Photographer of the Day: Robert Heinecken

Robert Heineken

b. 1931, d. 2006

Today’s PotD is Robert Heineken (and no, he has nothing to do with the beer,) a man who barely used a camera. He was a pretty chill guy, but his work was evocative and had a lot of social commentary on the period he worked in, around the 60s-80s. Most, if not all, of his work was out of camera. But how does this make him a photographer?

The guy took magazine pages and put them on a light table. Since magazine paper is so thin, you could see the image on the other side. The combination of the front and back of the page would oftentimes create surreal imagery, which Heinecken would make a contact print of. Photography does always have to have a camera. It’s literal meaning is “light writing.”

He just figured there were enough straight photographs in the world, so he decided to shake it up a little bit.

One of his most iconic series is titled Are You Rea. His process really shows up in the images, which are below.

Heinecken was interested in the politics of female sexuality and the portrayal of them in the media. Y’know, the typical 1960s scene. Another thing this guy did that was baller as hell was he cut up popular magazines like Time and Vogue and put sexual or pornographic images in them… and then put them back on the news stand for someone to buy and get more than what they paid for (if you know what I mean.)

Kudos to Heinecken for being a total troll.

Another thing that makes Heinecken a boss is he founded the photography department at UCLA. WHICH IS ONE OF THE BEST PHOTO PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTRY. Sorry, got excited there. He was so awesome he even helped found the Society for Photographic Education (and I am a proud member of said organization. Iconic.)

He’s one of those really cool dudes that you’d want to be friends with. From what I understand, he was a chill dude. Sadly, Heiknecken developed Alzheimer’s in 1994, and passed away in 2006. He’s still a boss.

That’s it for Heinecken. The next PotD will be Graciela Iturbide, so keep an eye out!

Happy Shooting!

Alice in Wonderland

For years, I’ve been wanting to create an Alice in Wonderland series. Like, since high school, when I was still taking pictures of flowers and clouds and shoes and railroad tracks (the usual rights of passage for young photographers.) But, I wouldn’t do it. I saw too many series that looked the same, and the world didn’t need one more copy. Then I saw Elena Kalis’ Alice in Wonderland series and threw my hands up in surrender. Because dang son.

It took me a while to come up with an idea I approved of, and, as you can guess because I’m writing about it, I did.

The idea involved a scanner, endless hours of torment and despair, a thorough search through my house for objects, a couple trips to the dollar store, a broken laptop, and sheer tenacity because honestly I wanted to throw in the towel so many times that if I did there would be enough towels for everyone at the local YMCA. That’s a lot of towels.

I started working on these in October, I had ten finished mid-November, and over my holiday break from school I completed them.

So here have some scanography:

Scanography Alice in Wonderland Series, my friends.

This was a fun deviation away from my work on dreams without actually deviating away from my work on dreams. Lemmie explain: Alice’s adventures were dreams. TADA. Also, all of my models have their eyes closed, which has an open interpretation. Are they dreaming of these characters? Are they these characters? Dude, who knows. I’m not tellin’.

I had the idea to make this series in 2012, after I did a self-portrait similar to the style of these images. I wanted to take objects that reminded me of the lovable characters, scan them, and piece them together as collages. I used my friends, and did my best to match up each person to each character. I have a feeling my friend Megan is going to kill me for making her the Mock Turtle.

Having read the books and watched many different movie versions, I had a lot of material to work with. It’s no wonder I was able to make these, considering all the resource material I had at my disposal.

There are three more I’d like to make, but the characters are a little more difficult to find objects that match them. Any guesses as to who is missing?

This past year or so has taught me that patience is amazing. More than once this year I accomplished a photo shoot that I had in mind a year or more, but didn’t execute because I either didn’t have the materials and needed to slowly accumulate them or I felt I didn’t have the skill set. I’m pretty impatient at times, but this year has proven to me that good things come to those that wait. So, don’t give up on an idea. Put it up on a shelf for a while for when you’re ready to revisit it.

Happy Shooting!

The Window Sticker of Epic Lisa Frank Proportions (Ft. Snow White’s Animal Companions)

One of my most recent assignments involved creating a 2’x5′ window sticker. Okay, maybe window sticker isn’t the fine art term, but really, it’s a giant sticker. It was a cool project because it forced me to think about the installation space, i.e. what was outside the window.

Since I’m graduating soon, I’ve been forced to deal with the inevitability of real life. I’ll be leaving my easy-going life behind and take a step out into the scary real world. Talk about pressure. That’s the concept that was following me while creating this piece. It hung on my shoulders while scouring the library for books on the planet earth and trees and animals for scanning purposes. It kept nudging me, reminding me that even though NASA has free images of galaxies available on their site, I have to get my head out of the clouds and watch where I’m going when I walk across the stage this May. Thanks a bunch, future.

But my sticker looks like Lisa Frank made it, so there’s that.

Doesn’t my future look awfully snowy? I’ll take that as a good omen of getting into a graduate school program in the north (which is where all the schools I applied to are located–yay!)

Installing the sticker was easier than I thought it would be, especially because I had the assistance of my lovely boyfriend. Doesn’t he look great on that ladder? I think so, too.

My little animal friends in the corner of the doorway are funny. When asked about them, prompted with, “Are they representative of the people in your life?” I responded eloquently, “They’re just my animal friends. Kinda like Snow White.”

If I had a re-do button, I would go back to say that the animals are reminiscent of childlike innocence. These are the last few months of my life where I get to hold on to whats left on that in my life (and not metaphorically– artists do have the luxury of holding onto the creativity childhood brings, so at least there’s that.) So, my animal friends, my childhood innocence, is seeing me out the door. How’s that for concept?

That’s all for my animal friends and I for now. Go make a window sticker or something.

Happy Shooting!

Teeny Tiny Photography

I took pictures with a microscope. Check it out:

For a class, we used these USB microscope cameras (I guess you can get them on amazon,) to, y’know, take macro images of objects. Granted, you could probably do this with a really nice macro lens or filter, but c’mon, every now and then us artist types want to feel smart, and nothing says smart quite like a microscope (okay, totally not the case, but just work with me here.)

I went into my jewelry box and went to town and found all the shiny glittery things, because light refracting off of glitter or iridescent surfaces thrills me (I’m a simple person, sue me for liking pretty things.)

But, if you’re a little less superficial than I am, maybe you’ll enjoy these images more:

These are the photos taken with my group mates. I mostly fixed the slides and they took the photos, but they are really neat. From top left to bottom right, the images are: film, dyed kim tissue, dyed onion, blood, dyed carrot, heat fixed and dyed inside of the cheek stuffs.

Inside of the cheek stuffs- really scientific, I know.

Dat magnification, am I right?

If you’re interested in science and photography and cheap microscopes, get one of these and make slides of all sorts of things!

Happy Shooting!

January’s Photos, Year Two

Last January, I decided enough was enough and started to carry a camera with me wherever I went. It seems like that would be common sense, considering my passion for photography, but too many times I had missed a picture perfect opportunity because I didn’t have a camera with me. So, for the past year, I’ve been carrying my Fuji Natura Classica around, mostly searching for instances of beautiful light.

I’m going for round two, since I rather enjoyed this minor project. Some photographer somewhere said that photography teaches you how to see without a camera. Let’s go with that. So yeah. That’s what’s going on.

I’m not going to say anything about my life this past month and let my photos relay a story about how my life is more awesome than it actually is. Just piece them together. I’m really really cool– I mean, I have a lava lamp, that must mean I’m rad.

Happy Shooting!

Colors of London

So remember when I was in London, oh, five-ish months ago (oh goodness it’s been that long?) Well, y’all know I made a few bodies of work, and y’all also know that I’ve kinda released a couple of said bodies of work a bit after my trip. Well guess what? I have more for you, and it was the series I created that I was looking the most forward to.

Here are my Colors of London:

I decided in spring 2013 that I was going to study in London the summer of 2014. Once my mind was set, I got to brainstorming, and this series was the first one that came to mind. I told my friend and model, Becca, about it and she was like “HeCk YeS!” and so we spent a couple months going back and forth on who was going to bring what color shirts. Ah, the logistics.

Then we spent a couple of days doing marathons around the city of London to get photos. Man, we were tired. Bless Becca for the craziness of those couple of days. Bless bless bless.

Yeah, not entirely sure what the nailpolish and thread and other embellishing is all about, but it was the idea that I had so I just kinda went with it. And the random words? Those are parts of Henry James short stories/novels. Let me tell you, it was a fun time trying to find the word “orange” in his work. Also, the word “teal” wasn’t used as a color in the English language until after 1920– the more you know, I guess?

We studied James in my classes abroad, so those are sort of relevant. And, when you read all the photos one after the other, you get a fun little narrative that has nothing to do with the images. Because I like messing with people.

Happy Shooting!