Photograph by Tiffiney Yazzie
Image of my work & I from the Pulsewidth show!
Throughout all of my years of participating on the Facebook network, I have never really appreciated the tool until this week. I had always used the site to talk to friends from Chicago that I didn’t see regularly, sadly be reminded (because I forget) of people’s birthdays, and look at photographs of myself and others. This week, I have found a new appreciation for “The Facebook.”
I decided to make a hand made book of the snowboarding portraits that I have been taking this semester (some from the show last week and some others). I am friends with most of the people I photographed on Facebook- a way to make appointments for photographing, and just befriending in general. This week, I realized that I needed a lot of information about the snowboarders that I hadn’t received when photographing them; (such as their addresses, age, position on mountain, which mountain they mostly ride on, and how long they have been riding for). On a very short notice, I needed a good amount of information and turned to Facebook for help.
All in one day I received all of the information necessary to put this handmade book together, and without Facebook this really would not have been possible. Most of the them do not have cell phones, and those that do I do not have their phone numbers. They also live far away and it would not be possible for me to go physically contact them. Facebook really did it’s job this week- thus I have found a new appreciation for the device.
The in class discussion on the articles read regarding ethics and porn held to be pretty interesting. I am particularly interested in the article “They Know What Boys Want” by Alex Morris.
The whole concept of being able to post nude, or “revealing” images of oneself in public is made easier through the internet. I wouldn’t say that nude/provocative images didn’t exist before the internet, because they defiantly did, but the internet allows for a different kind of access (a more public -clearly- and easier access.) I do think that more younger children are now posting to the internet than ever before, because it is so easy to access, but I would also argue that kids being “scandalous” and participating in nude encounters is nothing new. It is just made more public these days because of the internets easy access.
This being said, I do find a bit of discomfort thinking that 11 year old children are looking at porn, as for I still like to think that some innocence remains. And it isn’t to say that porn is a bad thing in general, I do think it has its pros and cons in society, but I also think that eleven years old is a bit young. As discussed in class, males constantly engaging in born tends to set expectations for a males perception of women. When a young male child watches porn consistently, it is engrained in his mind that the porn “stars” are what women are like, “or how they should be.” (a false expectation.) On the other hand, when young girls see what young boys expect from them, it enables a lot of pressure to be placed on the girls, ultimately resulting in the images represented in the article. It is a constant cycle of pull and push, and unfortunately the age of the cycle is just getting younger.
By no means am I “technophobia internet scared.” The internet is a great tool for our society. But I do think that with everything, there are things to watch out for, or at least be aware of and choose how one wants to use the tool.
Another article looked at in class, “No Boo-boos or Cowlicks? Only in School Pictures,” by Sarah Maslin is another good outlet for discussion. Growing up, every year, class photos at school were taken of me for the yearbook. I honestly vaguely remember even getting ready for the photos, (picking out what I would wear, or how my hair would be). I do remember my mom telling me that I should wear a shirt that didn’t have words on it because they could be cut off in the picture, which I think was good advice, but I really don’t remember the photos being a big deal. (until my senior year photo).
After reading the article, I think that it is sad that society feels the need to photoshop childhood memories out of images. I may be over reacting when I say “childhood memories” because the memories are still there and they won’t just vanish from photoshop, BUT I do think that the little nicks and knacks from childhood should come through in the photographs. I do understand that a child could really feel bad about themselves if they didn’t like their school picture, (due to the way they were treated by other kids too) but I blame society for this. The fact that there is even a “reason given” to feel bad, enables the child to have all of these expectations and baggage that comes with a school photograph.
Come see the show!
Opening is Tomorrow, (Tuesday) 6-8p in Gallery 100!
Assignment 1 (Found Book)
1) Describe how you found your book–give us an idea of where and how you searched. How happy are you with what you found. If you don’t like your book very much I would STRONGLY suggest that you go back and find one that you really like. I am, I’m not kidding, going to grade you based on how good the book is that you found. Some of you clearly did not put in enough effort.
2) Choose a classmates found book and critique it.
Part 2 (Your Book)
3) Write a review of your classmates book. Going up on the Blogroll, review the person whose name appears above yours. You will be graded on the quality of your engagement.
4) Discuss how you made the decisions to create the book you created. How do you feel about the result? What will you do differently the next time? Would you consider putting this book up for the public to see? Why or why not? What would make you change your mind?
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1) When searching to find a book of an artist that I previously was unaware of, I made the decision that I wanted to find a book of portraiture. I make portraits and I wanted to find another artist that made portraits that I enjoyed. I started the search off in the blurb bookstore, changing my filters from “fine art photography,” to “photography,” to “portraiture” and so on. After 700 entries per category I realized that this was probably not the best place for me to search for a book of portraits that I liked. (I think blurb is a great tool, and I am sure that there is a book of portraits on blurb that I enjoy (Betsy this is excluding your books on Blurb) but I wasn’t finding anything, and I was getting frustrated.) I then sought out flak photo, a website I often visit in search of new work to look at. One issue I often have with flak photo is that I really REALLY enjoy the main image that is displayed for each artist in the search grid, but once I actually go to the artists website, or vehicle for displaying the rest of the body of work, I am often disappointed. In the search through flak photo websites and artists, I finally arrived at Chris Verene.
Chris Verene is an artist, a Jewish artist, from a suburb of Chicago – all of these factors initially got me interested.
When I looked at his body of work on his website entitled Family, I was hooked. Unfortunately, Verene’s website only features 5 images from this book, and I really did want to see what was in the book. So I ordered it off Amazon. When ordering Family, I also saw that Verene had published a book in collaboration with The Jewish Museum in New York, which also was of interest to me, so I ordered that one as well.
Family arrived first in the mail and I was really surprised. The book is HUGE. It is 100 + pages, and pretty large (coffee table large.) I guess I wasn’t expecting the book to be this dense in length, but it is a documentation of Verene’s family life over the past 20 something? years- so I guess it makes sense. The book is long, but that factor really doesn’t bother me. Verene writes on the borders of his photographs, something that initially got me interested in Jim Goldberg’s Rich and Poor work, (another great book to look into.) Verene’s images are funny and sad and dark and overall, I am very glad I decided to purchase the book. There is a lot to look at and spend time with, but Verene takes a unique approach in documenting his ever so ironic family life.
The Jewish Identity Project arrived in the mail next, and I was surprised when I first opened it. I had no idea that it was a compilation of different artist’s work (not just Veren’s) and it had a lot of text- which I have sadly not read yet. BUT- Verene’s work happens to still be my favorite in the compilation, and I still need to spend some more time with it.
The process of looking for a book of portraits was hard at times, but I am really glad that I discovered Verene’s work. After finding him, I realized it was kind of weird that I hadn’t known of him before- he had his book published by Twin Palms, had given a lecture at Columbia College which I saw on Julie Anand’s bulletin board after I realized who he was, and has had numerous shows. In a way, Verene is not so much a diamond in the rough, as for he has been discovered somewhat- BUT he was still new to me.
I think a good way to go about finding an artist that one likes is by searching through blogs, other artists links on their websites, and websites such as flak photo.
3) Review of Jamie Bellar’s book, “Without.”
– – “An experiment of what happens to an image once it is without its main attraction….” – Jamie Bellar
Jamie took an interesting approach to the blurb book assignment. Images taken out of their context, and then aspects of the images taken out of the images, and placed on their own plain black space served for an engaging process. The soft cover and size of the book were good decisions for the content, and blurb did a good job of translating the colors of Jamie’s images (something that did not hold true for all of the blurb books.) Some of the pages in Jamie’s book were more successful than others; such as the crayon image, the piece of fruit, and the paint bucket. The car and the birds do not work as well. I also am interested to see another version of the book where just the pieces of the images are taken and put onto a black background, just to evaluate the pieces of the images themselves (away from their original contexts- – Although this could also be achieved in the same book form with more of a separation between the environment (image) that the pieces come from and the pieces themselves.) Overall, I think Jamie’s book was one of the more successful ones of the class. I would recommend a tighter edit and perhaps a couple more images, but it was really nice to look through and offered a further examination into the main points in images.
4) When the assignment of making a blurb book was presented, I knew immediately the work I wanted to put in book form. Last semester I started making portraits, and got hooked. I really am obsessed with photographing people, and ever since the Fall of 2010, I have been collecting more and more portraits of people. I know that the portraiture work is still new and I don’t know if I really understand yet how it fully goes together, or if they go together, or what they mean, BUT, I do know that I had made 16X20 prints on the wall last semester, and wanted to see how the book functioned in book form. I decided to go with the “Large landscape hardcover” partially because I later after ordering the book realized that I didn’t know how to fully work the software (I was trying to put my large scans into the small Landscape book and the images were getting cropped by the template), but I also liked seeing the work large, and this was the largest size in the blurb book store. I liked the idea of having a very “clean” looking book, which is why I went with the white cover and very minimal design element throughout the book. I do think that the white hard covers from blurb, without jackets, get really dirty easily, but I have also realized that they wipe off pretty easily, and I do think they look nice. I struggled with a title for this book. I really need to work on writing titles for pieces and works, but I also know that I am sick of seeing “untitled” as a title, so this is something I need to work on. Overall, the quality of the blurb book is not great, but I do like the results that arrived. I am pretty happy with the sequence for the images that I chose, and I am not so sure about the choice of font (I have the peoples names written under each one’s images).
I would not put this book up quite yet for the public to see, although by no means am I ashamed of it or do not like it. I really do like it, but I think that there are little things that need to be fixed. (working up the images to a consistent images quality, changing the font, changing the title, and possibly making the images larger on the pages.)
Overall, I think this exercise was very helpful. Eventually, when I feel like I have made the appropriate changes that the book needs, I would possibly put it up for sale on the websites (of course, I really do not expect anyone to buy it (maybe my dad) but it would be cool.)
A few questions to consider:
1) Can you develop your own sense of ‘hot’ and “cool” media? What do you think Koten was trying to extract when he put “George Bush” in one category and “Bill Clinton” in another?
2) A few passages to think about:
“McLuhan also contemplates media content in a structural way: the content of each new medium – he observes – is another previous medium.”
“McLuhan felt that debates regarding media programming and specific content were actually diverting attention away from the structural impact that new forms of media have. ‘The medium is the message/massage/mass age etc.’ is a warning to this effect. However, McLuhan never advocated that the content of media should be ignored or was unimportant. He was just not very interested in debates that are often driven from moral perspectives and thus polarised and providing no new insights.”
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1) Hamid von Koten’s perception on ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ media is a means for discussion. Koten pretty much sums up ‘hot’ media to be less interactive and ‘cool’ media to be more interactive. He mentions multiple examples of ‘hot’ vs ‘cool’ media, which some of them I do not agree with, but he specifically places “George Bush” as a ‘hot’ media, and “Bill Clinton” as a ‘cool’.
I think Koten is referring to the relationship that each president had with the country during their presidency. Bill Clinton, ‘good ol Bill’ had a personable relationship with the country (during a prosperous time), and cultures perception of him was pretty positive. Although his life became outwardly personal (the affairs), he still maintained a humanistic quality. He was able to come off as he was just human, and quite frankly what does his personal affairs have to do with him as a president anyways.
On the other hand, Geroge Bush is placed under the ‘hot’ media because there was a lot more going on politically during Bush’s presidency, and his relationship with the country was much different. His overall presidency could be seen as less personal than Clintons, causing Koten to place him in the ‘hot’ media category.
The bottom line that Koten is getting at, I think, is that overall the country felt closer to Clinton than they did to Bush, allowing more interaction with Clinton, making him a ‘cool’ media.