Coming Up Oranges

I spent the past 10 days in the Washington DC area, visiting some friends. Of course, news of the inauguration of Donald Trump was everywhere. While I was gallivanting through the city, platforms were being set up. Roads were blocked. Police were everywhere. So many portable toilets.

And, of course, I took the opportunity to make some work. I always try to make a narrative when I travel some place, a little something that isn’t too deep and something I don’t have to explain or think too hard about. So, here, have a little narrative, in dishonor of my country:

Bless my homies Sean and Dana, for posing in really tourist-y style photos and letting me Photoshop oranges over your faces (even though I do love the ridiculous faces hiding under the fruit…)

The last image, of the swear-in, was taken from Google. I added the oranges, of course.

I also took out my Polaroid Sun600 and shot with the orange and black Impossible Project Film, to make some “orangescapes.”

I’m not happy with who we have as “president.” I’m actually terrified. I cried for a long time after the results came in, and not just because who I wanted didn’t win the election. I’m scared for my future, the future of my friends. I’m afraid my rights will be stripped from me, that I will be less than a citizen. I’m appalled that this nation elected a RAPIST to be our leader, and, quite frankly, when I see Donald’s face I feel sick to my stomach. And we have to survive the next four years, some how, some way.

Making art is part of my survival tactic. I’m in a position where I can do that– but do not get me wrong. This is not some romantic “suffering makes art” bullshit. This is my way of surviving. I’m not a martyr, I’m not making myself out to be some victim. I’m just trying to live, and the only way I know how is to create.

I also made tweets, because Donald loves to tweet. It’s like, the best, believe me.

So, there you have it. I hide behind humor to mask my pain.

Happy Shooting and Making and Hell Raising!

iPhoneography

Lately, I’ve been using my iPhone for daily photographic purposes. Because, you know, when you’re a photographer you see opportunities for a good photograph many, many times a day. Since phones nowadays have good quality, this makes the task easier. Anyone remember the sad quality of phone cameras just five years ago? Anyone?

I love editing apps. Some people hate them, and that’s fine, but I think they are missing out. It’s an elitist attitude to huff and puff how people these days think they are photographers because they go on Instagram and throw a filter on their food photo. Firstly– I haven’t really met anyone who thinks they are a photographer because of Instagram. Instagram is a wonderful tool, as it gets people thinking about taking photos. Who cares what they are of?

Plus, there are fabulous editing apps such at Afterlight, BeFunky, Lenslight, and Photoshop Express. I use these apps all the time to edit my iPhone photographs. I’ll be honest: I get real carried away with these apps, but I can’t help it. It’s so much fun.

A moment of silence for the ever growing collection of Titanic VHS tapes at the Salvation Army.

I used Afterlight for the light leak and dust effects. Shout out to Nick, who pointed this app out to me a couple years ago. It’s amazing and I never want to let it go.

Happy Shooting!

London at Sunset and Planet Parliament

Tonight I went on the London Eye. It was sundown. There is not much else to be said, as the pictures speak for themselves.

It was really spectacular. If you ever go to London in the summer months, go on the eye at about 9PM. It’s so worth your time to watch the sun go to sleep and see the city lights wake.

I also did a weird little editing thing. I made a planet. What? I made a planet? Whatever could I mean by that?

My friend Kaiden told me about this cool little trick. You should really see his planets on his Flickr page, as they are a lot more eloquent than mine.

I found a useful tutorial on how to make these things, which can be found here. This is something I want to experiment with some more, especially since I’m here in Europe and I have some cool scenery at my disposal. But, these are hard to make well, so I’m going to have to have a lot of trial and error before I’m happy with the results. C’est la vie, practice makes perfect, never give up and never surrender and all that jazz.

And with that, happy shooting and happy planet-making!

planetstonehenge

 

More Fictionisms

I have more photographs for my “Fictionisms” series. I’ve noticed the compositions are getting more complex as time goes on, which has its pros and cons. On the pro side, I’m getting better with Photoshop and the images look cool and they work with the lesser-complicated photographs. On the con side… Well, they’re taking longer to make and causing me more headache.

Here are images 8-12!

“The reader wants a handle on what’s going to happen in the story.”

“People don’t change. They reveal themselves.”

“Characters worth writing about are seen in ourselves.”

“You have to laugh at the world; if you don’t, it will crush you.”

“The wandering has to lead to something.”

That castle one took me FOREVER. I kept getting overwhelmed and had to take breaks. But, it’s over now!

I’m honestly getting worried over this project, since I have, what, 12 images and I need to have 25 total in two weeks? Granted, I have shoots lined up, but still… If these keep getting complicated, I don’t know what I’m going to do. But, alas, onward!

Things are getting intense, since the semester is coming to a close. Wish me luck as I get through my final projects in one piece!

Fictionisms

Project update!

I’m still auditing the Advanced Fiction Writing class, and the students have moved on to writing their own short stories. These images are created based off of constructive criticisms between the students and the professor. Whenever I hear someone say anything that catches my attention and gives me a strong visual, I write it down and plan a photograph.

In February, I passed around slips of paper that said, “In one to two sentences, please describe what you have learned about fiction writing thus far.” Most of the responses were pretty standard, like, “I learned to make my characters interesting,” or, “I learned that I shouldn’t put plot into dialogue.” I’m not sure what I was expecting, since my question was pretty standard, so it’s only fair the answers were as well. I’m going to pass slips around again, but first I need a more creative question to ask. The struggle continues.

I’m excited about my new images. My first five are still cool, but they were the blue print, the ground work to the rest of my project. I decided to implement letters in every photo as a means of connecting each crazy scene to the next. Since it is a series and since the pictures are going to get a little weird, the letters will remind the viewers that these pictures are about writing fiction.

“That’s precisely what reader’s do- they put a little bit of their life into the story.”

“We want our characters to be imagined versions of ourselves.”

“You don’t want to drive your reader out of the story; you want to keep them in.”

“Let it go where it’s gonna go.”

“You’re going to want to follow the branch.”

“Our language becomes a part of us; we become a part of our language.”

“There are times where you will think, ‘why me?'”

Seven down, eighteen more to go. Get pumped. My goal is to have all of these done by the second week in April. Yikes. I hope to have some more colorful images- they’re starting to become monochromatic, but I’m going to push against that.

I’ve been using the studio lights to photograph each person, and that’s working out extraordinarily well. It gives me more control, a lower ISO, and a light source that I can base my image around. I think this is an improvement from my five previous photos. Thank goodness I happened to take my studio lighting class the same semester I’m working on this project!

Well, that’s all for now. This project is far from done, so keep an eye out for more!

A Project Involving Lettuce

Yepp. You read that right.

I’m in a class called photography workshop, and the object of the course is to do research with a professor outside of the art department, and create a body of work based on that research.

I’m researching the English department. I know what you’re thinking… “But lettuce has nothing to do with English! What are you talking about you crazy person!?”

Just hear me out.

I had to have images for class this week, but I didn’t have enough research together to start shooting seriously. This was kind of sprung on me, but I had a funny idea already in the works, after the professor I was auditing told his class a true story about a woman who ate nothing but lettuce. I took notes.

Now, what I’m really doing is auditing an Advanced Fiction Writing class. I’m interested in finding trends in college-aged writing, and I’m exploring the phrase, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” The students aren’t writing yet, they’re just reading short stories and essays to learn how to write. I’ve been taking notes on what they think makes a good story, and I’ve been jotting down some of the things the professor says. Like the story about lettuce.

So, I made a picture about lettuce, because I had to do something. I also made a few other images, based solely on the things the professor says. He creates awesome visuals with his words. While I’m waiting for the students to start writing, I can create images based off of his words of wisdom… and stories about an austere woman and her lettuce.

Here are some images based off of quotes from the professor:

“That’s precisely what reader’s do- they put a little bit of their life into the story.”

“Don’t put your thumb in the pan.”

“Our language becomes a part of us; we become a part of our language.”

AUSTERE: A woman who eats nothing but lettuce and lectures people on how they should do the same.

“Fifty years ago, people never would have thought we would become the robots they talked about.”

The images are Photoshop heavy and they come across as collages. I’m not sure how I feel about this aesthetic, but it’s what I’m working with right now. Since I have to create a final body of work using my research as source material, I think my final results will be something similar to this, but more refined. I’d like to keep the unrealistic elements that Photoshop allows me to implement, but I want to have some realism as well.

I’m not sure what my subjects are going to be. I have a few possibilities… I could continue with this theme, creating outrageous visuals for simple quotes. Another idea is collaborating with the fiction writing students to create an image that compliments their story that they write. I also have the idea of perhaps doing my own writing to supplement a photograph, perhaps a 1000 word story and a picture to go with it. I have a few ideas I’m playing with, and I’m sure I’m going to fail a lot before I come up with something I enjoy.

I’m looking forward to seeing the end result. I’ll be posting more about this project as I work on it, so stay tuned!

 

There once was an under-saturated girl living in an over-saturated world.

Image

There once was an under-saturated girl living in an over-saturated world. She loved the colors around her, but she was melancholy because she didn’t possess the amazing technicolor array herself.

She was painfully aware each and everyday of her inadequate hues in comparison to the lively ones around her. Why couldn’t she just get those colors on her own? Why didn’t she just become a spectrum of tye-dye? Didn’t she know that she was an eye sore to the rest of the world?

 

These thoughts plagued her each and everyday. Comments like, “Well, why don’t you just saturate?” and “You know, standing there being those bleak-colors isn’t going to change anything. You should really stop feeling sorry for yourself and go get some color in you,” were constantly thrown in her direction. But no matter how hard she tried, nothing changed. She tried saturating, but it didn’t work. She tried to stop feeling sorry for herself, but it didn’t bring the color back.

She was going to give up. She figured, “Why should I stay in a bright, happy-colored world when I am just a bleak and unsightly eye-sore? All I do is ruin the scenery. There’s no place for me here! I should just go and end all the trouble I’ve caused. And, I won’t have to feel so inadequate anymore…”

Just before she was ready to leave her world forever, she looked around one last time. She looked at the trees and the way they caught the opalescent light. She ran her pale, under-saturated hands through the grass and half-smiled, as if she could feel the colors beneath her palms, radiating in magenta, lime, cyan. She noticed her pale skin against the violet blades.

That’s when she had a realization.

Her under-saturation wasn’t a bad thing that needed to be changed. In fact, it was a gift: if she was over-saturated, how would she be able to appreciate the beautiful colors around her? They would all blend in. They wouldn’t look as bright and wonderful as they did to her in this moment. She was as spectacular as the world around her.

ImageI did this shoot today with one of my best friends. Her back yard is filled with trees and paths and other interesting nature-y things (like mosquitoes…) and when I saw her backyard a few weeks ago on a prior visit I demanded to come back (I mean, I kind of asked for permission… kind of…)

Admittedly, I completely winged it today. I had this scarf with all these different fabric scraps (pictured above) and figured I’d just work with that. Then, when I got home and started editing and got frustrated, I started playing around with the saturation and- voila! My idea hatched.  Sometimes a shoot that you don’t think is going to turn out well becomes something fun and interesting.