Monday, March 4, 2013

Urban Elements

The psyche of the city has its very own complex and fascinating perspective. Urban areas create an impressive mixture of personalities, and I attempted to express this in my photographic series entitled "Urban Elements". Utilizing the versatility and vibrant persona of my model, Breanna Demont, I captured just a few of the lively dimensions of the urban lifestyle. By placing her own unique and inspirational style in the Santa Fe Art district of Denver, I demonstrated some of the bits and pieces of what makes urban areas so oddly beautiful.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cindy Sherman

                                             Photograph of Cindy Sherman by Mark Seliger

Untitled Film Still #56, Cindy Sherman
"I think people are more apt to believe photographs, especially if it's something fantastic. They're willing to be more gullible. Sometimes they want fantasy. Even if they know it's fake they can believe anything. People are accustomed to being told what to believe in." ~Cindy Sherman
Untitled Film Still #13, Cindy Sherman

Untitled #424, Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is an American photographer born on January 19, 1954 in New Jersey. Her relationship with art started with painting and progressed to photography as she found painting too limiting. Although she failed an introductory photography course at Buffalo State College, she retook the course and became quickly involved in the world of contemporary art. She is most well known for her photographic series which feature her as the main subject. These portraits often show her in a variety of dramatic clothing and makeup that she selects herself and then models and shoots herself. For most of these portraits she often must take on the mentality of an actress in order to portray a persona completely different from her own. She has created a large variety of works that have often been seen as calling into question the role of women in society, yet she does not personally view her intentions as predominantly feminist per say. A monumental accomplishment for her as a photographer was when her 69-photograph series of "Untitled Film Stills" was completed in 1980 and bought in 1995 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for approximately one million dollars.She was also awarded a MacArthur Fellowship of $500,000 for 5 years in 1995, which is a tremendous feat for an artist.  In a few of her photographic series she will occasionally remove herself as the main subject, such as in her 1989 Sex series where she utilized mannequins posed in a somewhat graphic and dramatic manner. In 2003 and 2004 she created the Clowns set, which involved extravagant makeup and a variety of colorful backgrounds. This work can also be related to her 2011 partnership with the makeup company MAC, where she used MAC makeup in an eye-catching and creative way to create a similar clown look. Needless to say, her photographs are very creative and dynamic and are excellent illustrations of the her unique talent as an artist.

Untitled A-E, Cindy Sherman

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Evolving Relationship with Photography

For the past few years, photography has developed into a passion and a bit of an obsession of mine. I have passed many milestones to reach my current skill level, but the beauty of photography is that it is a never-ending process filled with challenges of reflection and self-improvement. Throughout the duration of this course in Paris and London, I was constantly pushing myself to live in the moment while capturing it as effectively as possible. At the same time, I was delighted to befriend my peers and have the ability to document our journey together. I found myself shift throughout the course from being focused primarily on photographing interesting landscape to becoming captivated with the human subject. Photography became an interesting means to connecting with my peers as we were often one another's best subjects. In reflection, the photographs of the people I know are far more meaningful to me now than any beautiful landscape. This was an wonderful trip which left me feeling more evolved as a photographer and a human being. I have seen an exciting maturation in my photographs as they are much more skillfully executed as well as thoughtful. I look forward to the memories I will capture on film in the future, and the times I will undoubtedly look through these photographs fondly. The final photography assignment was "A Day in Your Life", and the photographs can be seen at:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Psychological Differences Between the Same Subject, Painted and Photographed

There are a number of obvious and not so obvious differences across varying art modes such as painting and photography. All of these differing factors would have an influential role in determining the psychological mindset of the subject, and ultimately how they may be perceived through the final work of art. The first would be the skill set of the artist, as well as their ultimate vision for what they want to portray. The artist has the power to control everything from how the subject is posed to how the subject interacts with the artist, and this process would greatly differ from photography to painting. The second factor would be the actual personality and physical characteristics of the subject. Photography is a much easier method to give a realistic depiction of how someone looks, which may be intimidating or more liberating depending on the perspective of the artist and subject. Painting is also generally a more time-consuming project requiring attention to detail, but also allowing for more artistic liberties as the image can be manipulated and changed at will. The time commitment and ability to stray from reality has the potential to influence the temperament of the subject, which could perhaps be seen in the final product. From my personal experience, my subjects relationship with the camera is increasingly comfortable in proportion to how comfortable my subjects are with me. That is to say, strangers are often very distant and wary of the camera, and good friends are at ease and playful with the camera, and this can clearly be seen in my photographs. Please refer to the following link to see some examples of this in today's assignment of "A Sense of Time and Place":

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Photographers' Gallery

Men & Women. A superb mixture of photographic styles, photographer Tom Wood has created a wonderful exhibition within the Photographers' Gallery. The room is neatly divided in half between diverse snapshots of men and women, each photograph reaching out to tell its own unique story. As I circled the room, I searched for the meaning behind each subject, their setting, their personality, and what Mr. Wood may have been trying to show through his images.
I am drawn to several photographs for a variety of peculiar reasons, but the one that was immediately imprinted onto my memory was a simple black and white photograph of a women with a potentially complex story. The woman is a bit older, and the photograph is a portrait taken in what is presumably her home, which would heighten the intimacy of the photograph. First off, I absolutely love black and white photographs as they strike me as more classic, and seem to miraculously cast everybody in a flattering light. This woman has clearly defined wrinkles, is not smiling, seems slightly exhausted with her hand on her hip, but she is stunning. Her eyes look straight into the camera and she holds herself in an entirely composed manner that suggests she has lived enough life to know she has nothing to prove to anybody else. This is the exact kind of photograph I am personally striving to achieve, as human beings are the most fascinating and diverse type of subject available. I like the idea of taking a single moment from daily life, either candid or posed, and capturing that in a simple and effective way for others to interpret. The photography assignment for today was "The Human Street", so please refer to the following link to see my attempt at capturing the human existence which surrounds me:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Letter to William Henry Fox Talbot

Dear William Henry Fox Talbot, What a lovely home you have. Due to the nature of this course, we of course had to stop by Lacock Abbey to see THE window, I hope you don't mind. You have become famous for your invention of the calotype process, and the oldest photographic negative in existence was developed by you at that exact window we got to visit today- incredible. Photography has evolved into an irreplaceable component of life as we know it, and you are one of the founding fathers of this beautiful form of expression; words cannot express my gratitude. Life slips away at a terrifying rate, but there is comfort in having the ability to capture and solidify these moments in a photograph. Although photography has changed quite a bit from the way you knew it, we are now more able to capture and alter images in any way we want. Photography has become more than a hobby for me, it is now a very personal and therapeutic way for me to express myself and reflect on the beauty of my surroundings. For everything, and more than I could ever say with just words, thank you. Sincerely, Vanessa

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Journey, so far

Reflections on the journey from Wednesday, November 21 to Wednesday, November 28... In a desperate attempt to shake the horribly ill feeling caused by my last night in Paris I got a table for one at Pizza Hut this evening. I have never felt more American. Embarrassing as it may be, this was the perfect opportunity to take some time to myself and reflect over everything that has happened thus far. This has been a surreal journey full of irreplaceable experiences and surprising life lessons. I could not have asked for a more perfect group of peers to travel and share these experiences with. To put it briefly, I have played in the Gardens of Versailles, indulged in French wine and pastries, learned not to make eye contact with gypsies, gotten lost in the Cemetery of Piere-Lachaise, toasted a glass of champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower, played with shutter speed at the Sacre Coeur, discovered inspiration and beauty from every little bit of the city, and taken an absurd amount of photographs every step of the way. I have discovered a very artistic and curious side of myself and cannot wait to live in Paris at some point in my life and pick up right where I left off. Truly, Paris, je t'aime.