Thursday, September 20, 2012

pics of final

I will post pics of the final product after this weekend. I am going to hang them on a wall at home

self assessment project 1

Kristin Seymour
Project 1

            For this project the goal was to create artwork based on alternative input. I chose to experiment with existing light at night and how the camera can catch the range of colors and movements in the dark. I created two series of three photographs each. My central theme was to explore how the lights at night create a wide range of colors. My overall theme and goal of most of my recent photography is to show what the eye cannot see. The camera has the great ability to freeze, overlap and experiment with time.
            Before this project, I had never truly worked at night. I have always liked how night photographs look and how detailed and abstract they can be but I have never done my own photo session while in the dark. My inspiration came from Kevin Fleming and his son. Both have mastered night photography and sell these images in their gallery. The main image I was trying to create was using a method to capture star trails. Also, I wanted to try painting with light (illuminating an object in the foreground with a flashlight). I started my experimental process by first researching methods, and the proper settings for night photography. I found that I needed a tripod and recommended a remote shutter release. This way there was no movement of the camera, which would mess up the photos. I went out and bought both. Also, through hours of research I found that I needed to find not only the bulb setting on my camera but that I also had to alter the white balance among other settings.
            I set out the first night not really having a set goal. I wanted to try painting with light and also star trails. Well, this night there were no stars, only lightning. So I tried to photograph the lightning and pretty much failed. I then captured a few interesting images of the light within the waterfall/fountain near Good Pastor. I also experimented with placing myself within the images. I finally finished the night with a few images of cars going by on campus. Once I got home I decided the car images were the most compelling and goal oriented, and this was the path I began to follow. The second night of experimenting I headed strait for the road. First beginning by admissions facing the greens. I recorded through multiple slow shutter speeds the cars coming up the hill and over the first speed bump on college drive. This beginning shoot helped me determine the right shutter speed and other settings. I then progressed to route five and shot many photos of the cars driving on the road perpendicular to the camera. These images created a panorama style with the car lights painting the scenery. I placed myself within the images also and they turned out very nicely in my opinion. The idea was decided in class, to try and create panoramas from the shots, but I determined that it would not match up correctly and the images were stronger by themselves, not stitched together. I finally tried to paint with light. As I walked past Cobb house I realized it looked eerie and slightly haunted. I got the idea to use the flashlight to create a ghost-like trail up to the front door. In the end, the panorama style images won out and I chose to experiment further with this style.
            For my final shoot I headed strait for Route Five, I knew what I wanted to capture. I captured multiple images of the road running horizontally in front of the lens, I took photographs in each location at least twice, once normally and then next with me in the image. Each shutter speed was over a minute long and took a lot of patience. Sometimes I would set the camera up and release the shutter, walk across the road to place myself within the image, then no car would go by, so I would not get the light I was striving for. Sometimes the light that cars made turned out very appealing and other times it lacked the right element I wanted. I ended the night with taking photos on top of the hill by Queen Anne Hall. I faced the camera toward the road and docks. It was here that I captured the remaining four images that I used, the large image with the two panoramas and all three of the second series. I created the second series of square images by using a blown glass blown over the lens. I then moved the bowl in and out like a lens would move in and out to focus. This is how the streaks of light that appear tunnel-like were created. I chose to format these images into squares because I wanted our eyes to move down the lights like a tunnel. I wanted the movement within my images to be constant. Also, within this series the large image was the closest in panning out to the last images being the widest angle. In the first series was displayed in that manner to show the streak of car lights the best as well as the set up being aesthetically appealing.
            My work habits, I believe have gotten better over the years and with each class. I spread out my work well and did not procrastinate at all. I shot three times with a decant amount of time in between to asses the images I took. I also researched extensively first, which I have never done before. I also researched further before my last shoot, to make sure I took the best images I could. I think that I also stepped out of the box on this one by not only experimenting with night shots but by also not pushing things too far. I think one down fall in the past, was I tried too hard. I put too much effort into something that just flopped in the end. I took this project slow and though every detail out before finalizing it. I also stepped out of the box as to how I presented the images. Squares are slightly odd and even questionable at first but in the end I think they worked out very well. The panorama style was also a new way of presentation for me and I like the end result of these too.
            If I were a viewer I would be immediately drawn into these images because of the colors and odd presentation style. The shapes are odd as well as the colors in comparison to the dark backgrounds.  The colors are so rich and vivid creating sunburst and firework-like images. I would probably then after looking at the first series of panoramas and large image, would realize that in the panoramas there was a person. I would wonder why there was a person in the images and why they were on the road. Also, even though it appears as the same person, they are in different clothes so it may not be the same person. The first series would raise questions for me, and as an artist that was one of my main goals. Then I would progress to the second series of square images and of course look at the large one first, then move onto the second and third. I would recognize a lot of the same colors but also new vivid colors like orange. I would probably realize that both series were at night, both created by existing light but I would wonder about the second series. How was it made? Why all the lines and why three? Then I may realize that the large one is the closest in then the last is the furthest out. My main goal was not for the viewer to necessarily see the different framing and proximity but to just ask questions about both series and to look further into each image. I wanted the colors in the images to draw viewers in. If they were hanging on a wall I would like to put a short description saying that each image’s colors are close to raw. Those are the colors the camera captured at night, true hue.
            I believe I deserve an A on this project because I took previous advice to keep experimenting and to think through my projects more. I tried a photography method I had never done before and researched beforehand. I did not go into this project blind and I feel that I have improved a lot since this assignment last year. What I fell short on last year I combatted this year. I stepped outside of the box in experimenting while shooting as well as printing. I used a different format with the panorama and square prints. Also my end result, mounted to the black foam boards was very professional looking and thought through. I am very pleased with my final images and personally think that they are some of the best photographs and projects I have ever made.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Florian Maier-Aichen

Florian Maier-Aichen

            Florian Maier-Aichen was born in Germany in the year 1973. He attended college in Germany but then realized that in their culture, photography was viewed as a hobby or side interest. He saw the art being created at that time in California and decided to move to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles at the University of California that he received his MFA.
A photographer by nature, Maier-Aichen bases his work in photographs, but then paints, draws and imposed images on top of the original images. He moves away from the basis of photography, which is documentation, and rather creates a fictional world. His work is not what you think of when you think of fictional photographs. His artworks from afar and even close view look real. In the series that I looked at and was elaborated on in “Fantasy” on, Florian Maier-Aichen was talking about how he finds inspiration in antique postcards. These old post cards were often re-copied, in other words, the images on them were so cliché and seen time and time again. He stated that the more images in one spot, more the reason for him to take yet another. The post cards were also un-realistic. Maier-Aichen was shown on shooting an image he once saw on an old postcard. It was a skyline of a city with water in the foreground, originally there were approximately 15 light sources, in recent days there were far more as well as a change in the landscape due to tearing down of old warehouses. He talked bout how he would go in post-production and alter the image more to make it closer to the original as well as take out parts he did not like.
            He shoots with an old style glass plate camera. Not a 35 mm point and shoot or DSLR. This method reminds me of Sally Mann. His camera seemed to be very similar as hers and his end images remind me of her work. The type of camera they both use allows for error. The camera is not secure so it allows light leaks and random affects. He prints and presents the photographs in a large scale. He wants the viewer to see every detail. He said that he wanted people to get lost in one corner and not to become distracted by the other.
            Florian Maier-Aichen expressed that taking the photos is only half the work. When choosing the framing of the image, he likes to cut the frame in half by a natural line. Whether that be a horizon line or a skyline or other naturally occurring lines.  He takes wide angles landscape images or aerial shots. All the images are highly thought out and representational.  He conducts a large amount of postproduction alterations to his photos before they are finished. His goal is to “create idealized painterly landscapes” as well as a finished image with a representational upper part and an abstract lower part. He even works with tri color photography to restore and reinvigorate the classic nature of photography.
            Florian Maier-Aichen’s work relates to mine in the purest fact of photography, but also by his idea of re-photographing the norm and the already seen. I as a photographer am ok with photographing things that people are used to. As long as something is different, new or interesting. To create a lot of his images he takes night photos and those require long shutter speed much like the images I have taken for this first project. I do find more contrasts with his work then similarities. I do not draw over my images in postproduction. I do not highly alter my images in postproduction. I do minor corrections but never painting and drawing on top of things. I do find it very interesting though, his ability to keep the images appearance real. Even though he has edited and drawn over the image, from a distance it looks real. What I take from Florian Maier-Aichen, in relation to my art work, is that I could try to play around with my images more and use cameras that allow for error and it will still turn out to be an interesting photograph.
            When looking at Florian Maier-Aichen’s work I believe that some are very strong where others fall short. I like the landscape and aerial images where it looks more real. There is such a great level of detail within the image that I could analyze them for hours and still miss details within the images, such as Aus Ven, 2011. Then looking at his far more edited images such as Untitled, 2007, it just is too unreal to me. I think he is strong as deciding what to edit and how to construct this different reality but in some cases when it is taken to far it loses the reliability and truth behind photography.




Monday, September 10, 2012

random thoughts and ideas for project 1

  • combine all the lights onto one black background image
  • combine the lights with one normal background
  • two panorama style light images and the one blue waterfront from QA hill lights
  • canvas wrap them and place light behind them
  • overlay them all
  • use magnifying glass/glass blown bowl to distort lights 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

short proposal

I was thinking of a few directions to go with my first project.

1. a stop motion film of long exposure photographs of the road, watching how traffic moves
2. a panorama created by stitching together multiple images. Highway route five with my in the center
3.using a flashlight to make ghostly trails (painting with light)

I like option 2 the best.