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.