Monday, January 31, 2011

Imogen Cunningham

     Imogen Cunningham was an American photographer, born April 12, 1833 in Portland, Oregon. She is most well known for her photographs of botanicals, nudes, and industrial landscapes. She bought her first camera at the age of 18, but quickly lost interest and sold it to a friend. However, she was inspired to take up photography again 5 years later when coming across the work of Gertrude Kasebier. Her chemistry professor at the University of Washington assisted in helping her understand the chemistry behind photography and she began taking photographs of plants for the botany department. In 1907, Imogen graduated from UW and went to work at Edward S. Curtis' studio, which enabled her to learn about portraiture and practical photography.

Dream, 1910
She wrote a paper in 1910, entitled "About the Direct Development of Platinum Paper for Brown Tones". This paper detailed her own process for increasing printing speed, improving the clarity of highlight tones, and creating sepia tones. She eventually opened up her own studio and became a very in-demand photographer. In 1913, she exhibited her work at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the next year had portraits shown at an exhibit in New York, called "An International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography". The year after that she took nude photos of her husband, which were highly praised by critics, but were kept fairly private as the general public was not accustomed to such works yet.

Callas, circa 1925

In 1932, she co-founded Group f/64 with some of her colleagues, such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, with the mission to "define photography as an art form by a simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods.” Although she had started in the pictorial genre, she evolved to be somewhat of a "renegade," taking pictures of a variety of subjects while always aiming to catch them in a realistic light. She was still taking photographs at the age of 93, right before she passed away on June 24, 1976.

Tuberose, 1920s
Magnolia Blossom, 1925

White Sands

During the last summer (2010) I took an absolutely amazing road trip with four of my really good friends from high school. We started in Albuquerque, New Mexico and drove down to a campsite right outside of Carlsbad Caverns. After exploring the Caverns we made our way to campgrounds near White Sands National Monument. The day we spent at White Sands was filled with great memories as we sledded down hills and drew in the sand. The rippling white sand and incredible New Mexico sky worked together to capture the picturesque quality of that day.I will always look back at the pictures we took and just remember how content I was =]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cultural Event: Crimson and Gold, Global Gala 2011

On the evening of Thursday, January 27, 2011, the University of Denver held an incredible celebration at the Mile High Station. The event was open to all DU students either interested in the Study Abroad experience, or coming back from their time spent in a Study Abroad program. The celebration offered cocktails, an array of hors d’oeuvres, and great cultural entertainment. Students were given the chance to discuss the study abroad experience with their peers, faculty, and staff members while enjoying samples of food from different cultures around the world, such as Asian cuisine, Spanish tapas, and African meat. Students under 21 only had to pay $5 in order to join in the celebration, and everyone was required to dress in cocktail attire, which kept the event classy. The atmosphere was electric as students were excited to either share their own experiences or discuss their own hopes for traveling the world.

      The entertainment included a Western African drum group with dancers, two belly dancers (one with a sword!), Samba dancers, students dancing the Tango followed by an incredible pair of Tango dancers, and a Japanese drum group. There was also a presentation of some of the best photographs taken by students abroad. The photo competition was actually held on facebook so that students could actually vote for their favorite photographic works. The selected winners and honorable mentions had produced extremely impressive works which captured the essence of the cultures they had spent time with. The entire event made me extremely excited to partake in a Study Abroad program and immerse myself in a new culture. Here are some photographs from the event itself:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Playing with Perspective

One of my friends recently had this photo as her profile picture on facebook and I thought it was great how perspective can be manipulated in order to create such a unique photo. Below is another photo which has always stuck in my mind, and it may look familiar to some of you.

Working with perspective allows an individual to stretch their creativity to new levels and start imagining the world around them in different and often humorous ways. This method of creating photos does not require complicated scenery or revolutionary technology, just the simple idea that the human imagination is limitless.
How precious!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Own the Sky

I was recently watching the music video for the song "We Own the Sky" by M83 and while watching the amazing imagery I realized that some of the most incredible photos I have taken have been of the sky. For my photography class we unfortunately have to avoid taking shots of the sky, seeing as it wouldn't fare well with black and white prints. All of the following photos I have taken with my digital camera, and are a collection of sky from all over.
Quick shot of Albuquerque through my car window

My first sight of Colorado Sky

The Ritchie Center at sunrise

The sky at an island off of Belize

Marsh Fire in Louisiana

New Mexico morning, Summer 2010

Just some New Mexico sky =]
And the video that started it all (well worth watching)!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Camera Throwbacks

I recently received a loaner camera from my Intro to Photography professor, Roddy MacInnes and it inspired me to create a blog about old cameras. The camera I am currently borrowing is a Canon F-1, which is a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera that was manufactured in Japan during the 1970s until a newer version came along. It is much heavier than the digital cameras of modern society, but I kind of enjoy the authenticity and rugged look of this older model. Once I start to develop and print the black and white photos taken with this camera you will start to see them posted up on the blog. All of the photos will be taken with T-MAX 400 film and I will personally develop them and create prints in the photography lab.
To the left is a fairly good image of what the camera I will be using looks like (just imagine a bit more wear and tear). I did not receive the manual with it so I kind of had to figure out how to use it through trial and error. By having a camera that is completely manual the photography is actually in greater control of how the photograph will turn out, because you can set the aperture, shutter speed, and the focus of the lens. Honestly, the greatest issue I have had so far is figuring out how to open the camera back to load the film (sad, I know). Here are some other camera flashbacks!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Mania

I've got babies on the brain! Not because I want one, but because I officially became an Aunt as of January 12th, 2011 at 10:19 p.m. My nephew, Talon John Racehorse, was ADORABLE from the get-go. Unfortunately, I live in a different city so I have not seen him in person, but the night he was born I received photographs via cell phone from my Aunt, my father, and my mother. I really wanted to show someone his picture, so I figured why not make a blog about it, right?
Talon John Racehorse 

My roommate is also obsessed with pictures of babies doing insanely cute things, such as having their little faces pop out of daisies. This made me realize that baby photography is a specialty in its own. A large number of people probably have photographs of them as infants either by themselves or in family portraits. Upon reflection, it actually take a great deal of skill to get a squirming baby to relax and look as cute as possible for that moment to be caught on film. A lot of great photos of babies not only show how precious they are, but also give the viewers a glimpse of their innocence, curiosity, and delicate nature. I would like to share a few of my favorite photographs of babies (with the hope of not violating any copyright laws).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peter Lik

 While in Aspen this past weekend I actually came across a really great art gallery that contained some of the works of the modern photographer Peter Lik. I feel like those in the photography world have probably heard all about him, but I had never heard of him before and was completely blown away by his photography. The gallery had all of his photos illuminated and blown up to enormous sizes, which probably added to the grandeur of it all, and I could not help but to imagine what it would be like to one day have my work so fantastically displayed.
Peter Lik is a self-taught landscape photographer from Australia and is the most awarded photographer in history. He has received the Master Photographer award..

"I have stood in awe of sculptured landscapes touched by the emerging light of dawn, the day's last rays and the haunting glow of moonlight."
~Peter Lik, Master Photographer

The following video clip is a bit on the dramatic side, but I found it pretty inspiring to just go out into the world and take as many great shots as I can. Enjoy =]

For more information I would recommend checking out where you can check out more of his photography, videos, blog (which is full of great photography tips), news, and so forth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Winter Season

Hello Everyone!
My name is Vanessa Racehorse and I am currently a second year student at the University of Denver. I have created a blog before, but I have created this one to be specific to photography for the time being. I have always found photography enjoyable, but it has only been in the past year or so that I have found it not only interesting but also beautiful in a sense. For my first blog I want to show a few of my favorite winter photos that have been taken with one of my first cameras (a simple Kodak EasyShare Z1485 IS). Normally, I find winter to be rather depressing, but have recently been trying to see it in a more captivating light: through the lens. Here we go!
This first one to the right was taken just yesterday, January 8, 2011. I took a trip up to Aspen for the weekend with my boyfriend, Ben (subject in picture), and the following photos are from this trip.

This photo was taken by Ben, but it is one of my favorites from the weekend.