Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The first Salk post...

So, I said that I would try to post every other day at Salk, and that has proven to be a bit difficult. I don't get internet in the room that I am in...and I am worn out when the day is over.

I have some time this morning to post because currently I am filling in for the person that runs the Runner's desk (like the central command station for getting supplies out to all the sites) so I am going to take a little time, while it is still quiet on the radios (and of course as I type this the radio calls start...) and explain a little about Salk.

I think that some of the first posts on this blog, which date back to last year, are about last year's Salk, or perhaps it is now two years ago, not exactly sure. But at any rate, Salkehatchie Summer Service is a United Methodist Church ran outreach program that I have been going to for 6 years now. Each summer, hundreds of youth and adults from around the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and now some of Florida volunteer to go to a different part of the state and help build/repair housing for underprivileged families. This is a wonderful experience and perhaps the thing that I will remember most about my childhood.

And so, I am making a documentary this year about the Salkehatchie experience. Filming did go pretty well yesterday, and while I have a lot of filming left to do before this thing becomes a movie, I think that I am on the right path.

I don't really have much more to say, I am working on some stuff, but nothing is ready to go up yet, and I don't know if things will be ready by Friday (the last day of camp) but we will see. If I get something worth blogging about, then I will do so, but otherwise, next post will be back at home!


Friday, June 17, 2011

It's been a busy couple of weeks...

So, I did this post mainly to let people know that I am still here, and I am working on some things, but I have been pretty busy recently trying to make sure that I don't forget anything for the upcoming project that I am going to be working on next week.

But I wouldn't want to leave people empty handed. I have been really into collage work lately, and I have been experimenting myself with digital collage. I have made one piece that I really like and that I think I am going to continue to make a series out of.

"The Bringer of Fortune" (click for a larger view)

I wanted to post that now without a whole lot of explanation because I don't feel that this is the time for explanation on it. (If someone wants to post questions or thoughts then I will be more than happy to entertain them however.)

I think that I want to work some more with this series and idea, and further develop the idea of the "Myt Fckng O!" and the mythos around him, but before I do that I think that I am going to just explore collage more, and try to find some influences in that area of art.

Now on to the next week...

This week I have been I have been preparing for my upcoming week in Summerville, volunteering to document for a NGO. Among that I have been working 7 hour days at the local museum (my part time summer job, it is only open half the week) so it has been pretty busy trying to get everything ready and make sure that I am packed to go live on a church floor for a week along with all (and I mean ALL) of my computers and camera gear. But it should be a pretty amazing week full of still photography and a video project!

All thing considered, I don't have time to really blog tonight, but I will be blogging at least once every two days while at the camp about the things that I will be doing. I am using this camp next week as a test run for a project that I hope I will be working on all summer next summer for school, documenting, in both still and video photography the efforts of the NGO Salkehatchie. (I will go into greater detail about the Salk camps in my first post tomorrow night.)

So, until tomorrow night,


Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekly Movie Review: X-Men First Class

During the school year I started to write movie reviews for the school paper, naturally I thought that it would be an interesting subject to bring to the blog as well. After all, this blog is about all things that I do concerning art, not just photos. (Not anymore at least.)

I have always enjoyed movies, my minor is film studies, I am particularly interested in the theoretical considerations of narrative voice in movies, and I have begun to explore video documentation (in an augmentation to my photographic work) - in short, I am a bit of a movie nerd. Another subject that I consider myself a bit nerdy about is comics. I fell into the world of webcomics freshman year in college, and last summer got into superhero comics, primarily the Green Lantern. I do read some Marvel titles (and some Dark Horse and Image as well) but X-Men has never been a favorite. I saw the other movies when they came out, but I don't really remember them well; however, I believe that X-Men First Class is a super hero movie that I will be adding to my personal collection.

***There are no spoiler alerts in the following review, there really is nothing in the movie to spoil as everything happens rather straightforwardly.***

This movie can really be seen as an origin story for Prof. X and Magneto. Now at the start I should point out that the storyline that the movie presents is not how Prof. X and Magneto met in the original comics; yet, I think that story in First Class is more compelling than what I have read in the way of synopsis on the original. (There is not that much change, but in the movie as a child Magneto, or Erik, is captured by the Nazis - he is Jewish - and experimented on; in the comics he escapes the camps and goes on to father twins.) There are other storyline facts that I am not exactly sure about their truth to the comic-storyline, however I believe that they make interesting associations (such as a romantic flare between Beast and Mystic, Mystic growing up with Charles, etc.) that make for a more developed "first class." It was also interesting to see Emma Frost and Azazel on screen, as well as Beast's transformation into the blue hairball that we all know him as.

Yet, what I found best about the film was the issues that it grappled with, not just on a character development level, but the moral issue of revenge and justice, forgiveness, acceptance, and how to act in light of [super]physical superiority. These elements are some not commonly found in super hero movies and, in my opinion, not commonly found in Marvel storylines. In these regards, X-Men First Class is a refreshing change from what we have come to expect from super hero movies (which seems to be just special effects and explosions).

That is not to say that First Class didn't have these elements - the final fight scene was actually rather epic in that it was very superpowers focused, but it did not make them more powerful than they should be.

There was also some very well done character development (primarily for Magneto, however to a lesser extent Prof. X and Mystic) for a superhero movie. After seeing this movie I feel like Magneto may be the most tragic heroic villain I have ever heard a story from, and I actually feel like I can understand his decision to split from Prof. X and start the Brotherhood of Mutants.

I hope that the upcoming Green Lantern movie can deliver in the ways that X-Men First Class did, because as of right now First Class is the best superhero movie I have seen since the last Batman film.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Death and the Human Response: Buddhism

The past semester I and another student have been working on a series of videos focusing on the phenomenon of death and the human response to death as part of a school research group. There are six of us in the group, and everyone has helped the process in some way, but the whole project was really Brad Sadd's idea, and I was lucky enough to have the cameras needed to film and the computer/software needed to edit the video together. I have really enjoyed working on this project as it gave me a chance to combine photography, documentary film, and philosophy all into one project.

With all of the footage that we have captured in the past semester we have 8 short films in the works, although this is the only one ready to show at this moment. By the end of the month we should have about 4, and all of them should be finished by the end of June, but of course I will keep you updated as we progress.

This particular film raises questions about the viability of the eastern philosophy of Buddhism as an adequate belief system to cope with suffering and the realization of one's own mortality and I believe that it approaches the topic on a level that is easy for all to understand. [View the movie below, or see it on YouTube here.]

The films cover a variety of topic touching on everything from something as general as "What is death?" to famous arguments by ancient philosophers about the futility of dreading death to psychological and biological reactions to death. At this time I have plans to continue this project for another year, expanding the series to look at various religious communities' responses to death and attitudes towards the belief in an afterlife.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Art 213 - Final Project [Part 1]

So, tonight's blog post was going to be about a project that I have been working on with another student for the past semester, but I left the jumpdrive with the file on it at work today (I was making a flyer for one of the exhibits at the Museum) and so I don't have it to upload.

Fortunately, I was planning on doing several blog posts this week before my trip to the beach next week, and so I will put up some other stuff tonight.

I have 5 photos that I shot for my final project in Art 213 (Beginning photography) this past semester. For this project we had to shoot at least 4 roles of black and white film, develop everything, and make at least 6 final prints in the style of a famous photographer. I chose William Klein as my photographer (he was a fashion photographer for Vogue (Paris) in the late 1950's early '60's) and I decided to do a fashion-esk mini-story, which had 8 frames in it (if I remember correctly, I only have my extras as I haven't gotten the whole project back yet).

[For those that are curious, these were shot and printed in black and white film/paper, but I have scanned them in and did some levels/contrast adjusting in Photoshop afterwards.]

I was really drawn to Klein's work because of his technique, which at the time was a challenge to the norm. He shot with wide-angles, telephotos, and flash, when the standard was the 50 prime, and I really liked the voyeurism and photojournalistic edge that he brought to his fashion photography.

I didn't have quite the budget that I would have liked obviously, but I believe that the shoot went really well considering all of the circumstances, and I really enjoyed this project.

When I get my portfolio back I will scan and upload the rest of the photos from this series, and make a flickr gallery for them all as well.

until then,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Been a While...

So, it has been a while since the last time I blogged. School turned out to be a bit more than I expected this past year, but now that it is over I am going to do my best to start blogging again. (For the summer at least.)

I am not going to make any promises as I might not be able to keep them, and it might turn out that I am not happy with blogging. But for now I come back to blogging with the intention of sharing some of the things that I have been working on. For this first post I am going to post a photo that I have on the facebook page, but I have tweeked it a bit and I think that it is better now. I am considering entering it into a contest that Digital Photo Pro has going on.

I am working on a few more to go with this series, so I am going to wait until I post them to talk about the technical aspects. Also, tomorrow I am going to post a video that I have been working on for school, with some more information about that project, but for now, enjoy this:


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Assignments for Student Media

This week's first blog post (which really should have been last week's, but it was a really busy week) is mainly just some assignments that I had for yearbook and the newspaper. Unfortunately most of these stories didn't run (something you have to deal with in the world of newspaper) but I still had a good time taking these photos.

These first two stories are from a story that I didn't expect to run because it wasn't assigned (we didn't know about it and it happened on a Friday, so even if we ran it it would have been a week late) but I thought it was a cool story and wanted to take pictures of it. I was pretty happy with the two shots that I got.

This was the "safe shot" that I got. One thing that I have been noticing this year is that I have been thinking about photography assignments much more like a photojournalist. Whenever I get to the assignment I first think about the safest photo that tells the story but it easy to get. Then with the remaining time (most times there aren't a time limit, but it seemed like everything I did this past week there was) I try to be a bit more artistic.

What I like about this second shot is that it is from an unusual and unnatural angle (unless you are naturally 10 feet tall) that shows pretty much what the whole story was about (the landscape architecture group made two parking spaces into a small park).

I had to take some photos of Fike for the yearbook, and in the past it seems like most of the pictures have just been general pictures of the overview of FIke. So I tried to get some more close up pictures of people working out. These are a few of them.

The reason I was in Fike was to shoot the Orange and White Swimming and Diving meet. (Although this story didn't even run.) I have never taken a lot of pictures of swimming, and it was kinda tough because the action is mostly underwater, or you can't get a good angle on shot and the whole area surrounding the pool is water (which doesn't mesh very well with multi-thousand dollar camera equipment) so there are more than a few considerations when taking pictures at swimming events. But I think that I got some good ones, and as with anything, the more times I shoot in that environment the better the pictures will be.

This one I liked because it was a little artsy with the way that the water splash mimics the motion of the swimmers arm.

I also covered Glenn Beck's performance at Littlejohn Coliseum which was pretty fun, but to avoid a political discussion, I am just going to post these photos and not talk about the performance.

The last story I had for this week was CCIT moving to the library. I figured they would just want a photo of someone behind the help desk helping a student (they actually ended up using a photo of just the guy working behind the computer) but I took the opportunity to take some photos of the people behind the desks and the techies.

Anyway, that is all for this update. Sunday night I will have an update about all the sports that I have been taking these past few days, volleyball and soccer. It's not football but it is something. So, until then,