Sunday, November 20, 2011

Capturing the Joys

I absolutely enjoyed making this video and I found it much easier than making a clip using found footage online. Using my own original footage, I was able to create scenes in the exact way that I had pictured them in my head. Finding ideal settings, capturing the right angles and being aware of the time of day and lighting for each scene added an element of excitement to the production. Directing the wonderful people in this video and making specific creative decisions made me feel like a film director for a moment.

From the start I wanted to produce a happy video; one that would make people smile and warm hearts. Capturing genuine smiles and laughter, sunlight, the sky, balloons, smiley faces and hearts, all contributed to the creation of a video that attempts to show the joyful moments in life. Avoiding unwanted noise while filming was a struggle. I forgot to pay particular attention to the sounds around. Luckily the video works better with the music playing over the scenes. 

For this project I attempted to make my own sound track in Garage Band using the keyboard attached to the computer. I was quite impressed with the outcome. In less than an hour I had made something that worked well enough with the images and ambiance in the video. Using the higher keys on the piano and utilizing sounds like "falling stars" I was able to create a sound track that created a happy mood. Using Garage Band and Final Cut Pro for the second time definitely made the whole process easier.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Who knew a minute could be so long?

At the beginning of the project, I thought I would be done with the video within a few hours...I mean, it was only one minute clip. A few hours turned into days. Finding ideal clips for my video was a difficult task. I now see what Duchamp meant by the "act of selection being a form of inspiration as original and significant as any other." In the article, Fair Use by Negitivland, I find it intriguing how many times the words "stealing" and "theft" are referenced.  I think the statement "most artists know that stealing is not only OK, but desirable even crucial to creative evolution," is a very bold statement. I prefer the idea of appropriation or "remixing" as explained by Lawrence Lessig in "Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy."

In two articles, one by Lawrence Lessig and another "Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors," it is clear that the idea of "fair use" is a very vague concept, which can only be settled in the courts. Without any clear boundaries, I found myself worrying greatly about the possibility of my work going against copyright laws. On one hand it is said that "stealing is required for creative evolution" and on the other hand you can end up in court, spending ridiculous amounts of money on a lawyer for doing this very thing. I am very confused.

 Using Final Cut Pro to edit the found clips was a quite hard, but the most difficult thing for me was learning to use Garageband. I am happy with the final outcome, but from now on I will not be critical of other videos. My video serves as a critique of food waste and draws awareness to the famine in Somalia.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oh, the Irony

For a recent project, I did some research on the artist Harrell Fletcher. After doing quite a lot of research on Harrell, I must confess that I am hesitant to use the word "artist" in relation to him. According to Harrell Fletcher, "art is anything valued or appreciated by someone and everyone has the potential to be an artist." In my opinion this general statement creates a situation in which  there is no need to make a distinction between artist and non-artist. If essentially everything is art and everyone is capable of making art, then there is nothing special or rewarding in being referred to as an artist. Additionally many people who have committed their lives to creating art will in a sense have no title.

I also find it  intriguing that Harrell criticizes what we know as the "art world" yet he functions so well in it. He accuses the art world of discriminating yet does the same by denying the validity of what some may refer to as "traditional" art. It may come across as though I am ranting and please excuse me if it does. There are many things that I do appreciate about Harrell's work. I enjoy how his work points to the overlooked and dismissed details in everyday life. He also does a great job of getting the public involved. His willingness to share the spotlight with others or fall into the background in an interesting way makes him stand out from other artists. Harrell Fletcher once said that he uses art to disappear,  but his approach does quite the opposite.

The internet together with the many elements of irony that arise in Harrell Fletcher's work have contributed greatly in making him into the artist he is today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Immateriality to materiality?

The processes involved in the completion of my project "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" has been a delightful experience. I can almost describe it as a journey, filled with surprises, challenges and achievements. In the beginning the thought of editing over 300 images down to 2 final images seemed impossible. It began by selecting 32 out of the 300 for Flickr. Digital media has presented us with incredible opportunities that did not exist in the past. Some may dislike the idea of the physical touch or materiality lost in the electronic production. Mary Ann Doane in Indexicality and the Concept of Medium Specificity writes: "technologies of mechanical and electronic reproduction, from photography through digital media, appear to move asymptotically toward immateriality, generating images through light and electricity." The generation of images through light and electricity has made it possible for photographs to be sent instantly at the click of a button. I was able to send my images to my grandma in England and my mum and aunt in Ghana all at once.

I have to admit that nothing beats having the actual photographs in your hand; there is just something about that physical touch and interaction. This was made possible by the printing of a magazine, followed by ten then four (8.5x 11") prints and finally two (11x14'') prints. The process from digital to print could be described as a shift from immateriality to materiality.

The last part of the project was setting up an exhibition "Watching" in the Mudd gallery. I had no idea the amount of detail and skill required when installing an exhibition. The site, the spacing between images, the height from the ground, the lighting, refreshments, all contribute greatly to the finished product. I am definitely a fan of the clean, simple look. This entire project has been an incredible learning experience.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Using InDesign to Create an Impact

Reading Sarah Greenough's commentary on Robert Frank's The Americans made me realize the importance of sequencing, creating some kind of rhythm and allowing images to strengthen one another. For my book "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made," I was torn between using a template on MagCloud and creating my own template in InDesign. I finally decided to use InDesign because I was not restricted to a set template.

For my project, some of my strongest images were the up close shots of girls staring directly into the camera lens. For these powerful images, I left a blank page on the left side and let the image bleed off the page, allowing the viewer to concentrate on the individual staring back at them. This effect creates some kind of personal connection between the viewer and the image, so I decided to use the actual names of the models. I chose not to name the other images in the book.

The images that capture the girl's writing on the mirror serve as a reminder of the title and theme of my project at 3 different intervals. These images appear repetitive and some may even describe these pages as cluttered. I chose this almost overwhelming arrangement to create an impact on the viewer. It is hard to ignore or forget bright red text placed side by side. On some of the pages I also allowed images to complement one another. Looking closely at the images side by side, one can draw some interesting connections between the images.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully made

Self-surveillance as discussed by Philip Agre has not only changed our behavior, it has also changed the way we perceive ourselves. We start seeing ourselves through the eyes of others. Richard Woodward accurately describes “the competition for eyeballs in the digital market place.”
This world, in which beauty is measured by the number of “likes” on facebook, as well as the skewed representation of beauty in the media, has created a generation of people lacking self confidence and some even despising their natural look. The lack of a positive representation of self worth motivated me to embark on my project “Fearfully and Wonderfully made,” which was inspired by a verse in Psalms 139.
For the project, I captured intimate moments of girls staring at themselves in the mirror or applying make-up to one side of their face. Having half a face covered in thick make-up and the other completely natural was my way of portraying an individual’s beauty with or without make-up. Capturing moments of the girls writing “fearfully and wonderfully made” on the mirror highlights the need for us to be content with the way we have been created. My heart was filled with joy when one of my models said “Wow… I actually look better without make-up, thank you for making me realize that!”
Despite the challenges faced during the project, such as hiding my camera and myself in a room full of mirrors and obtaining the correct lighting to prevent a glare, I am very happy with the outcome.