This week focused on the elements of photography, how we can improve and experiment with our own practice, and a bit of photo manipulation. I’ve seen a bunch of wonderful creations by my peers on these assignments.
Elements of Photography
From the Ted-Ed we watched, and the readings we interacted with, I gained a firmer grasp on what makes a strong foundation for a photographer. Some of the concepts I had learned by taking art through middle and high school, but it was refreshing to see the principles explained from a purely photographical standpoint. I found the source material well written and insightful; sources I will definitely refer to in the future on the subject.
The main points we focused on were:
~SELECTION (be deliberate in what your subjects are. Think of some ways that you can work with it to produce something wonderful)
~CONTRAST (can determine the mood of an image. Can also be used to make a picture more vibrant or faded, helping to lead the eye around the picture)
~PERSPECTIVE (different angles produce different results. Experiment with it to see what sorts of newly styled images you can produce)
~DEPTH (makes your image more interesting/ highlights the focal point of the image)
~BALANCE (humans like symmetry; by keeping it balanced, it’s more attractive to the viewer)
~MOMENT (taking your time when capturing a photo to get that perfect shot)
~LIGHTING (sets a mood or tone, and is a useful tool to establish focus or contrast)
~PLACEMENT (how to establish the focus without making the image congested or flat/ use of foreground and background)
In my reflection on my experience with photography, I mentioned how I had learned to improve my selection of taking photos and my patience at finding the frame where all of the elements I want to capture line up. This doesn’t mean that I strain myself to achieve perfection; instead, I wait until it feels right and then I click and move on.
This method of taking photos is called ‘Contemplative Photography’. I go more into depth in my previous blog post, and on how it’s helped me take more artistic photos (based on my primarily art-focused background of photography). I’ve noticed how well my images have improved over time as well. Thanks to the contemplative photography activities I did in the spring semester, I have become more selective and have a better sense of being intentional when I take a picture. I don’t rush myself, and instead, take the time to find a way to frame it to my liking. (For more examples of Contemplative Photography, see here)
An assignment we did to incorporate what we learned, as well as to experience a creative challenge, was a photo blitz. Personally, I enjoy the idea of being challenged with a prompt because it gives you a guideline that you can bend to how you interpret it. It was especially fun for me because I did it during a work shift when no guests were there, so I had to be creative given a limited selection of space and objects to work with.
With the objective to reach 12 stars, it pushed me to challenge myself with some assignments. My favorite one was to splice two images together, something I had always thought would be fun. I drew inspiration from an Instagram account called @cats_in_food, where they photoshop cats into foods and desserts. It’s super cool to try and find the cat in some since they’re so well inserted. Mine didn’t turn out nearly as well as it was my first time trying something like this, but I had a ton of fun with it.
One of my other ones, one that ties into the 80s theme, is an assignment where I had to share the plot of a movie with a 10 gif limit. It was an interesting challenge since I’d done a similar assignment before, but instead of a minimum, I had a cap. I was also telling a short story before rather than a movie, so this assignment was more challenging so I could put the plot of a film into only 10 shortly animated images.
The last two I did felt more simple, and personally I wish I took more time in making the collage assignment since it had the potential to be super creative (as Melody’s example represents wonderfully). The assignment I did was a collage of a pet or loved one that displayed the subject’s personality. I feel like I should’ve added more edits or been a little more selective with placement and of which photos to use; but in the moment, I just thought ‘hey a collage, that’s easy”. I may, in my free time, take another swing at it and make it a separate post (plus my Kingsley deserves a higher quality piece). I did like how I didn’t edit the photos and kept the raw feel of it to them; I have a tendency to over-edit photos after I take them, a reason why I try to take more time in taking the photo–so it doesn’t require editing.
The last visual assignment was a simple project where I created a house from Game of Thrones in it. I was able to get pretty creative with the name, what it represents, and the aesthetic I wanted the house to reflect. I used to create characters within this universe in the past, so it felt nice to give them a unique house to belong to.
The three daily creates I did this week were pretty fun to make. The first was a celebration of Dot Day, a day I didn’t know existed. It really made me think of all the ways dots are a part of our everyday lives. Layers of colors in a single-pixel create a light, markers and pens cover tiny dotted spaces on the pages we draw on. They’re hidden everywhere.
My second one was a reflection of my experience in college thus far. My tweet sounded a little poetic as it was just random sentences thrown down. I was doing it in between classes so I guess it had a reflection of how college really was going for me in the moment; just a big to-do list and not enough time in the day. It was nice to share my thoughts on it though.
My favorite daily create (and my 3rd one) was to share an idea for a trend that could be picked up today. I immediately thought of what made a trend or a fad; what made things become popular. I thought of silly bands, of pokemon cards, and everything that we used to trade on the playground. I realized that collecting is a big part of what makes a trend. You want to have the whole set because everyone wants one. If you have more you are leading the trend. Then I thought of my mochi rabbit that was on my desk and how my friends all like to pick it up and play with it (it’s a kid’s toy but it’s super cool). My suite decided we all wanted some, and I wanted more, so we had a plan to buy a big pack off Amazon and split it. So I took this idea of cute, squishy animals and ran with it! It could easily become a trend with how cute they are. And the varieties they have makes for a good collecting/trading scene (much like silly bands).
In summary, I enjoyed the photo blitz and the overall creative challenges from the visual assignments. Photography is always a fun hobby to take part in and through this week I discovered more about my photography style than I knew before. Being able to see photography and learn it outside of an art-centric perspective was very enlightening and sharing my experiences and ideas about it was very exciting.