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!