Tuesday, February 26, 2008
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 set-up...like 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
Saturday, February 23, 2008
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
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
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
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
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall 800 Chestnut Street San Francisco, Ca (at Jones Street)
Introductory Presentation by Alexis Pike
$10.00 general admission $5.00 students with ID tickets available at the door
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
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
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.
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.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
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
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...