Mr WordPress on First Assignment
Based on the film we watched in class about Shelby Lee Adams, how is photographic representation influenced by context? How was this demonstrated in the film, and how about your own portraiture work?
Similar to everyday life, context is also present in photographs. Context is the background information, set of circumstance, or facts that surround a particular event or situation. Although context is not something that viewers usually consider when looking at a photo, it subconsciously influences the way the photo is seen and understood. Knowing the background or story prior to viewing a photograph may drastically change the way a viewer later sees that photo. If one is unaware of the context, then they are left to make their own assumptions as to what was happening in the photo prior to it being taken.
Many photo critics disapprove of Shelby Lee Adams’ work stating that he is exploiting the people he photographs. Adams defends him self by stating that he grew up in similar situations and understands the context and culture of these people, whereas as others may not. He states that he photographs in a culture that he came from, he takes pictures of his friends whom he loves and cares about, and he photographs people and situations as they are, nothing is staged. Adams continues his point by saying that he will not ignore a photographic opportunity just because the situation may fit a stereotype or be similar to a cartoon, such as the elderly lady with a pipe in her mouth. Shelby Lee understands the context in which he is photographing; however, the viewers of his photos may not due to many reasons and are therefore interpreting his photos out of context and critiquing them through those misleading interpretations.
The same can be assumed with my own work. For example when viewing my portraits one may interpret them just as they seem, however, if they knew the context in which the photo was taken, their views may drastically change.
Reflect on what
1. How do you see Me?
2. How do I see Myself?
3. How would I want to be seen?
Could mean in photography? Have you encountered a situation where any of these questions have come up before? What surprised you when you began to do this assignment? Were there unexpected advantages or disadvantages to working with a model/subject?
The way that my model answered was:
- Strong and confident
- The way I see him is as a cook
- The way he wants to be seen is as a very successful person
Answering these questions in the context of photography was interesting because most people do not think about how they see themselves often. Usually it is easier to ask someone how they see you or you think of how you see other people. In this assignment the model was asked to answer how they see themselves, and were able to see that characteristic being embodied later in the photo.
Questions such as the way we see people come up often, however the ones about the way we see our selves or want to be seen, show to be a bit more difficult to answer. In this assignment those tough subjects were approached in a fun way.
I was surprised by how difficult it actually was to think of poses and background scenes in order to create the desired effect, while keeping our photo vocab in mind. I thought that it would be much easier and it proved to be quite difficult since I was working with an actual person as opposed to an object which I could position any way that I want.
The advantage of having a model is that you can tell them to do exactly what it is you want to show, however at the same time that is a disadvantage because your model may not understand your vision and therefore may fail to show your thoughts.
1. I would say that the Blue 5 now looks the best in regards to color balance. Although, there is not a huge difference between the original and the blue 5 photo.
2. This test has showed me that through color balance I can further enhance my photo in order to make it look as close to the way that the objects shot look naturally.
1. Why would we use a white object?
2. Which EV works better for…
White objects on white?
White on black?
Black on Black?
1. White colored objects are the hardest to capture because cameras are programmed to shoot at an average exposure which creates a gray like color. Shooting white objects helps us understand the variation of exposure as well as better learn how to manipulate our cameras in order to create the ultimate exposure in each photograph.
2. Under regular circumstances I know that I would have to compare the below measurements with the original ones in order to figure out the Exposure Value, however in this case I did not have the original photos. Due to that, I just posted the shutter speed and aperture.
Black on white objects: 1/50 and 8;
Black on Black: 1/30, 7.1 and 1/40, 5.6
White on White 1/40, 8
The terms I chose are Variety and Balance.
Variety, in regards to an element of designed is best created when elements are changed. Repeating the shape but changing the size is one way to create variety. “Variety refers to a similar class of subject that is somehow diverse or different” (Robert Hirsch, 39). “Keeping the same size, but changing the color can also give variety” (Goshen.edu) A great example of variety is the photo by Cartagena Gonzalez. Gonzalez illustrates the same type of home in a variety of colors.
Balance “is the visual weight or equilibrium of the objects within a composition. Balance is instinctive and determined by imagining a center axis running through the picture plane with the expectation that there will be some equal distribution of visual weight on either side” (Robert Hirsch, 44). A great example is the photo by Vito Acconci.
Both images were selected from the Museum of Contemporary Photography collection (MOCP.com).