Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To Clarify

Since there seemed to be so much confusion about what I'm expecting for the class, and I'm sorry for that......let me clarify in this way......I'll do another blog later that's more interesting.

This is a group site...but you can reach  me privately by e-mail or on facebook...  I reply in the message section of facebook, but not on the wall...      I'll get a chance to talk to many of you, one-by-one next week and the week after...

There are components to the Workshop, just as there were to the Photo I class, if you took it here at UMass. This is a four, 4, credit course. In an Art Department.
As it says on the first page of the handout, photography is a visual language, the operative word being language. You are trying to say something with images. You don't have to decide what you are saying/are trying to say/until you are finished with the project. You can start out by starting out -- just taking photographs.

It also says to join the blog and look at it weekly and contribute. It said that on the white board and was written on the templet for the book (as was the request to look up JR photographer.) Five people did that, plus my friend, Susan, who lives in Portland and is interested in the ideas of this course and will undoubtedly do some work along with it.

It also says PROACTIVE (in capitals)...please don't wait around for an idea.

On page 2, it says that the typed page about your first idea (project) is due next Monday. (I think the date is wrong..but it's next Monday.)

I think that I had asked each of you, during that first class, what your ideas for a first project were, however vague they might be...as well as what you'd worked on in the past.

On page 2 is a fairly long paragraph of suggestions for possible projects...a range of potential ideas, but in no way meaning that you should pick one of them..

and then there is a small paragraph about how it's better to do something beyond your capacity...that echoes risk, challenge...  (you are free to ignore this)

and on page 3, it says that the first due day is March 5th. That would be for a project that will be finished by then so that you can start on a new one, or a project that you'll continue to work on. (You may also do smaller projects so that you have more than 1 or 2... )

Another component of studio classes has always been writing and reading (though you may have had classes that don't require this.) I think that Margaret has readings, discussions and writing. I used to take care of this by requiring visits to two photo shows and two papers about them. But.... this time we are following a thread of ideas that will vary, but is starting out with street art...JR is first...(and gorilla work.)  Then about Zoe Strauss...I'll have a reading for that, but you are supposed to look at her blog, many times more than once.  I'M WRITING about what you're supposed to do IN THE BLOG...

as the handout says, attendance is crucial and contribution to class discussion is important. I realize that English is not the native language for some of you, but please make an effort. We really appreciate hearing about your ideas....everyone's ideas... the whole point is finding different opinions, discussing them...

the small group project which will take very little of your time will, hopefully, be a pop-up show or a gorilla show...that's NOT the focus of the class, but as interesting spin-off from thinking about JR, Zoe Strause, etc. It will involve agreement/participation by most of you, finding a basic idea, site, etc. OR most of you agreeing to another group undertaking.

IT'S IMPORTANT NOT TO FORGET ABOUT THE CLASS UNTIL MONDAY... I realize all of you are fiercely busy with class, probably with one or two jobs, late hours, lots of pressure, I do understand, but the drawback of a once-a-week class is forgetting about it or doing the work on Sun. night or Mon. morning..

I am not trying to say anything with these photographs. I was just having fun, walking along, taking photographs without stopping...I often use my camera for amusement and don't have anything to do with the images, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy taking them. This is an easy luxury in digital. It wasn't when I used film!  I have a great time making small compositions out of graffiti where I walk the dogs...
 I've always liked the cat walk. or catwalk. and have walked on it 50,000 times. This time I took photographs upside down. But, when I imported them, they were all right-side-up on preview..., bummer... but in photoshop, they were as I intended them.

Though I've done very, very little traveling, I was in Stockholm during the winter, where people stood against building in the sun, at lunch time...this reminded me of that.. I took 3 photographs and chose the one with the most 'stuff' (shadow lines) on the right angle...I didn't even remember that I could have used the telephoto. I like wide angles..

so, that's done...

I had an interesting talk with Rose about the TED awards and the how many interesting IDEAS are represented on that site, (in addition to the fact that JR actually won the 2011 prize, $100,000 and a wish.) I don't know the man who was teaching the class that required researching in that area, but he started out with Ted Johnson as the focal point. So I will go to TED and watch his lecture... since I was caught up with her enthusiasm...hopefully she'll talk about it and about developing a paper over the semester...

I hope you all understood that I was not only interested in what you were trying to say in the work you showed from past classes, but, more importantly, trying to talk about how projects might be developed from a particular visual style or idea embedded in an image.  (I did NOT mean that you should chose to develop one of those projects...)  

For instance, the self-portrait with the pearly, bubble necklace involved shape (as sculptural shape of the body), traditional emblems of  being a young, beautiful, female, the comparison of  her skin color to the sheen of the necklace to the hair in back (tones of black, white and gray, glisten, texture, pattern? ).

Someone could take element of those ideas and use them in other ways...to define ideas about beauty, being male/female/transgender/age/race...what might be understood/interpreted by a photograph that defines itself by photographing sections of a person.

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