My Take: Wk 5 Uses of Photography

In this week’s tute we watched ‘Finding Vivian Maier,’ a documentary made by John Maloof, about a woman who practiced photography during her time working for forty years as a nanny. Something that I found both endearing and troubling about her character was how much she reminded me of people that I know in my daily life. Both her struggles with mental illness and her sense of self, however much she concealed it from people, are things that I recognise in myself and many of my friends and peers.

I find this significant because since so  many of these peers are highly creative and productive, I can recognise that creative people often tend to seek creative and productive activities to cope with or stay in touch with their mental health.

For our upcoming Project Brief, Strangers with Stories, I am a little nervous just because it is a daunting thing to have to go up to total strangers and ask them about their lives and interests.

My Take: Wk4 Uses of Photography

For this week’s Project Brief, we had to submit 5 original photos imitating a photographer of our choice. I chose dance photographer Lois Greenfield and submitted some photography of my friend Ciara, a classical and contemporary dancer. I focused primarily on lighting, since Greenfield’s photography of dancers and figures are lit with soft, bright high key lighting that illuminates the subject perfectly in motion. My friends and I used our old high school’s media and photography room, and it took us a lot of trial and error to actually set up the lights and softboxes until we had Ciara perfectly lit. I then used Adobe Lightroom to complete that perfect, weightless airbrushed aesthetic. I focused mainly on bringing up Highlights until the white background was completely smooth and seamless, and so the subject lit up smoothly and prominently.

My Take: Uses of Photography Wk 3

Tuesday’s class focused on photo editing, using Adobe Lightroom. I only started using it at the start of this year for editing a photoshoot for a dancer friend of mine, and I think I like it more than Photoshop.

Photoshop feels like it deals in absolutes, and it gets very technical and there are so many things you can do with it. Too many for me, since normally I just want to fix up the lighting.

Lightroom’s functions are really straightforward, and just playing around with it is enough for me to develop my skills. Failing that, YouTube and Google are full of tutorials that I can use. I’m appreciating in this studio that I am given a lot of time to practice my skills, rather than faffing around for 3 hours on some theory that leaves me braindead after 15 minutes.

My Take: Uses of Photography Wk 2

This week, I did my presentation on Robert Mapplethorpe, an iconic and influential photographer and artist who worked in the 70s-80s. He came from a conservative family, and moved to New York as a young man where he met the soon to be renowned artist and musician Patti Smith. Mapplethorpe inspires me as an artist and creative soul because he was someone who loved to and endeavoured to work endlessly, whether it was on a new art medium or a new idea in his photography. His work in the 80s focused mainly on the developing gay and lesbian movement in America, at a time when homophobia and stigmatism against AIDs was growing quickly too. Much of his photography at that time, such as the iconic Self Portrait with Whip, explored ideas around S&M, sexuality and homosexuality. He died of AIDs in 1989, but his desire to challenge audiences and push boundaries in art inspires me to give myself my own challenges, in my work, art and other aspects of my career.

My Take: Uses of Photography Wk 1

Uni is back, and once again not super sure of what I’m doing half the time but that’s life. Got a way bigger focus on photography this semester: studio is Uses of Photography and I’m also in Photojournalism. That, and I’m doing a fair bit of work as a photographer doing parties and headshots for dancer/actor friends.

It’s interested doing photography as a media subject, since I’ve only done it before as an artistic subject. For UoP, it’s linking back into the significance of photos in media (social, etc.) and for Photojournalism theres a lot of focus on journalism and news, which oddly enough will be new for me.

For now, honing my technical skills in both these classes is an important factor for me. But being a media practitioner is the main focus that will be communicated and absorbed over the course of this semester.