Monday, May 23, 2011

Photographer Presentation: The Lumière Brothers

     The Lumière Brothers, Auguste and Louis, were born in France in 1862 and 1864. They both attended La Martiniere, the largest technical school in Lyon, and they worked for their father's photographic firm. Auguste worked as a manager and Louis worked as a physicist. Louis made a number of improvements to the still-photograph process, the most notable of which was the dry-plates process. This process was a huge step in the creation of cinematography and the brothers are credited with being among the earliest filmmakers in history.
   However, their experimentation with cinematography was brief as they stated that "the cinema is an invention without any future." From that they moved into color photography and in 1903 they patented a process known as the "Autochrome Lumière."
How meaningful would photography be without the ability to choose color?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cultural Event: University of Denver Spring Powwow

  On Saturday, May 21, 2011 the Native Student Alliance at the University of Denver held their spring powwow "New beginnings." The event was held outdoors on Driscoll green and was a smashing success. Our original intention was to have Grand entry be at noon and then have things wrap up at around dusk. However, the Law School had their graduation on the same day and wanted to use Driscoll green at the same time as us. Despite the fact NSA had booked the area months in advance we allowed them to use the area until one when we rescheduled Grand Entry.  
As part of NSA I had to be there at around 10 to help start getting things set up. It was already turning out to be a warm and sunny day and I could feel the energy in the air. By the time I got there there were already several vendors setting up their tents and tables. I started helping some of the more elderly vendors move their stuff from their cars to the grass and also moving tables and chairs for the vendors to use. It started getting busier and busier as more and more people showed up and the vendor I was most excited to see was Tocabe. Tocabe is an American Indian eatery and is one of the only places I have found in the Denver to get decent frybread. As a volunteer I got a free voucher for Tocabe and I would say I definitely put it to good use.
There were about seven drum groups and twenty-five vendors that showed up in total, which I think is a really good amount. Unfortunately there were not too many dancers as the Denver Indian Center was having another powwow on the same day (yet again we had scheduled and publicized ours months in advance). However, the dancers that did show up looked wonderful and it made me proud that we were sharing our Native heritage with the DU community. I am always disappointed with the lack of the DU community's participation during cultural heritage events, but a decent amount of people outside of the Native community showed up. NSA received a lot of positive feedback from the event which makes me excited to work on possible events like this in the future!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cultural Event: "A Family Affair"

     On May 20, 2011 I attended a cabaret show held by the Lamont School of Music in the Frederic C. Hamilton Family Recital Hall at the University of Denver. Going into the show I had no idea what a cabaret actually was, and I was only attending because my suitemate Cecilie Nygaard was performing in the show and I knew she would do a wonderful job! I was expecting an exotic dance routing with flamboyant outfits and mainly women. However, a cabaret is actually an entertaining show full of song, dance, and even comedy.
     The show, entitled "A Family Affair," was directed by Catherine Kasch and it was composed of an assortment of musical numbers taken from shows such as West Side Story and Rent. The program stated that the show was "Broadway's version of a family portrait" and in total there were twenty-two songs. All of the music had some relation to family and all of the relationships that exist in the family unit. The cast had a good mixture of both male and female voices and I was impressed with the amount of talent that exists within the music school. The costumes and set were kept fairly simple with everyone in all black and few props being used, but the simplicity of the show worked towards its benefit. The focus was kept on their voices and the message they were trying to get across through music. My favorite number was undoubtedly Mamma Mia! which was sung by the entire cast and involved the most coordinated dance routine. There was so much life and energy put into this number I could not help but smile and feel proud that I knew someone in the show.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Final Project: The blurb book

Here is the link to preview the blurb book I made for the final project in the personal histories of photography class:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Movie Response: "What the Bleep Do We Know!?"

     For a little taste of "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" check out the trailer above!
This documentary is thought provoking to say the least. The plot of the movie basically follows a female photographer who is deaf and is struggling with deep internal issues that mostly arise from finding out her husband was having an affair. Throughout the movie there are a number of people who I assume are professionals in their field who discuss a variety of topics from quantum physics to spirituality as they start to relate to the point this photographer is at in her life journey.

     It was completely different from what I expected and actually made me question a great deal about what I have always believed to be "facts." I did not necessarily buy into everything they were talking about but I was able to understand that perhaps the way I perceive things and the way I have been taught to think may not necessarily be one hundred percent correct. I truly do not believe that anything is purely black and white, but there are always gray areas when it comes to "facts." Human knowledge is ever-changing and every day there are new discoveries and progresses being made. In truth these the ideas that were put into this movie seemed more like a shade of possibility rather than absolute truth. Yet again though, I had to ask myself what exactly absolute truth is. Every idea mankind has ever had has come from the human mind which is incredible, yes, but in no way perfect. 

 Question is: How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cultural Event: The Gathering of Nations

     On Friday, April 29, 2011 two Indians took a long trip to go to a powwow =) Viki Eagle (a fellow Native and photographer) and I left Denver on that Friday afternoon to head to the Land of Enchantment, more specifically, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Every year around this time the biggest powwow in the whole nation known as "The Gathering of Nations" is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico and any Native who can gather up the funds for it heads that way. The Gathering of Nations was being held at the newly renovated Pit at the University of New Mexico on both Friday and Saturday. However, due to the insanely high price of admission we decided to go see Grand Entry just on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Since I'm from Albuquerque I was ecstatic to be going back home to my own bed and to hang out with more brown people. I naturally had to take Viki to all of my favorite New Mexican restaurants and this could be considered a cultural event in itself. I do believe I got her hooked on everything from Golden Pride breakfast burritos to Blake's Lotaburger.
     Anyways, back to the powwow. We took Friday night to rest from our 6 and a half hour journey and get ready for the day ahead of us. We tried to make it to Grand Entry at noon but unfortunately I forgot to account for crowded parking and long lines to get in. We made it inside for the tail end of Grand Entry and it was mindblowing to see the entire floor overflowing with Natives eager to dance, and not all of them could even fit on the dance floor. Viki told me that a lot of dancers actually choose to not participate in the Gathering because they are afraid their feathers will get plucked from dancing too close together.
This is a small sample of how tightly packed the dancers are

     The entire thing is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. We tried to find a seat but we kept being ushered along by the crowd so we eventually decided to go check out the Indian Market that was being held in a tent outside. The Indian Market is generally where a ton of Native vendors sell their goods from jewelry to paintings. I'm always really drawn to what the vendors are selling but I know they are generally marked up for the Gathering of Nations. Once we made rounds and checked everything out we decided it was time to go outside for some good old-fashioned Native frybread. This is hands down the most deliciously fatty treat on the planet. The food is also super overpriced at the Gathering, and not going to lie I am super disappointed I paid $6 for a piece of frybread I could have made at home, but hey! It's all part of the experience. While standing in line for the frybread I swear I saw the actress who plays Pocahontas in the movie version with Colin Farrell. I thought she was someone I knew at first so I did the awkward wave thing where I realized I didn't personally know her so I was naturally just fanning myself because it was really hot outside.
I wouldn't lie about this. It was totally her.

After frybread and celebrity sightings (we also saw the hottest Native woman of 2010, psh) we decided to sit and watch the dances for awhile. I was really enjoying myself but unfortunately after 3 hours of drumming and fighting the crowds I got exhausted. I left feeling satisfied but wishing I could return. The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the Albuquerque experience! I was really pleased with the whole thing and Viki was the best powwow buddy I could have asked for!

Monday, April 11, 2011

History of Photography Survey

The image above if the first known photograph in the world, taken by Nicephore Niepce in 1825. Photography has a long and complicated history full of major contributions from a number of people. Here are a few key terms and people who shaped the early history of photography.

Camera Obscura: Camera Obscura translates as "dark room" and this is basically an invention which uses a box with a hole in one side to create a projection of an image. This was one of the earlier inventions which led to the creation of photography.

Johann Heinrich Schultz (silver salts): Johann Heinrich Schultz (1687-1744) was a German professor who discovered that when certain silver salts come into contact with light they darken. Even though the silver salts continue to darken unless protected from the light this discovery laid the groundwork for the creation of fixed images.

Thomas Wedgewood (sun prints): Thomas Wedgewood (1771-1805) created what are known as "sun prints" in the 1790's. He experimented with shining light on objects soaked with silver nitrate in order to change their chemicals and create outlines of the object. However, he was unable to fix the images so they would ultimately deteriorate.

Nicephore Niepce: Nicephore Niepce (1765-1833) was a French inventor who is most widely known for creating the first photograph in 1825. He developed the first photographic process known as "heliography," which made him an early pioneer of photography.

Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre: Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre (1787-1851) is most widely known for his creation of the daguerrotype process, which he patented in 1839. This process is created with mercury and silver on a copper plate. His process came after working with Niepce for a number of years and the French government actually released it to the public stating that it was a gift "Free to the world."

William Henry Fox Talbot
: William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) was a British inventor who is attributed with the invention of the calotype process, which he was able to patent in 1841. This is the process which modern photographic processes stem from. He is also known for helping shift photography into an artistic medium.

Hill and Adamson: David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848) were a Scottish painter and photographer duo that put Talbot's photographic process to creative work in the 1840's. They are best known for their portraiture photography, most notably their photographs of working men an women in the fishing village of Newhaven, but they also did a lot of architecture and landscape photography.

Julia Margaret Cameron: Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was a British photographer most well known for her photographs of celebrities of the time, such as Charles Darwin. Her work was not widely appreciated in her time but has become an inspiration for later generations of photographers.

Felix Nadar (Gaspard-Felix Tournachon): Felix Nadar (1820-1910) was a French photographer who is known for taking the first aerial photographs with a camera. While working in the catacombs of Paris he also pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography.

Scott Archer (wet collodion): Frederick Scott Archer (1813-1857) is most well known for his creation of the photographic collodion process. This has a major advantage over the daguerrotype as one can create multiple prints from the plate negative. He died in poverty due to the fact that he never patented his process.

Dr. Richard Maddox
: Dr. Richard Maddox (1816-1902) was an English photographer who invented lightweight gelatin negative plates in 1871. He was also well known for his photomicrography, which involves using a microscope with a camera to photograph small organisms.

George Eastman (Kodak roll film): George Eastman (1854-1932) was an American inventor who invented roll film, which helped make photography a much more mainstream practice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sense of Place

When presented with the assignment to produce 5-10 images which demonstrated my personal understanding of "Sense of Place," I wanted to reflect the place that I am currently at in life. At the moment I feel as if I am at a crossroads with my life as I try to figure out the direction I want to take my life. I feel like photographs of the people I spend my time with are good models of this because they are the people I am literally being with. They are also good reflections of the individual I am because we are all at points in our lives where we are trying to figure out our purposes and paths. These people will form the memories that I look back on when I remember this crossroad of my life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Personal Development Images

Here are a few images which reflect various important aspects of my personal development. They are not the most beautiful or skilled photographs, but they are, personally, the most interesting. Each one has a story behind it and was taken at a different stage in my life.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cultural Event: Side Show

     On February 25, 2011, the University of Denver's music program held a musical at the Lamont School of Music. One of my suitemates, Cecilie Nygaard, was cast as one of the lead roles and I wanted to see how all of her hard work paid off. The musical was amazingly entertaining and I was blown away by Cecilie's incredible voice. The musical, entitled "Side Show" was about siamese twins that are part of the freak show at a circus and are discovered by a businessman due to their incredible singing voices. The other freaks in the show are not so willing to let them leave, but they finally do in order to create better lives for themselves. They were mistreated in the circus and they left in order to find fame in happiness. However, life is never that simple.
     One of the twins, Daisy, falls for the businessman and the other twin, Violet, falls for the businessman's associate. This was an excellent plot twist as the businessman lusts after Daisy but refuses to commit to her due to the fact that he cannot look past the fact that she is a siamese twin. The businessman's associate proposes to Violet and she has a small glimpse of happiness as she thinks she founds someone who loves her. However, while he does care for her, he is marrying her for the wrong reasons and the wedding cannot go through. Right as Violet calls off the wedding, the twins are approached to star in a film by MGMT, and they agree to it just to find out that the title of the film is "Freaks." It was ultimately a heartbreaking storyline as neither of the twins find true love or acceptance from the world around them. I found a related a great deal to the twins as all they wanted was to be normal and to find somebody who loved them for who they truly were. After all, there is a little bit of a "freak" in us all. However, the entire musical was beautifully done and it makes me excited to go see another musical.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is an extraordinary photographer and the documentary created by her sister, Barbara Leibovitz, portrays all of the fascinating aspects that have made her the talented individual she is now. She entered the San Francisco Art Institute with the intent of becoming an art teacher, but after attending a photography workshop something clicked inside of her, and she knew that photography would ultimately be her passion. She began as a photographer for Rolling Stone magazine when it was still in its beginning stages and that is where she gained her initial fame by photographing people big in the music business. She became close with big names such as Hunter S. Thompson and the Rolling Stones, which led to personal issues such as drug abuse.
Leibovitz's portrait of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, 1980

However, she ultimately overcame those personal impediments and upon Rolling Stone's move to New York she began to create different and more skillful photography works. She started doing more glamorous work with magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue. She is often criticized by the art community for her commercial works, but the talent demonstrated in her photographs are undeniable. Commercial or not, it still takes an immense amount of skill to create the photos that she does.

The documentary also does a superb job showing the intimate and complex friendship that she shared with the intellectual writer Susan Sontag. They did not always see eye to eye, but they complete one another in the sense that Annie Leibovitz was mainly a visual person and Susan Sontag was mainly a literary person. It was heartbreaking to hear Annie's story about Susan passing away, but that was a huge part of her life that needed to be shared in order to understand her humanity. All in all, she has an incredible personal story, and I hold a great deal of respect for how far she has come doing the work that she loves.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cultural Event: Powwow at the Denver Indian Center

     On February 12, 2011 I attended a cultural event which I have had the fortune of attending numerous times in my life: A powwow. Due to the fact that I come from Native American heritage, my parents have always attempted to expose me to as many traditions as possible, but it has only been in the past couple of years that I have developed a true appreciation for these cultural events. When I was younger I did not realize how wonderfully unique these types of gatherings are and truly took them for granted. However, now that I attend a predominantly Caucasian university, I feel starved for events that display cultural traditions.
     Powwows are generally regarded as social gatherings that are open to the community, in which there are dancers, drum groups, vendors, and food. The dancers come from a wide range of age groups from tots to veterans, and each age and gender has its own categories. The dances performed are typically ones such as women's fancy dance, or men's traditional. Each dance has a certain type of clothing that goes with it, such as jingle dresses for the jingle dance. Every dancer is responsible for providing their own garb, but the clothing usually consists of bright colors, beading, and certain feathers or furs.
     My initial intent in going into the powwow at the Denver Indian Center was to actually promote a powwow that the Native Student Alliance at the University of Denver is coordinating. This is an event in which I am really looking forward to and I wanted to start getting the word out. I looked over some of the beautiful artwork created by the vendors and proceeded to ask the MC to announce the University of Denver powwow. Knowing the networking skills of Native Americans I feel like it will be fairly easy to find dancers and vendors to attend the powwow in the spring. I then took a couple of minutes to just sit down and watch all of the activity going on around me. There is always such an incredible amount of energy that flows around powwows and I love being a part of it. I was once told that the beat of the drum is like the heartbeat of Mother Earth, and it took me some time, but I finally understand.

♥ yay! Everyday

I love looking through websites that are a collection of artists that contribute their work to be seen by everyone. The artwork can range from photography to sketching, and they create this wonderful collage of eye candy. One of my favorite sites like these that I was recently introduced to is As if the title isn't cute enough, it never ceases to amaze me with its original artistry that sparks my imagination.  Here is a small sample of some of the most recent images posted:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sally Mann

     Sally Mann is an American photographer who was born in 1951 in Lexington, Virginia. In the documentary entitled "What Remains", viewers are given a glimpse into not only her creative process, but also a great deal of her personal life. It is made evident that her photographic works and personal life are deeply intertwined. Sally Mann initially was launched into infamy for her photographs of her children. While she was named one of America's Best Photographers, she was also highly criticized for photographing her children nude. They were very strong photographs and one could almost feel the connection she had with her children, but they could also be interpreted as dark and controversial. Personally, I feel that the images are simply beautiful.

     "What Remains" is also the title of one of her shows which the documentary follows in detail as it becomes close to an obsession for Sally Mann. Viewers are left to question her madness as she photographs decomposing corpses, but her passion for her subject matter is undeniable. Her intention was to bring to light the undeniable nature of death, but also to create an appreciation for the life that exists around us. It was an extremely interesting concept, and I could understand why it would be one so hard to sell to galleries. I definitely respect Sally Mann for putting so much heart into her work and having faith that her idea was one that needed to be seen and heard. Many artists may have moved onto work that would have proven more profitable, but I feel like it is a sign of a true artist to stay loyal to an idea they are passionate about.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter at Washington Park

Last winter (2009-2010) I took a trip in the freezing cold to take pictures with my friend Charlie at Washington Park, which is just right outside of the University of Denver campus. I was still learning how to use my camera and thought the experience would be helpful, and I liked the way the ice ended up looking. Here are some photographs from that day!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Roadtrip 2010

In the summer of 2010 I took a roadtrip with my mother through Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia to go visit family in Atlanta. The trip turned out to be a lot of fun with a lot of wonderful scenery, and we got to stay in New Orleans for a bit and see the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. Here are some of the pictures I took along the way!
The Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana

Louisiana Marsh
Seashells on the Beach
The French Quarter in New Orleans

Wishing Fountain in Atlanta

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Denver Botanical Gardens


One of my favorite subjects to take photographs of is definitely flowers, simply because I think they are so full of rich colors and unique shapes that the eye is naturally drawn to them. My first week in college, I took a trip to the Denver Botanical Gardens with one of my classes, and I took a lot of really wonderful pictures of not just flowers, but also the beautiful ponds they have there. I was so happy that the flowers were still in bloom and the weather was perfect that day. These continue to be some of my favorite pictures!