Thursday, December 11, 2008

Through My Window

I have a lot of open topic assignments where I have to do something technical with my photographs but the subject matter is 100% up to me. For the better part of two weeks I kept imagining a lamp sitting against a blank wall with the shade off exposing the harp (that metal part that holds the shade up) and the light on but the chord being unplug.

My school focuses most of its curriculum on commercial photography as opposed to fine art or conceptual work. It's not a bad thing and the latter is more than welcome in the school, it just doesn't happen as often as I think I might personally like. I think I usually envision things as concepts rather than what we might see in reality and that's what happened in this project. I like conceptual work because it allows the viewer to render their own interpretation of the piece. Also, when I talk to other people about my work, they can see something in it that I never intended to be there which opens my eyes to my own preconceptions.

For me electricity is a powerful thing that I don't think about every day. I think about the amount of energy it takes to light a city and how someone's stopped heart can beat again by a surge of electricity. I also go to thinking where all that energy comes from and it all begins with nature. Those thoughts led me to this image that I created where the lamp is being powered by the sky around it.

For the technical part of the assignment I had created a sepiaesque color palette. The technique was started by Sean Duggan ( -He and Katrin Eismann write some amazing books on Photoshop techniques). It combines desaturated color aspects of the scene with selected elements in sepia. I'll be honest, when I first heard about it I wasn't too excited. However, once I actually dove in and started using it on some of my own images I really began to see how it can make an impact on the right image.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Warning: Do not use for unintended purposes

There's a program out there called Photomatix that is used to make HDR photos like house image I took in Fairplay, Co. The program takes several photos of different exposures but of the same shot and merges them together for the purposes of giving detail in highlights and shadows that one wouldn't be able to capture in a single image. For the program to work properly its important that all the images line on top of one another as Photomatix doesn't know to rotate or orient them. But what happens when you use a program for something other than its intended purposes?

I took 5 photographs of a set of stairs at different angles and merged them into an HDR image and this is what it came up with. I like how the stairs begin to form a circular pattern and the greenish swirls on the surface. It looks like its starting to burn or that layers of the photo are being peeled away.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Identity Crisis

In my first attempts at photo compositing I was inspired by idea of identity and what it means to be part of a society and what it means to be an individual.

My inspiration for the first photo happened while the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was happening in Denver. Everywhere I went all I saw were black town cars with tinted windows and some guy in a suit driving other men in suits around. It felt like a scene out of the matrix as my vision of corporate and political identity, or lack there of, surfaced in the form of a photograph.

The subject and background are two separate shots and composited to look artificial and unnatural to match the concept.

Songs and stories by other people can give rise to inspiration to other artists. When assigned a project to create a photo from a song, I chose one called Daedalus by the band Thrice. A true testament to this continual artist inspiration the song is about the story Icarus and his father, Daedalus, who are trapped in a labyrinth (built by Daedalus) and their efforts to escape on wings made of feathers and wax.

In my translation, I dressed my subject in a plain white t-shirt and jeans to represent a common individual and set the scene in a city scape that can literally and figuratively act as a labyrinth. We as members of a society, a group, the human race, much like Icarus, sometimes try to escape societal expectations and boundaries in hopes of establishing an individual identity.

The cityscape, sky and subject are three separate shots.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fairplay, Co

While taking a weekend away from the city life and heading up to the mountains with some friends we decided to check out the town of Fairplay, Co. A small town that was once called South Park City has a gated off tourist section of old buildings that we couldn't get into as it closes around October each year.

Trying to find some lunch, I was a passenger in the back seat of the car when I saw this purple and yellow house. Caught by the uniqueness of the house I asked my friend to pull over so I could take some photos. Shot in Camera RAW I changed the exposures to make an HDR photo from a ditch. And used another HDR image for the clouds to add depth to the scene.

Pulling over, holding up lunch and trekking through ditches...some people will do anything for a photo.


I was giving an photojournalism assignment to go hunt out a feature story; something other than news or a "slice of life." After wandering around the Auraria Campus in Denver for a while I came across these construction workers ending their day. I like how they're all easily identifiable with their florescent vests and coolers and they're caught in a moment but obviously walking away.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Step One: Aspire to be a Visionary

With the continuing advancement of technology, people's interaction with the world and each other has strayed from the use of words to that of images. It then becomes a challenge as photographer to 1. Do something unique and 2. Produces images that will have an impact on people.

I had an instructor while at the Metropolitan State College of Denver who told myself and a room full of pseudo (student) photographers, to say about the world we live in today. Photos are history records and tools to convey a message or feeling to the viewer. I don't consider myself a commercial photographer, a photojournalist, a portrait photographer and any kind of specialist photographer just yet. I don't know which aspect will capture my interest full heartedly, but I do I hope that my images say something about what's going on around me. As for now, I'm earning a bachelor's degree in photography from the Art Institute of Colorado, making one photo at a time and aspiring to be a visionary.

"What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time, he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war." -Pablo Picasso