. On the other hand, the Photo Book Project felt like the easiest and simplest task to me out of the entire semester. I loved the fact that our instructor gave us the freedom to put whatever images we would like to unveil at the end of our final class meeting. She mentioned to us as a class that it didn’t necessarily have to revolve solely around photography, so in my proposal I wanted to highlight all my graphic design works I’ve established up until this point in my academical education career. Way before this project was even announced, I originally was seeking to just stress the importance of all my valuable photographs I took, but then the proposal was introduced and I changed my mind at that point in time. Overall, I’m extremely happy and excited at how I composed my photo book and the one thing I would change is to include words or phrases. My least favorite assignment was the Walnut Grove Park Field Trip. I kept having issues with my ISO and shutter speed at the time of day we went and luckily with the help of both my classmate Alex and the instructor, I learned a valuable lesson. There’s only three images I like out of the five I took, but I could’ve gotten something better than all of the ones I shot. It was also strenuous during the hour and a half we were there because I think there were some individuals who almost followed each other shoulder to shoulder and I was trying to get a different angle or approach to my shot, but either some people blocked my view or they captured something at the exact same spot that I had in my head already (essentially they beat me to it). The other issue was time cause I kept worrying about it too much in regards to how quick I needed to be or how I was going to edit them in Lightroom. Conclusively, I would like to thank first and foremost my instructor for all her commitment and effort in teaching me! She is truly one of the most glowing faculty members I’ve experienced! Secondly, all my classmates I’ve gotten to see or know about genuinely influenced me to keep pushing not just as a photographer, but also as a person! Finally, the guest speakers who were invited and made their visit worthwhile by engaging in critiques opened my eyes in a way that I hadn’t seen before! I appreciated everything throughout the semester from the highs to the lows and I wish everyone the best maximum prosperity and health!

Richard Avedon: Darkness & Light

After watching the entire hour and twenty-five minute documentary episode on YouTube about one of the most iconic photographers in history, the first hour revealed a lot of fascinating information to me that I had never known. Richard Avedon was an American fashion photographer, who primarily focused on portraits. Not only did he have inspiring quotes, but the narrator in the video explained what photography means in the artistic realm. Avedon stated that, “To be an artist, a photographer, you have to nurture the things that most people discord. You have to keep them alive in order to tap them” as well as “I never believed in compliments”. On the other hand, the narrator discussed that, “Images are fast replacing words as our primary language, they define our ideas of beauty, truth, and history” along with “In our age, the photographer not the philosopher is king”. Both Avedon and the narrator’s remarks opened my eyes in a fun and curious way. I believe the first quote by the iconic photographer himself means that being a creator in an ever-evolving world sometimes gets lost in context and its how one showcases themselves by adapting and coming up with a ‘what’s new, what’s next’ mentality. Next, I sense that Avedon points to compliments being useless because of his childhood and quite frankly, I disagree with this quote he suggested. After completing the majority of my academical education pathway thus far and just experiencing life in general, every compliment I receive (whether encouraging or not) motivates me everyday to be the best version of myself that I can be. Then, the first quote by the narrator herself conveys a true paradigm shift in regards to the visual medium. In modern society, a great chunk of the population in the United States has some form of visual technology (smartphones, computers, televisions, etc.) that is equipped with the best, advanced software (Apple, Microsoft, Vizio, etc.). Thanks to the birth of the Internet and social media (Instagram for instance), anyone can feel apart of this visual community and reconnect via posting of selfies, status updates, or as simple as a text conversation. In the digital age we live in today, the narrator labeled visual arts as kings of society over philosophy. I feel certain aspects of this statement are true, but that doesn’t mean our original roots shouldn’t be discounted at all. We should always continue to study the past in order to refine the present and ultimately develop the future. The common term regarding human existence that is always thrown around a lot is ‘evolution’ and based on my knowledge of study, I consider this word to also apply to art in general as well. For instance, I remember learning in my biological anthropology course in community college that us humans came from something that was 1 percent primate (scientific expression) and the rest (99 percent) are humanistic qualities. Hence, our organs inside our bodies are all made up of good and bad bacteria. With art, I recall being exposed to art history in a course I took in community college that featured the earliest recorded documentation of cave paintings all the way up to the modern and futuristic representation of graphic design. Conclusively, this photographer was my favorite documentary to look at out of the entire semester and my favorite work from him is of the actress Nastassja Kinski (the photograph of her laying down naked with a snake) because it captures the radical, fierce style Avedon loved to share and the incredible gift of intensity that us humans encounter all the time.

Photo Book

https://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/8134782/2854c456e6600b4daa130117a198d0c0dc5b46b9

I’m ecstatic to be sharing a photo book to not only my instructor and classmates, but also my family and friends! This final assignment is the best thing I have been looking forward to this entire semester! The theme of mine is called Graphic Design. Inside the book are all my creative works I have established thus far. In order to create the photo book, I assembled all JPEG file images and uploaded them to my Lightroom catalog that had been created at the beginning of the semester. I then went ahead and created a collection inside the catalog and named it Blurb Book. Blurb is the publishing company that allows the community to design or sell his or her print/ebooks. Once I was happy with the result, I made sure all my settings were correct for the Blurb output and clicked the Export Book as a PDF option to proof see it to recognize any potential mistakes. Afterwards, I pressed the Send to Blurb choice and signed into my account, as I went through a payment process. I thought this assignment was going to be tricky at first, but it turned out relatively easy and friendly. The hardest challenge was which order I wanted my images to be in on the 42 pages I chose. Overall, I’m proud of the effort and artistic skills I possess.

Pictorialism

According to the powerpoint lecture provided to us as a class for reference, pictorialism is a photographic genre and “is one of the first and likely most influential photography movements”. In my experience of studying art genres in history, I had never heard of pictorialism, yet the vast array of tasks these pictorialists devotedly sought out to execute was noneoftheless dazzling. As I continued reading on a little bit more about the brief history of this photographic genre, I wasn’t surprised by how the public viewed the talented/skillful individuals practicing this type of photography because based on my art history understanding, I know that quite a big chunk of art genres weren’t widely accepted or popularized across the globe. Unquestionably, the creative artistic communities took many generations to convince not only the ordinary public, but also the respective government administrations in power as to how imperative art is in the past, present, and future. For this assignment however, we as a class were supposed to mimic the symbolism of pictorialism to the best that we could within our developed photographic habits thus far. After thoroughly dissecting constituents in the powerpoint lecture, I was thinking about what subjects or compositions I wanted to pursue. Yesterday (Wednesday, April 17th) I captured two objects in my house at 7:03 p.m plus 7:42 p.m. suitably that signify the living versus the non-living in a both spiritual and textural sense. The image on the left is a divine/holy/sacred decorative angel ornament nailed to the wall while on the right is a woodchip carved American black bear sculpture showing a facial expression. Angels are typically regarded as supernatural beings in numerous religions and mythologies such as Catholicism. Though bears were once heavily perceived as spiritual beings back in the early eras of mankind’s existence timeline, today they still hold emblematic weight just like other animals in nature such as the orangutan. Both of these figures in fact can also be physically felt through the precise texture. Due to the portrayal of angels in a dreamy, light movement surrounding, I believe I polished my goal well (this photograph is my personal favorite out of the two). My ISO was at 400, focal length at 135 mm, aperture at f/4.6, and shutter speed at 1/4 sec. Then, I edited my photograph in Lightroom by utilizing the medium grain as well as creative aged photo presets. Sometimes, it’s not about what the animal is doing, but the pose that they flash. In this case, the sculptor, who refined his or her skills in order to uncover the emotional state of bears, impressively delivered what this visual art form is all about. My ISO was at 400 again, focal length this time at 116 mm, and aperture/shutter speed the same number like the angel. I went ahead to incorporate the heavy grain along with creative soft mist presets into my bear sculpture snapshot. Conclusively, I sense that this was pleasant and intricate in a joyful manner! It just takes lots of persisting patience as well as refining practice with anything in life in order to be passionately committed!