Week 19 Course Update

3 Weeks in, 3 weeks to Spring Break. Daytona Beach? Cancun? Lake Havasu? Decisions, Decisions…

I still have a few weeks to decide. In the meantime…

This week in digital imaging, we worked with channel masks. It seems like a helpful little way of working. It’s becoming clear there are lots of different ways to get an image from A to B in Photoshop, many of these tools do the same thing, but in different ways and it’s knowing how to use them in combination which is really helpful.

I didn’t show this week in crit. Next week I’ll put up some photographs. Still feeling like I did last week. I’m not overly interested in shooting in NY right now but I figure if I go through the motions, something will happen.  We’ll see. With that in mind I’ve been carrying a friend’s Contax T2. Maybe some of his photo juju will rub off on me and I’ll make some photos I like. I guess the important thing is to at least be making photographs.

Tuesday night in History of the Book, we discussed war photography a little bit. Again, we read from the Parr and Badger books (see last week’s course update). In addition, we discussed an interesting Errol Morris blog post from the NY Times. Click HERE for part 1 and HERE for part 2. Be sure to read the comments that people left too. We also had to read Martha Rosler’s “In, around, and afterthoughts (on documentary photography),”

Last week we had to write an analysis of one of four photographs. At least 500 words just about the photo and the caption. It’s a good exercise in reading an image. After you do it, click on the photo to learn a little about it. The four photos we had to choose from:

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, CA, 1938. Dorothea Lange
American Gothic: Mrs Ella Watson, Washington, DC, 1942. Gordon Parks
Charles Chaplin, his last day in America, 1952. Richard Avedon
Trolley, New Orleans, 1955. Robert Frank

For next week, we have to pick 10 photographs from a photo book and sequence them. I’ve picked “Arrivals & Departures. The Airport Picture of Garry Winogrand.” I’ve always been a big Winogrand fan and I chose this book for a few reasons. It was made after his death, so the order of the images isn’t Winogrand’s but I believe his friend Lee Friedlander’s. So, I don’t feel like I’m disrespecting Garry by rearranging things (yeah yeah, I know…weird photo superstition thing). Also, the first photo I ever bought was a Winogrand (this one).

In Right Here, Right Now, we looked at more portraits. The first part was a student presentation of familial portraits. It’s hard to summarize what goes on this class as we jump around a lot and the conversation is very fluid. That’s not a bad thing, it just sometimes makes it hard to distill the class down to any sort of essence. But, here are some names that came up:

Juan de Pareja (1650). Diego Velazquez
Portrait of the Bellelli Family, 1858-1867. Edgar Degas
Confrontation 3. 1988. Gerhard Richter
Confrontation 3. Gerhard Richter
Thomas Ruff
The Hirose Family, Hiroshima. Thomas Struth
Tierney Gearon
Rineke Dijkstra
Mitch Epstein
Larry Sultan
Richard Billingham

Oh yeah. And if that isn’t enough, Tim Hetherington came and gave a talk to our department.

Coming up? An interview with Jason Eskenazi on Monday and word is Joel Sternfeld is going to visit the department in a few weeks.

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7 Responses to Week 19 Course Update

  1. Geoff Scott says:

    No 500 words from me. Too many essays to write for my own program. I would’ve picked the Avedon photo of Chaplin and would’ve wrote about the motion in the photo, the simultaneous making fun of the public perception of him and the reality of him being devilish, and that smile, too.

    I always liked that Dorothea Lange photo. My favorite English teacher in high school had a copy of it on his classroom wall.

    Have fun.

  2. Keep making photographs.

  3. Hey Geoff,
    I chose the Dorothea Lange photo. You want to see my 500 words? Where are yours?!

    B, Mike.
    I’ve lived in NYC my whole life and have shot here a lot, both for personal work and for newspapers. I’m very inspired to shoot several projects I have going on right now, they just aren’t in NYC. With my current commitments, I can’t go work on them as I’d like to. I have a good idea of how I like to shoot and what themes I’m interested in and right now they aren’t in NYC.

  4. B says:

    “I figure if I go through the motions, something will happen.”

    You’d be surprised, it works more often than not. One way to look at it is that if you don’t go out and shoot, you definitely won’t get anything. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” as Gretzky said.

    I’d also like to know which of the four photos you chose…

    Haley, that’s the New York State Museum, in Albany ;) “This Great Nation Will Endure” is running through March 14, and a collection from the George Eastman House starts on Feb. 12. They also had a Berenice Abbott exhibit last year. Not sure who’s curating these but having this series of photo exhibits is awesome. I can toss out a few restaurant suggestions too if anyone visits.

  5. Geoff Scott says:

    I’m interested in reading about which image you chose and your 500 words. I’m guessing you wrote about the Robert Frank photo.

    I’m a grad student at SVA in the MPS Digital Photo program (the online version). I’ve been reading your blog and comparing. It’s interesting to read about the differences.

    Have fun.

  6. mike says:

    Sometimes you just have to go thru the motions and just take photos hoping something will click(no pun intended)

    I’ve always felt you can’t wait for inspirations/creativity to strike sometimes you have to go out and find it.

  7. The Albany State Museum is hosting an exhibit of FSA photography right now. They have all 6 of Lange’s prints of the Pea Pickers; you can see how she edited out a thumb in the right corner of the image, and also, the other prints which were NOT selected and made so famous.

    ALSO: I am hosting a free give-away of a fine art photo print at my website, http://the-second-look.blogspot.com

    -Haley Wulfman

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