Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange was a photographer in the 1930’s who shot photos of the depression and the Dust Bowl. She was sent out to the Dust Bowl to capture images of the people affected by the catastrophe, and show how they were pushing through the hard time with uplifting spirits. Well, when she got there of course no one was happy and uplifting, so by not lying she shot photos of what was really happening. These photos ended up being haunting and eerie. I chose to write about this picture because I think that it shows how dramatic an event can be not only towards whole families but children in themselves. This girl on the left in this picture has dirt all over her face and has some scratches and looks just completely forgotten and sad. The boy to the left also has a dirty face, looks sad, depressed, and like nothing matters. It looks like both of these kids show no interaction with others and looks like they barely get any play time which is an important part of being a kid and growing. Overall I really like the contrast in this photo, especially with the eyes and the sunlight shining on the boy’s hair.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

17th recon Biak Camp, Fred Hill

The photo that I have picked is by Fred Hill, and his photo of the 17th recon Biak Camp. This is significant to history because of the fact that it is a photo of a camp that our United States Troops stayed at during the Second World War. In the photo it shows how the U.S. troops lived in this hard time.  
In the photo I picked I chose it because I liked how it showed the tuff life of a United States solider. I really like how this picture has great contrast in the photo in the light and dark areas of the photograph. I also like how in the top left corner you see what looks like a telephone pole but you can’t tell if it is the sun coming through it or if it is a light on top of the pole. When I am looking at this shot in the picture I like how the light streak comes through it just makes the photograph look rustic like I would have just taken this picture.

White House Ruins

The photograph title is White House Ruins by Ansel Adams, 1949. Ansel Adams was born February 20th, 1902. Adams was born in San Francisco California with upper class parents. He was an only child with the parents of Charles Hitchcock Adams, and Olive Bray Adams. In 1903 the Adams family moved two miles west to a home that had a wonderful view of the Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands. This beautiful view gave Adams a passion for scenery. In Adams younger years, he taught himself how to play the piano. This gave Adams sustenance, discipline, and structure. He used these skills to bring out the beauty of nature in his photography.

In my opinion Adams photo White House Ruins is phenomenally beautiful. This Black and white photo presents wonderful areas of shade, texture and size. The small adobe looking buildings at the bottom are very small compared to the large canyon that is above it. This canyon has beautiful contrast in color. The photographic techniques make this photo very realistic as though you were there at the scene viewing this canyon rather than viewing it in a photo. Great photographic skills that are demonstrated in this photo is what makes photography so intriguing to me.  Taking something so realistic and capturing the moments where the lighting is just right and the focus is so clear, makes me and many others appreciate photography for more than just a photo. But for the beauty and the realistic look of it all.

Baptism by Immersion

The photograph title is Baptism by Immersion by Marion Post Wolcott, 1940. Wolcott was born in New Jersey in 1910. Wolcott went to study photography with her sister Helen in Europe. This is where Wolcott witnessed the Nazi attacks on the Jewish population during the Great depression. Wolcott documented poverty and deprivation, where she joined the Farm Security Administration which was a program to help improve poverty and to do a rural rehabilitation. The FSA was well known for the influence of their photography program. Photographers and writers were hired to report and document the plight of the poor farmers.  Wolcott’s photography is memorable because she displayed the hardships of the Great Depression through her photography.

In my opinion Marion Wolcott is very inspirational. She took a very fragile subject (the Great Depression) and instead of hiding the truths of what she had seen, she displayed it through her photography. She put meaning to what was really happening during the time period. I enjoyed what she was doing by displaying the truths of the Great Depression, but I was not completely fascinated by the pictures themselves. Even though her pictures were there to express what was happening, they didn’t have much of an effect on me.  I’m not moved by them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Untitled, Stanley Kubrick, 1950

Untitled, Stanley Kubrick, 1950

Stanley Kubrick (b. 07/26/1928, d. 03/07/1999) was an American motion picture director, writer, producer, and photographer who was noted for the scrupulous care with which he chose his subjects, his slow method of working, his technical perfectionism, and his reclusive lifestyle.  His father purchased a Graflex camera for him when he was 13, and he was chosen as an official school photographer for a year during high school.  By the time he graduated high school in 1945 he had already sold a photographic series to Look magazine, by 1946 he was an apprentice photographer for Look, and shortly thereafter a full-time staff photographer.  He gravitated towards motion pictures after his first film was a “financial success” in 1951.

As an aspiring motion picture maker I went looking for photographers who transitioned into movies.  The hands-down most successful person I found to have done this to date would have to be Stanley Kubrick.  Everyone is familiar with his movies: A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, The Shinning, and quite a few more.  I knew Kubrick had a large part in the look of all of his movies, but I did not know he had a successful career as a photographer as well.  Of all his photos I was able to look at, Untitled is by far my favorite.  I believe it has to do with the ambiguity in the scene created by not being able to see the subject’s face coupled with the overwhelming amount of emotion present at the same time.

Wes Fesler Kicking a Football

Artist:Harold “Doc” Edgerton (American, 1903–1990)
Title:Wes Fesler Kicking a Football  Date:1935  Medium:Gelatin silver print

In this photograph Harold Edgerton captured the instant the a football contracts at the moment of impact with a kicker's foot. Edgerton, an electrical engineer and photographer, was the father of high speed photography. He invented stop-action, high-speed photography and used this method to create a body of work that is revered for its scientific advancement as well as aesthetic qualities. In the late 1920's Edgerton studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Here he used a stroboscope-an instrument also known as a strobe, used to make a cyclically moving object appear to be slow-moving, or stationary. Edgerton was a pioneer in strobe photography. He used the technique to capture images of athletes competing, hummingbirds hovering, bullets bursting balloons, and blood coursing through capillaries. His "Coronet" milk drop photo was featured in the New York Museum of Modern Art's first photography exhibit.

What fascinates me the most about Doc Edgerton's photographs is not the aesthetic qualities or the fact that we might find ourselves saying, “Oh cool that's what fruit looks like just before it explodes.” What is fascinating is that at this time, what Edgerton captured in this photographs was new information to people. His art created revelations about the laws of nature, physics and motion! Not only did he pave the way for the modern electronic flash, he gave physicists a new means of analyzing the dynamics of fluids, air currents, and engines. The US Army  commissioned him to develop a super powered flash for aerial photography. Edgerton's system allowed airplanes to do nocturnal reconnaissance, which helped document Axis troop movements under cover of darkness during WWII. After
the War Edgerton and his colleagues designed timing and firing systems for atomic bomb testing, and invented a camera that could photograph an atomic explosion from seven miles away! Also from his work we acquired high-powered strobe lights that gave us inventions from lighthouses to copying machines. Edgerton changed the way I looked at photography. Although I knew he was good photographer who took “Neat-O” pictures, I failed to notice that Edgerton was also an engineer, and inventor and a pioneer who brought new knowledge to the world through his photographs. 

"Through his marvelous medium, he has captured and revealed new beauty and
order in both nature and industry." 

                          -Boston Museum of Science 

Floyd Burroughs, sharecropper

Title:  Floyd Burroughs, sharecropper
Creator:  Evans, Walker, 1903-1975, photographer
Published: 1935 or 1936

Walker Evans was an American photographer best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration(FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression. Most of his work from the FSA period uses the large-format, 8x10in camera. During this era his goal as a photographer was to make pictures that are "literate, authoritative, transcendent".  He was born in November 3, 1903 at St.Louise, Missouri, U.S.A. and Died April 10, 1975 at age 71.

I chose one of his pictures that was called "Sharecropper'. It was quite interesting due to Floyd Burroughs facial impression. He looks more lost, depressed and lonely farmer. I could see in his face that he was thinking of what's going to be on the table for supper, where will I get them or will i be able to provide for the next day. Very sad impression knowing that their time was very hard to survive versus our lifestyle now a days.

Being depressed is a very heavy burden especially when you are the head of the household. It's a fear of every fathers of how will they survive with twenty dollars or one loaf of bread for the next two weeks or next pay day. I wouldn't imagine myself in his shoes. I would kill myself just to be free of depression and not seeing my family struggle.  However, life back then was not as easy as life today, I know that we are going through the economy crisis but we still have roof over our head, food on the table and clean clothes to wear or money to spend for wants.

Looking at the portraits itself, I could see that it is a powerful image. You could see black and white color, dark to lighter and the way it's presented. I can see the wall on his side with it's detailed colored in black and white and the pattern of the lines on the wall. His clothes too, I can see the bottons clearly and so does the pocket on his chest with the white shirt his wearing. Very nice picture.

Overall, I would say that, " It was a hell a life back then versus our life now a days". Meaning that his life back in 1930's was hard and depressed compared to lay back life in 2011.

Edward Colver, Dead Kennedys

This was a picture taken by Edward Colver on July 4, 1982 at a Dead Kennedys show at the Wiskey in Los Angeles, California. The Dead Kennedys are a punk rock band from San Francisco, they formed in 1978 and where pioneers of  punk during the 1980s. There songs mixed deliberately extreme lyrics with satire, sarcasm, and irony of social and political issues of the 1980s. 
This picture shows the Dead Kennedys performing on stage, with lead singer Jello Biafra shirtless in the middle. Fans are running onto the stage from the right side while the guitarist and bassists are playing, looking strangely relaxed. The pieces of paper on the stage are Xeroxed cockroaches thrown out from the band before. 
This photo and many others taken by Colver documented the rise and the movement of the punk rock music scene in the late 1970s early 1980s. He also took pictures of acts such as Black flag, Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Lydia Lunch, Minutemen, and Minor Threat. 
 I love this picture because it shows a lot of great movement, the contrast is nice too. But I mostly just like this photo for the meaning and the time era it was taken. The moments Colver captured on film live on as icons not only because of the vision of the photos themselves, but because they eloquently document the birth of punk music, fashion, art and lifestyle during a renaissance of talent and rebellion that will never occur again.

1861 Confederate Greys, Mathew Brady

1861 Confederate Greys, Mathew Brady, 1861, photograph

This is a photo credited to Mathew Brady, although as you mentioned in class, it could very easily have been taken by one of his assistants.  It took me a while to find this picture, but I chose it because it is North Carolina Confederate soldiers leaving off to battle.  Mathew Brady was a very controversial photographer, as are many, but he was so because he would rearrange dead bodies, coming into battlefields days after the action had ended and moved on.  While he also did many scenes of battlefields, he also was noted for his portraits. However, that wasn't always the case.  In the first major battle of the Civil War, Manassas, where I must add that the Confederacy slaughtered the over confident Union, but I digress.  In this battle, which took place in Virginia, outside of Manassas (which I also must add is a very beautiful setting, irony abounds!) Mathew Brady almost got captured by Confederate forces.  Throughout the entire Civil War Brady took over 10,000 plates, almost certain the U.S. government would buy them from him at the end of the war, and yet they did not, leaving him a financial wreck, only to die 30 years later, still penniless.  Brady tested photographic ethics, and helped shape what they are today.

What stands out to me about this picture, is the solemn facial expressions.  They were very serious and were very much aware of what they were doing by joining the cause.  The blurriness surrounding the central focus of the soldiers gives the photo a sense of confusion and franticness (word?).  The mix then of the calmness in their faces with the feeling of confusion gives the photo a surreal aura.  There's this confusion and disorganization in  that a country was formed so quickly and they are going to war immediately after declaring secession and independence, yet when you break it down and analyze each person individually, there's the sense that each one of them is individually calm and collected, certain that they want to follow through with what they are doing.  It was for these soldiers that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are called the Tar Heels, because the North Carolina Confederate soldiers would never back down and would stand their ground until they could fight no more, so determined to win that it was as if their feet were grounded in tar.

Joel Peter Witkin, Myself as Dead Clown

Joel Peter Witkin, Myself as Dead Clown

I chose this picture because I am a fan of Joel Peter Wilkin, and because of the composition and subject matter of this picture. The over exaggerated smile on the corpse and the head dress are both good effects and would even lead the viewer to question whether this was a live person.  Until you see the protruding ribcage and the rest of the emaciated body.  The treatment on the negative, which Joel is known for, was also very good.  The way the negative was treated so that the sheet and the head dress were similar provided good uniformity in the composition.  The treatment to the upper right corner of the negative appears on the print as a light source, another great effect that plays well with the actual overhead lighting.  The only part of the composition that I don’t understand is the way the picture was cropped.  It is not uniform with the top two corners being rounded and the bottom left corner being strait.          

Pole Vaulter, Thomas Eakins

Title: Pole Vaulter
Artist: Thomas Eakins
Date: 1884-1885
This photo has lots of movement, it is shown through a multiple exposure, the different stages a pole vaulter goes through during their event. This photographer Thomas Eakins was seen as an innovator of motion photography, but received little recognition during his life. After Eakins death he has been celebrated by art historians and the strongest most profound realist in 19th and early 20th century American art. Before Eakins was a photographer though, he was a realist painter. He chose people who were from his hometown in Philadelphia. Painted hundreds of portraits of his family, friends, and prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine and clergy. Though Eakins wasn’t a widely known artist during his lifetime, his photos and paintings have created a big impact on the world of art history now.
This photos movement was what stood out to me the most. It being a multiple exposure was what brought my attention to it while browsing through photos. Also the fact it is a sports photo played another big role in my selection. Back in high school I loved taking pictures of sports, pole vaulting being on of my favorites. The only difference between what I was use to shooting and seeing what Eakins shot was that the pole vaulter never actually goes, from what I can see, high enough to go over the bar. Instead it is a picture of what seems to be the athlete practicing his steps and technique. Seeing that difference was very interesting to me, along with the multiple exposure, and how many he was able to capture in this photograph.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey. Author: Robert Frank. Year: 1955. Medium: Gelatin Silver Print
This is a picture taken by Robert Frank in 1955 at a parade in Hoboken, New Jersey. Instead of taking pictures of the parade, Frank decided to take a picture of an American flag blowing in the wind with two Hoboken citizens behind it watching the parade out of windows. This picture became very significant to photography history because it was first published in a book written by Frank called “the Americans” and it was denied public publish rights in the USA. So to get his book published he decided to take it across the seas and get it published to make money. While the book became a hit the American publisher gave in and published it in the US.
Personally, I really like this photograph. It has a great contrast and also elements of opposites. I like that the brickwork and how it is dirty and gritty compared to the shades that hide the windows and the cleanliness of the American flag. The contrast in the flag is great; even though it is in motion you can still see the stars and stripes both evenly and clearly. The woman on the left of the picture had a facial expression of emotion and sadness so it makes the viewer curious to see what is actually going on behind the photographer. I also find it interesting that the person standing in the right window has been covered by the fla

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, Diane Arbus, gelatin silver print, 1966.

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, Diane Arbus, gelatin silver print, 1966.

Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971), an American Photographer, was best known for her square black-and-white photographs of “deviant and marginal people or of people whose normality seems ugly or surreal.”  She began her career as a fashion photographer for her father in New York.  After WWII she and her husband began a commercial photography studio.  She quit the commercial photography business to begin doing some magazine assignment work; this gave her an opportunity to tour the country.  She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963 for a project on “American rites, manners, and customs”; in 1966 the Fellowship was renewed.  She committed suicide in 1971.  Arbus’s work has been considered controversial and her estate has been criticized for denying permission for exhibition or reproduction of her photographs.

I found the work of Diane Arbus to be quite intriguing.  Most of her photos were of circus performers (freaks), nudists, and transvestites; far more risqué than the seemingly tame nature of Identical Twins, Roselle NJ.  But, when you consider that the ghostly twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shinning are in an identical pose you can see how powerful the image is.  I especially appreciate how Arbus is credited with taking the time to get to know everyone she photographed and to get their permission to take the shot.  Even going so far as tracking down, catching up with, and re-shooting subjects years later.  Two quotes I found to be amusing were: “We thought it was the worst likeness of the twins we'd ever seen.”  Bob Wade (father of the twins), and “Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.” Norman Mailer.

Margaret Bourke-White, Flood Victims, 1936

Margaret Bourke-White, Flood Victims, 1936

Even at first sight of this photograph a feeling of unease overcame me.  Not because of some cunning way in which the photographer staged her photo, but of the raw message which it throws out at the viewer.  The harsh reality that is captured to dispel any idealist thoughts that people may have of this era was photographed beautifully.  The stereotypical white American family on their way to some cozy and remote lake side cabin to enjoy the fresh air and get away from the bustle of everyday life.  While black American flood victims stand in line for hours to receive fresh water, a loaf of stale bread, and some dry clothes.  “There’s no way like the American way” really does say it all.    

Ten Year Old Spinner, North Carolina Cotton Mill

Artist: Lewis Hine
Title: Ten Year Old Spinner, North Carolina Cotton Mill
Medium: Silver Gelatin Print
Date: 1908-09
Nationality: American
Born: 1874
Died: 1940

The photographs shot by American Photographer Lewis Hine (1874-1940) were pivotal in reforming labor laws in the United States for both adults and children. This photo of the ten year-old spinner girl focuses on the great contribution he made to exposing the ugly truth about child labor during the industrial revolution which was a time when the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. was astronomical. Industrialization moved workers from rural communities into urban areas to do factory work. Children were the perfect employees. They were cheap labor, they had no rights, no voice, and were highly unlikely to strike. American children worked dangerous jobs in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, cotton mills, and as newsboys, messengers, peddlers, and much more. Children were exploited and placed in dangerous and often fatal conditions. Beginning work at ages as low as three years old, the children earned only 10 to 20% of an adults wage and worked sixteen hour days! Not only were children being robbed of their childhoods, but this was a serious violation of human rights! Lewis Hine used his camera to create social reform for adults and children alike.

It is my belief that Lewis Hine's photographs saved the lives of countless individuals. So maybe his job was photojournalism and he got paid to take these photographs. However, the import thing about his work is that they became sociological studies of not only the working class during the industrial revolution, but the truly poor souls who were suffering from inhumane working conditions. His photographs provided a voice for those who had none. I know it's cliché to say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so I won't say it; but looking at such a powerful, poignant image makes such a loud, resounding statement. And you know that at the time the picture was published the content, the evidence of a truth, was even more earth-shattering. The imagery of this somber, hardened factory worker is not indicative of a child. It's indicative of a ten year-old girl of whom the joy and spark of childhood has been snuffed by countless hours of structured, taxing labor. Lewis Hine is a perfect example of how a photographer can become a paladin. Images as powerful as Hine's help change the world. 

Fading Away

Henry Peach Roberson, was named the “king of photographic picture making”, and was one of the greatest photographers of his time. In the picture “Fading Away” by Mr. Roberson he made this photo with 5 compositions of negatives, to contrast with the young girl lying in the bed dying from consumption due to come kind of sickness. Most of the viewers that have looked at this photo thought it was a controversial picture, because it was not suitable of photography. One critic said that Roberson “went to the most painful segments.”          
I really like how in the middle of this picture the viewer is pulled to looking at the vase, on the table to the right of the man in black standing by the window. I also like how the picture is contrasted by the light and dark, and light colors from the women slouching and standing in the chair. Lastly I like how when the viewer looks in the middle of this picture, they see to arcs of the stool and the table holding up the vase. One thing that I do not like about this picture is how the women on the left has a mixed color of lights and darks on her bonnet, and chair cover she is sitting on.

Migrant Mother

Title: Destitute  pea pickers in california, Mother of seven children.
Other Title: Migrant Mother
Age: thirty-two
Place: Nipomo, CA
Creator: lange, Dorothea, Photographer
Date Published: 1936 Feb or March
Medium: 1 Negative: nitrate; 4x5 in.

The image of a worn, weather-beaten woman, a look of desperation on her face, two children leaning on her shoulders, an infant on her lap; has become a photographic icon of the Great Depression in America. It was taken at pea pickers camp, Nipomo,CA 175 miles north of Los Angeles by Dorothea Lange. Lange was working for Farm Security Administration as part of a team of photographers documenting the impact of federal programs in improving rural conditions. Dorothea Lange was taking pictures as she walked toward her,she did not asked anything but the woman told her age and that, they been living on frozen vegetable from surrounding fields, and birds that her children killed. She had just sold her tires from her car to buy food which she wont go anywhere. There she sat on her tent and seems to know that Dorothea's pictures might help her and her seven kids.
The image was interesting, looking at her pale face you can tell that,  she is very depressed on something that she cannot bare. To me, the impression on her face was more of sending the message out that starvation was in place which, was true. Seeing her two kids leaning on her shoulders, I could tell that they are hungry or crying out for a great satisfaction. An infant laying on her lap shows another sign of starvation and place to rest. It's very imotional image! For my point of view, I would say that, I couldnt make it if I was her, it's a heavy load especially with seven kids.

Sir John Herschel

Image Title: Sir John Herschel

Artist: Julia Margaret Cameron
Year it was Produced: April 1867

Julia Margaret Cameron was on of the first  women photographers who owned her own camera, and how she took pictures, like Sir John Herschel, was very unique to the time period. Cameron avoided using the perfect resolution and minute detail that the glass negatives, which were used in the 1860s, required. Instead she used carefully directed light, a soft focus, and longer exposures, meaning instead of seconds, she would use minutes. There are no classical columns, piles of weighty columns, scientific attributes, academic pose or  anything that related to Sir John Herschel, who was a scientist and mathematician. She did not take a typical portrait, instead she took the history that he and her shared and put it into the portrait she thought suited him best. Seeing him as more of a vision emerging from the darkness. 
My first reaction to this photograph is the erie feeling, like a ghost. Until i read about the description behind the style of photography, i didn’t understand why such a famous mathematician, would be photographed as a ghost, like he wasn’t alive anymore. But after reading her remarks, I understand she was seeing him more as a vision, because he was the person who sent her, her first photograph, along with his discoveries he made through his life. So she wanted him to be viewed as a visionary like in the Old Testament in the Bible.

The Horse in Motion, Edweard Muybridge, photograph, 1888

Muybridge, upon arriving in the United States from England, changed his name numerous times, including to Eduardo Santiago, the spanish equivalent to his name.  His photography career was oriented mainly towards capturing motion, as seen here in The Horse in Motion.  However, he also used the same technique to capture to running movement of a bison, as well as two people dancing. This idea became highly significant to the progress of the art of photography by sparking ideas and thoughts in regards to motion picture.  He influenced many after him, and ironically enough, as he was the quintessential precursor of motion picture, a 1950s motion picture documentary of his life was made. Both the inventor, William Dickson, and the patented inventor, Thomas Edison, of the first motion picture camera, credit Muybridge as an influence.

The picture, to me, seems far more impressive when one picture is shown at a time, thus making it appear more so as a motion picture, as opposed to twelve picture organized in three rows of four.  Regardless, however, there still a substantial amount of credit due to Mr. Muybridge.  Photography was taken to a completely new level of respect and regard than before, as Muybridge had used it to answer a question scientists had long been debating.  The camera now could be used for many purposes, such as documentation, an art form, and even as a scientific tool. Muybridge was able to transform the camera, and the art of photography, into something new, and that, is something to be revered.

August Sander,Pastry Cook, Produced in 1928

August Sander a German Photographer, was born in Herdof Germany. He started off his working life just as his father, as a miner in 1892 his uncle gave him his first camera and he began photography in his spare time. After time in the military he really started to take photography to the next level he began commercially photographing architectural and industrial buildings. He eventually had his own photographic studio
When business was slow studio he would load his tripod, camera and glass negatives onto his bike and ride the surrounding countryside, taking photos of his photographic passion the German people. The life movement of his was to show the working normal middle class person and make them extraordinary through photography. Through his career he took over 50,000 photos. He died in 1964.

            I really enjoyed Sanders photography he had a very unique style. The way in which he posed his models, and their expressions really added meaning. The life work and how he really loved his people carried through into his work. This really made the photos stand out from his other work, to me because a person always does something better when they love it. My favorite print would have to be the policeman just the contrast in the photo and how the model is composed made me laugh. The pastry chef is a great photo but it just doesn’t hit home for me maybe if the chef was a woman.