Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Summer Fun

Just a few notices of interest...
...and just because school is out for the summer doesn't mean you can't keep the dialogue going...

A few things to do this summer:

Frida Kahlo
June 14 - September 28, 2008

Chihuly at the de Young
Dale Chihuly
de Young Museum
June 14 - September 28, 2008

Eve Sussman
West Coast premiere of her "The Rape of the Sabine Women"
Begins May 1, 2008 through June 27, 2008
One of my favorite's a blurb from the SF MOMA web:

Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation, 2006, 82 min.
Fridays, 3:00 p.m.
Phyllis Wattis Theater
SFMOMA is pleased to host the West Coast premiere of the acclaimed video musical The Rape of the Sabine Women. The work recasts Rome's founding myth of abduction and peaceful settlement as a chaotic fall from midcentury idealism. Constructed as a 1960s period piece, the film presents the Romans as government agents, the Sabines as butchers' daughters, and their union as an affluent, International Style idyll. Inverting the Roman source, the piece tracks not the origins of empire, but the end of utopia. The May 01 and 02 programs feature live musical performances, and the May 03 program includes a panel discussion.

Portions of this film contain nudity and violent imagery that may not be appropriate for all viewers. This film is not rated.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Celebrate Worldwide Pinhole Camera Day!!

Bus Obscura tours & Build your own pinhole camera festival @ Rayko
(SOMA, ie. South of Market Area)
FREE at Rayko Photo Center
Sunday, April 27
11:00 am to 5:00 pm

RayKo Celebrates WorldWide Pinhole Photography Day - Sunday, April 27,
2008 (11am-5pm) | Bus Obscura Rides (12pm-3pm) | Meet the artists
(3pm-5pm) Demos | Build your own pinhole kits | Two gallery shows. As a
unique celebration of WorldWide Pinhole Photography Day, FREE bus rides on
the oh-so-unique Bus Obscura will be available on a first come first
serve basis only on Sunday, April 27, 12pm-3pm. The Bus Obscura is a
passenger bus converted to a multiple aperture camera obscura using a rear
projection technique that allows the individual images to flow into one
another. As the bus moves down the street a 360 degree animated
panorama is created inside.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Final Critique Schedule

Hey all,

The schedule for final critique will look like this:
(Please also consider this the order.)

Monday, May 5th


Wednesday, May 7th


Please note***
Plan on spending an hour after class participating in cleaning up the classroom and lab facilities. We'll be splitting the duties among all three photo courses. If you can't make it for that hour you must make other arrangements with me.

You're all cooking along - I can't wait to see what the next few weeks bring.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Schedule for Monday, April 21

Hey all,

Monday the 21st of April will be an open lab day. Please bring work to do.

The Polaroid shipper didn't get our film out on schedule, so we will use the time
to work on final projects and meet one on one to discuss the next steps in folks'

The readings are still due on Wednesday - bring digital cameras as well if you
have one.

Enjoy your Sunday,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Frank Gohlke responds to our project

Wow! I was excited to find this email in my inbox. We will most certainly send him a copy of our project! Read on:

Dear Ms. Visser,

One of my computers is down, so I don't know if I responded to your message of Feb. 11. As you can imagine, it's very gratifying to learn that something one has done has found its way to
people to whom it is useful. Thank you for letting me know. It's a reminder to me of what the whole enterprise is about, of what makes an artist's absorption in his or her personal obsessions more than just self-indulgence. It really matters to any of us when we encounter thoughts that echo or clarify intimations we ourselves have had about our common experience; it reassures us that we're not as alone as we sometimes feel.

Please feel free to use the essay in your publication in whatever way is best for your purposes. I'm quite curious to see the results of the project. I hope you will consider sending me a copy of the book when it is finished. My address is: 3041 N. Gaia Pl., Tucson, AZ 85745.

Thanks again,

Frank Gohlke

Monday, March 31, 2008

Tangled in the Web

Ok, we all know how easy it is to get off course while hunting something down on the web.... one interesting image, and I'm chasing down one rabbit hole after another. Anyway, I was looking up stuff by Lygia Clark and found this blog... I don't know how long this post will be there, but you might enjoy it.... I suggest skimming the essay...

Thanks for all the wishes of support for installing the show.


Sunday, March 30, 2008


At the SF MOMA I found several images to be compelling. However, I came away with questions regarding how imagery, (since we were looking at photography) becomes MOMA worthy art. I greatly enjoyed looking at the "small wars" which was visually compelling. We, here at home, do not know what it is like on the ground in a war zone. This show helped bring the of loneliness and abstraction of war home. However, the more I am exposed to "high" or critically acclaimed art I leave feeling like I missed the point. I don't understand what makes an image MOMA worthy, rather than IKEA worthy? 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Project Proposal:

I am interested in the notion of presence through absence, history, and the relationship between place and experience. For this project I will be using my house as a way to begin considering environmental space/structure in relation to psychological space/structure. This will initially involve photographing primarily the structure of interior spaces. Through thinking about perceptual fragmentation, I would consider converting these spaces to various installations. Other sites, domestic and otherwise, may become more relevant to the project. I will present the images as a linear sequence in print form and will use the 4x5 camera and both color and black and white film. I anticipate that the result of the project will challenge it’s initial logic and the production of images will successively encourage more nuanced questions.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kate's Revised Proposal

After much thinking, I have boiled it down to working on an environmental portrait of my self through my family. I am going to present the project in a book. My plan is to create a portrait of my family, and myself, that is a reflection on family and identity. I don't want to make a "family album" I want the project to be a deeper exploration into family/identity utilizing my family for images. I would like the viewer to be able to feel a connection to the work through reflection. I want to explore the connection with the past, and how it has helped shape the future. The first few images of the book will be of objects and images of past family members, the later part of the book will be image of me. Accompanying the images will be text, probably in the form of poetry. These are the only three objects of my Grandmother's (my namesake) that I own, she died before I was born. However, through my mother I feel a strong connection to her.  ~P. Kate

Monday, March 3, 2008

Revised Proposal

After learning about the waist view-finder medium format cameras, I have decided to take my photos using the Bronica. I am still going to present the finalized photos in a grid format along with short texts that will be type-written on the same sized paper as the photo prints. I will be taking photos that deal purely with the compositional elements, specifically that of the grid, and surreptitiously taken spy photos of people that exude a sense of loneliness, longing, vulnerability, and defense mechanisms.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Revised Project Proposal

After much deliberation, I finally decided to focus on something completely different from the "creating food sculpture" idea.
I was inspired by an assignment from my Digital Imaging class about nostalgia, and got very excited about that project. So I decided to use that assignment as a starting point for this class.

My current project idea is this: I want to create a portrait of a specific day in my past in pictures. I have a photographic memory from a certain day during the summer of 2002 when I was 15. I was in love with someone 11 years my senior. He and I, as well as many of my extended family members, went on a rafting trip on a river together. This day remains nostalgic to me, because although I was very happy at the time, I realize now what the real circumstances were. The day was full of judgement, tension, unspoken things, and negative thoughts hid behind a facade of smiles.
My goal is to recreate various situations that occurred that day, but reshape them according to what went unspoken. I want to expose the feelings that were hidden under the surface in my photos. I plan to use my memory of the day and recreate different scenes from that day, but add the emotions that I feel now and push it to the extreme in my props and representing feeling cold with a big pile of ice, and wearing blindfolds to show how I couldn't see the truth that day.
I have concrete ideas drawn out for the different shots already.
I want to work in both black and white as well as color, to see what works best for this project. I am going to switch between digital and medium format cameras, with some 4x5 too. I plan do do mostly self-portraiture with additional models when necessary.
I hope this makes sense...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't miss this show:
Gilbert & George 
de Young Museum
through May 18, 2008.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

a modest proposal (not the baby eating one, sorry)

So I've been having some trouble with what had been my proposal. I decided to stop panicking and just write about what I REALLY want to do for this project. I suppose this is an appropriate place to post it. Feedback is greatly appreciated, I have no set images in my mind, all of this is still in progress.

new proposal?

I will not begin with a meaning; just like a good novel, I believe that the metaphors aren’t added by the author. The author just presents an image and the reader takes it in as they will. Intention does not always translate. All the creator can do is present something that is pleasing or moving to them in some way, and watch what the audience does with that information. On that note, I continue to find myself wrapped in the idea of the formal portrait. I want to completely utilize the 4x5 camera’s selective focus. I want to see what the camera is really capable of creating.

I like the production of portraiture. I like lighting, I like posing models, I like conceptualizing images without “meaning”. By “meaning” I mean some sort of intended message for the reader. If I wanted to tell them something about society, or life, or humanity, I would just tell them. I create photographs as a way of capturing the imaginary world in which my opinion is truth. It is a biased look through my own eyes. Photography adds a level of distance between word and listener, similar to how metaphor works in poetry. The space between photographer and viewer also grows with each layer of absurdity.

I continue to come back to the formal portrait. What if something wasn’t quite right about a fashion portrait? What if the woman who exists through the photographer’s eyes to advertise an outfit, exists to destroy it, exists to make the viewer not want to buy. Or what if you could see the advertised woman come undone? This is not commentary on the fashion industry, or on media exploitation of femininity. This is a simple documentation, with the 4x5 camera, of what happens when we dissolve, mentally, physically, spiritually, or otherwise. Abstracted by the format, the setting, and the pre-conceptualization, the viewer will be forced to not only search for a message, but to imagine a plot for a storyboard. In this way, the viewer becomes the creator. This becomes the pith of the image. What does the viewer make of it? How can I distort perception? I hope to explore these questions, and test to see just how far I can distance myself from the image, without losing control of it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dena's Proposal

In the past twenty years society has experienced an incredible pull into the age of technology, where we are forever improving and miniaturizing. Now available are wafer thin computers and MP3s that let you hold thousands of songs in the palm of your hand. It is in our very nature to evolve and constantly use old information to develop new ways to “improve” or simplify our lives; as the computer was an improvement of the typewriter and the MP3 the evolution of the record. With every “improvement” there is a discarded primitive version that is abandoned for the newest product. What I hope to investigate through this project is what actually happens to the discarded or unused technology that lies to waste as a result of our constantly growing demand for newer, better products. I plan to photograph places in the Bay area such as recycling plants and auto scrap yards that deal with obsolete computer equipment and other technologies. I plan to use 35mm slide film and to project the images. Although I like the idea of photographing such subjects with a 4X5 camera, I do not think it will be practical enough to use in such locations and would best be shot with my own Nikon N80 camera and 35 mm film. In using such methods I hope to give my photographs the feeling of abandonment that exists in the unnoticed waste and refuse of the past.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alexis Pike

Alexis was the opener for John Divola last Friday at SFAI. Her project, Human Nature, touches on an interesting juxtaposition of nature and its representation in her native Idaho.

Flying into Oakland this morning.

This was the sky this morning flying into a lovely overcast day here in the Bay Area. I hope you all had a productive weekend. Just a reminder on a couple of fronts:

Check out the show currently up at the Mills Museum:
We Interrupt Your Program

Gail Wight and Anne Walsh will be speaking tomorrow at 7:30 in Danforth.

Don't forget to upload your image edits to the blog. If you're having trouble, holler!
That's all for now.

Friday, February 15, 2008

You Go, Modesto!

I was a little late getting there, but it was well worth the effort to see Modesto's innovative ideas. The shallot skin and mushrooms were my favorites, but all of it was intriguing.

I don't know about you, but I always feel like I know a person better after I've seen their work... so it was nice to meet you, Modesto :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Old Work

I'm posting this as a reference to myself and Deirdre but to anyone else who's interested here's an overview of selected photography projects from the last 5 years.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

project proposal

This semester I plan to continue my investigation with growth and perception. I plan on using a medium format camera and going out every day to photograph plant-life, I plan on also trying to do this project in 4x5. I am going to use the available light in the morning for my project. I like the idea of this project in a square format because it draws attention away from the shape of the image and brings your attention to what the photograph is about. I would like to show change in the most obvious way it presents itself to us.

Project Proposal

For my semester long project,  I want to take old Hackneyed phrases, "Old sayings," that have turned into modern cliche's and make them into a photo representation.  I want to make these as LITERAL as possible so that there is an element of humor to it. When I say old sayings I mean:  A penny for your thoughts, Don't throw the Baby out with the bath water... things like that. Ideally, I'd like to have 15 prints... but could be... out of sight.  I'm still working on a timeline for this project. 


I want the photos to have a vintage macabre to them, and as I said, I want them to be way literal.  So when I say: A man after my own heart, or Break a leg.... you get the idea. 
I would like to use the 4 x 5 camera for this project. Last year I tried to use the 4 x 5 but I got so frustrated that I stopped and didn't even give it a second chance. However, this year I really want the quality of pictures that only the 4 x 5 can give me. I need the sharpness as well as the versatility of the camera. I really like the idea of making a picture versus taking a picture. I still don't know about locations yet, somewhere in San Fran and back home.... wherever the picture calls for. I hope to have 7 prints by midterm.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

As Far As I Could Get - John Divola Lecture at SFAI

Friday, February 15, 2008
San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall 800 Chestnut Street San Francisco, Ca (at Jones Street)
7:30 pm

Introductory Presentation by Alexis Pike

$10.00 general admission $5.00 students with ID tickets available at the door

Project Proposal

I know that everyone was completely confused by my project proposal last week. This is the newly simplified and clarified version!

I have decided to focus my project on creating fake food and taking photos of it. I'm going to focus on this one idea for now, because I can grow from there, and at least this way, I can start from somewhere. Today I did a photo shoot with some cupcakes I made out of vending machine balls, shaving cream, and little red marbles. I made them, then proceeded to wander all over campus with them and putting them in different places. Chairs, stairs, woods and grass were some of my locations. I had a lot of fun with it. So far, my project seems to be taking on the theme of Amelie's gnome photos - where Amelie travels all over, taking photos of her gnome wherever she goes. I'm researching different food ingredients right now, because I might want to add text later on to my images. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with that.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

fashion photography

I love this artist!
Marie Hochhaus

project proposal- julie

The part of my idea that’s still forming is where I can insert myself in this project. Last semester, I related to my project through poetry, accompanying texts that gave context to my photographs. This semester, I think one I can become present in these formal portraits by adding a literary element, perhaps in the style or character portrayed by the model. One thought is to do modern, symbolic, fashion-inspired interpretations of the characters in a book, such as The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I could really do any book, or play, but the general idea is to take the images I associate with these characters in my mind, and to translate them to film. I’m still working on the specifics, but I’d love to explore the meaning behind these fictional people.

My current plan is to shoot exclusively in black and white 4x5 film, through the monorail view camera. I hope to end up with fairly large images, maybe 11x14. I think the size will be small enough to not be overwhelming, but large enough to show detail in dress and facial expression in my models. I hope to continue with the process I used last semester, in scanning the negatives and printing onto glossy paper in the digital lab. Assuming things go according to plan, I’ll have the images planned and a couple final images printed by the midterm critique.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Preparation for the senior show is my main focus for this semester. I’m pretty sure that I’ll have some photography in the show; it is also a possibility that some sculpture will also be included, but I’m even more undecided about that.
I already have at least 80 photos from which to choose, so taking more pictures isn’t necessary at this point, with two exceptions, possibly three. As I mentioned, the sculpture might not be in the show, but photos of the sculpture might work. Another possibility is that one or two favorite photos already taken may need to be retaken to achieve the look I want. The third possibility is that I might want the creative outlet.
Presentation is my primary concern. Changing the scale, grouping, saturation, cropping and media are some of the issues I expect to be working with. All of my images are digital.

Project Proposal

Right now I’m photographing old mattresses that people dump on the street. I became interested in them through documenting the grime that my housemates live in especially in relation to very intimate objects. Has a mattress become so disgusting because it was so necessary and thus used as much as it possibly could have been? Or was it the opposite, neglect of the object? I’m also interested in the mattress itself as a reusable entity; what is it about mattresses that makes them so unappealing to have a used one when other items like clothing that have generally come to even more close contact with the body are so easy for people to come to terms with wearing used? I’m also interested in the prints that are on mattresses, the prints and colors no one sees until the mattress is dead in a gutter (which is why I need to photograph in color). I also love the human shapes they tend to take, the way they lean and bend in a tired sort of way. I am used a digital SLR to document these mattresses because I need to be able to shoot them on demand whenever I run into one because I have gone back to shoot a mattress and had it be gone, also this way I can shoot as many as possible and since the only camera I own myself is a digital that why I am using it. I have also been documenting the city and intersections where I find the mattresses and will maybe use that information to make a mattress-map or something else later on.

Because we are learning the 4x5, and medium format but I can’t really apply that to my current project I divulged separate projects I would like to also start. I would like to take portraits of the back of people’s heads. This would be a studio set up which seems good for a beginner user of the 4x5. In the past year I’ve become more acutely sensitive to relationship changes in my life. I’m interested in taking portraits of the back of people I was once close to (either in real rapport or in my mind (ie someone I looked up to but didn’t interact with much)). I’m thinking about how we lose memory of people that were once a part of our daily life, and when a break in a relationship is against our will or more natural- sometimes situations just cut us off from someone completely and sometimes we drift apart gradually. In this series I would have to contact and meet up with people whom I’ve lost touch with over the years. I would like it to be in color to differentiate more easily between the heads.

I have been spending a lot of time in the Sunset district of San Francisco. My boyfriend lives on the last avenue before the ocean so when I go to see him I am riding my bike pretty much the entire width of the City and seeing each avenue in the sunset. In the sunset there are no front lawns, and the front “yard” where normally you’d expect a lawn to be, is completely paved, few trees, and all the houses look the same. Ironically it is know as the area of the city that on one side is bordered by the beach on another, by Golden Gate Park, and inhabited by a lot of surfers and hippie-types who love to be outside. I would like to document in film (I’m thinking medium format) each avenue (the sunset is roughly defined as the streets numbered 2nd-48th Avenue) from Judah Street. Looking south from Judah, you can see all the way down each avenue for about 2 miles because it’s a grid set up. And, because of the earlier described qualities of this area, every photo would look quite similar.

These last two projects may not get started until after the senior show because of the time crunch.

here's a article from the sfChronicle about that "great-pacific garbage patch"

I want to see photos of this thing...I tried to find it on google earth with no luck.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Self Portraiture

Two things:
First, this is an image from Yosemite. I took it with my Nikon 35mm camera. The light was bright and muted that day.
Second, Here is my proposal.

The content of this project will be an exploration into self-portraiture. I am fascinated by identity and my role in the world surrounding me. I would like to work with 4x5 film, in a studio setting. I will develop the 4x5 negatives in the dark room. I am going to incorporate the digital medium to embellish the self-portraits with digital color pictures that represent other aspects of my life, and up-brining. The final images will be color and black and white, on black matt paper. The images inserted into the black and white portraits will be things such as my orchid’s flowers and agates I collected from the beach. I will photograph them in color with a digital camera. This project will be an exploration of self, and the challenges that arise with self portraiture. There are aspects to my ethnicity that play a large role in my life which deserve expression in an artistic medium. I want the images to be thought provoking, and invite the viewers to reflect upon the external environments that have helped define their view and interpretation of the world. 

There are different ways of exploring the ideas surrounding stereotypes mixed with identity and defining aspects of personality. Being raised in a bi-cultural home environment I have felt different and out of place in main stream American culture.  I would like to use this project to investigate my self image, and my relationship to the aspects of my environs that define me. 

For the time line, by the first critique I plan to have three of my final eight images done by March 12, and at least six done by April 14th.  I am considering making a coffee-table style book with four diptych sets of images. I am going to make the book and use the exterior and page paper as an extension of the investigation of the self and the environment surrounding. I will also research other self portraiture artists to expand my ideas.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New on Juxtapoz

Hey everyone, I'm sure most of you have heard of or are familiar with Juxtapoz magazine- if you aren't you should seriously check it out, it's my favorite and they are online Anyways I mention it because they have a new posting, "Kubikfoto: Interactivating Photography" which leads you to a website. I thought this would be a good site to checkout for anyone who is interested in Digital or interested in making their own website:)

Life is rough

Ok, so the weekend is always too short in my opinion. But rarely, as a student, do I have time to go to the beach. This semester, however, my main focus needs to be my artwork, so the beach is fair territory in my opinion... I was collecting seaweed for my sculpture project :-)

Here is an amazing chunk of driftwood...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lonely ghost...

It was a magical day in Carmel.
There was a misty overcast, which brought out an interesting depth in colors.
The photo was taken with a polaroid land camera using 669 color film.

first post!

This is an image that was taken a couple of years ago. I love it because the camera caught the moving lights, yet focused sharply on my body. A neat effect! No photoshopping involved!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Abelardo Morell lecture

I was soo sorely tempted to go home, what with the downpour and a long day at school, but I managed to get up the energy to go out to SFAI for the Morell lecture Friday night. It was well worth it. He was funny and self-effacing - an excellent lecturer.

With art lectures there's always the outside chance that though you've watched and admired the artist for years, it turns out they're an awful speaker, and the pleasures of looking at their work are never quite the same. And then there are the times when the lecture enriches your understanding of their work - and the looking is all the more pleasureable because you know just a little more about the impulse that informed it.

This was one of those times.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy New Year!

Welcome back and Happy 2008. I hope that your holiday was restful and that you're ready for a productive semester. I'm looking forward to it. Cheers.