Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wrapping Up

For our final project, I made a one-minute video clip. I decided to expand on the idea of how each person is unique.  I feel that society puts pressure on us to such an extent that we become mundane and blend into the background. Each person has unique qualities that make him/her different.
Words such as expression, passion, and individuality came to mind when I was directing and making the film.  I used three people and began shooting them in a serious mood dressed in plain colors to portray how they appear when pressured to repress their true selves.  I used symbolism and words to convey my theme as I had each of the three people express themselves and have fun.  I was surprised at how difficult it was to narrow down and edit these clips I took. Finding transitional clips required more planning than I had originally thought as well. In addition, it was challenging to compose music to complement the mood and not detract from the video.
Although it required a lot of time and planning, I enjoyed making this video. It has really taught me the planning needed to convey your ideas in the format of a video as well as the patience indispensible in editing down shots.  The next time I watch a two-hour movie I will definitely appreciate it more than I would have ever imagined!

On a side note, if you wish to check out my youtube channel, please click here!

From Yourself

From Yourself is a short video about how people should not let anyone hold them back from expressing their individuality and passion.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Redefining the Boundaries

With the rise in people making remixes of found material on the web, it is necessary to re-evaluate rights for each production.  The development of the system of fair use was essential to lay a framework for determining infringement problems.  Lary Lessig and Negativland in two articles explained this system of fair use.  Lessig writes how according to the law now, re-expression in the format of remixing works still is illegal since there is no attaining of permission ("The Failures of Fair Use and the Future of Free Culture").  Negativland goes further to write how the Fair Use Doctrine is excellent because of its "nod to the possible need for artistic freedom and free speech" ("Fair Use").  The actual Fair Use Doctrine, as shown in the article "Copyright & Fair Use: Measuring  the Four Factors", states the four factors that are closely regarded when examining a remix are its purpose and character, its nature, the amount use from the copyrighted source, and the effect it causes.  In other words, is the remix truly a transformation of the original work, or is it merely slicing it up and crudely pasting it in? Was there any value added in the remix like new understandings?

Lawrence (Lary) Lessig writes a wonderful article called "RW, Revived" where he critiques America's reluctance to better allow remixing.  He believes that it is a "critical expression of creative freedom that in a broad range of contexts, no free society should restrict."  When remixes are down properly, they have the ability to influence the world much more so than simple words or such could.  Remixing allows people to recreate and twist previously made works and transform them into something new and influential.  Lessig does acknowledge that remixing can have bad works as a result. But he still firmly believes it is not a reason worthy to prevent remixing.

In our most recent project, we were asked to make a one minute movie comprised of only found material.  This tested my understanding of the Fair Use Doctrine as I took clips of different youtube videos and music I found.  What I sought to do was to critique the fast-paced world of today and how people are so intent upon what they have to do next, that they actually overlook precious moments.  I used repetitive images to symbolize this either in an obvious way, or perhaps a more abstract way.  I had to pay close attention to whether I was changing the video clips enough so that I would not have any copyright problems.  In doing so, I changed the style of the clips, its pace, etc.  Overall, this was quite the experience in being creative without infringing on others' rights.
Please view my video clip above!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Realization through the Randomness

Isabel Uriarte

Apples and Cigarettes
For the most recent project, I chose to research the contemporary artist Roe Ethridge.  As I flipped through two brand new books of his work, I was drawn into the way he handled each photograph. Instead of only incorporating fine art photographs, he interspersed editorial ones to effectively blur the boundaries between these two very different fields.  Although his photographs may have seemed random initially, I appreciated the full series upon viewing them all. Each series created a rhythm which propelled you into viewing the next photo.  Ethridge discussed his grasp of a “fugue” in his work as an “amnesia state of wandering”. He used repetition to draw out the importance of particular photographs as the viewer’s eyes wander through the photographs.  My appreciation of Ethridge’s work only grew the more I studied his photos. His ability to capture people unaware for the briefest moment of time allows you to see into their soul with their guards down. His thoughtfully detailed landscape images and transformation of mundane objects into something special and unique never ceases to impress me. Truly Ethridge Roe is an artist who knows how to mold the outside world through the lens of his camera to achieve a significant impact on you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Purpose of Photography

Photo carried through entire editing process.
Mary Ann Doane discusses the idea of how photographic technology is about this "transformation of index into icon" in the article "Indexicality and the Concept of Medium Specificity".  As she develops this concept, she includes part of Dai Vaughan's argument.  He effectively says how "the point of photography is not that it mimics definitively the experience of seeing an object, but that its relation to that object is a necessary rather than a contingent one."  I was struck by how he so simply yet resolutely describes photography as not merely that of accurately depicting an object, but instead as that of having much more substance when understanding this relation with the components that make the photograph what it is. This article inspired me to alter the way I initially understood photography.  Anyone can snap a photograph and admire it, but a true artist sees more than the physical object in front of her.  She understands how viewers might feel drawn into the image depending on the perspective the photograph was taken at. She studies and comprehends how the figures relate to those around them and how colors impact the mood, etc. 
Upon reflecting on how my project has transpired throughout the weeks, I began to look deeper into my photograph series. I had begun with 32 photos and gradually narrowed them down to 10.  The printing process showed me how some photographs are enhanced and become quite striking in print, whereas others lose some of their previous strengths.  Finally, I chose 4 photographs to print 11x14 and to examine on a larger scale, keeping the strongest 2 that best complemented each other to show in the "Watching Exhibition" on Wednesday, October 19th.  The exhibition showed me the aspects that went into everything-printing titles, arranging orders, advertising, and writing the artist statement. 

Narrowing down and touching up the photographs allowed me to better grasp how each one conveys a slightly different feel depending on the time of day, location, and subject.  Listening and learning from the classroom technique, I actually discovered new themes and aspects in my photographs that I had not realized were there.  This process has enlightened me in better understanding the ultimate purpose of photography!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Rhythm of Order

Watching the Watched
The rhythm in a series of photographs has tremendous ability to establish a sense of movement.  Robert Frank reflects on his book The Americans, saying how rhythm had to do with "how much movement was in one photograph, how still it was, that it progressed more and more until there was more movement."  In doing so, Sarah Greenbough writes how Frank sought to "create a form" by "establishing a 'distinct and intense order'" so that he could incorporate his opinions (Transforming Destiny into Awareness: The Americans).

This article was pivotal in my realization of the significance in the order of photographs. Each image should guide the viewer into the next, forming some sort of organization. This organization will in turn create the rhythm the photographer originally desired the viewers to experience. As I focused on this, I established a clearer organization to my series.  My theme has evolved into "watching the watched" to reflect how people are always watching one another, even to the extent of not realizing that they are actually being watched as well. This is separated into four sub-themes: framed, looking, distance, and reflection. I then grouped my photos into these categories, while arranging them to try to develop this movement Frank discusses. I tried to create a rhythm that would take the viewer in from a distance to a closer perspective to better observe the subject.  After doing so, I made a magazine through MagCloud to depict my series. Please see my draft before I order the magazine by clicking here.  I rewrote my titles and descriptions to be more simple and to not give away the photograph.  I'm excited to see how this series of photographs continues to grow!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Inner Self

Framed View Reflecting Inner Self
The ideas of surveillance and watching discussed by Philip Agre and Richard B. Woodward are direct issues in today's world.  For instance, Woodward brings up how people have this innate desire to see the "forbidden". There is something disturbingly intriguing about peering at an image that's revolting or of something that people are confined by the unspoken laws of society not to do. Agre delves into the idea the book 1984 by George Orwell brings up-the Big Brother who is always watching.

Branching off these ideas, I decided to focus on how surveillance is intricately apart of today. Whether it be security cameras perched above your head in the grocery store or the tracking device in your cellphone cleverly recording your movements downtown, the concept of being solitary is absent with the rise in technological advances.  People are unaware or else unconcerned with this lack of privacy, partly due to Woodward's idea that “we like to watch and, in turn, don’t mind being watched” (Exposed). Also, if you are born into a world where it’s normal to have someone always watching, why should it concern you?

For my project, I took pictures to capture and convey the central idea of surveillance.  What fascinates me is how someone can be watching you and you have no idea because you are caught up in a 'moment'.  As I went about this, my idea began to develop.  I took photos with some sort of frame to create a hidden watcher feeling.  This plays into the ultimate concept of people looking past the external into the internal. What is so unnerving about being watched unnoticeably is that the mask you wear to hide your true emotions and personality is briefly removed, reflecting your true, inner self.  Therefore, my photos were aimed at capturing these moments that reveal each person. Interestingly, while I was taking photos, I actually would catch curious pedestrians who were absorbed in “watching”, yet didn’t realize they were in the photograph. I was trying to capture something specific (the obvious), yet in doing so I actually would capture something accidental that brought more depth to my original plan.  The external or obvious self is only the first layer; only upon peeling that away does one discover the true inner self.  
Click here to view rest of photos on Flickr!