Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thank you!!

I just wanted to say thanks, Pipo, for a fantastic semester. I have enjoyed your class so much- the challenge of learning photography as well as the engaging ideas and material presented in class. I've also had fun keeping a blog (I think I'll keep it up, esp. while I'm in Beijing next semester!). See you in September!


This was the final result of my second sculpture project this semester- I was very inerested in old, ornate picture frames ( that you see in museums. The frames are so intricate and were all handcarved, yet the maker is never given credit. I left my frames empty to draw attention to the handiwork that goes into this craft, and also to question why, in our society, whatever is put in a frame is instantly elevated to the status of 'art'. Made from plaster using the blanket-mold process, the multiplicity and apparent mass-production (hah!) of my frames is also in contradiction to the uniqueness of the original handcarved pieces.

This project was an unbelievable amount of work- after creating a model of each piece from clay and making a rubber mold, each section of the frames had to be cast, baked, sanded, shellac-ed, painted brown, painted gold and then rubbed over with shoe polish for the aged look.

Yours truly (for staffage).

Loretta Lux

Little children and oh, so very creepy.

Elizabeth Peyton and Egon Schiele

Above, Elizabeth Peyton: Contemporary figure painter (mostly male model-y figures in lush paint). Below, Egon Schiele (1890-1918): Austrian figure painter of mostly female nudes and self-portraits (often twisted or sexual or about death). The two painter's work seem correlated to me- a similar emotion or connection to the viewer, I guess.

10 Classical Paintings (However you wish to interpret "classical")

First and foremost- the most influential painter to me/my work/my life. Before I decided that I'm not a painter I tried really, really hard to paint like him- Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec.

The above is one of my favorite paintings- Lamé by John Currin.
The above two are also by John Currin, a contemporary painter who often references classical painting or traditional portraiture but gives it a cynical modern twist.

Above and below are paintings by Eric Fischl, another contemporary figure painter who works in a more classical realism style.

Below are three paintings by Edward Hopper, another "classic" (at least, to me, and in the contemporary painting world). His paintings convey incredible loneliness and emptiness in such a beautiful way.

Fourth Project: Luck

(these scans are really horrible, sorry- it was my first time scanning negs.)

(project statement)
For this final piece I combined a process I have been working on in my sculpture class (2-part molds) with a photographic narrative. The little shapes I photographed are cast from glycerin and are duplicates of this incredible stone I found on the beach in Mexico when I was twelve. I held on to this stone, as I have held on to many other small, visually interesting or meaningful objects, because I thought maybe they were lucky. I am not superstitious nor do I rely on these objects to bring me good fortune, but I have always enjoyed the imaginative nature of luck. In this work the stones serve as a visual symbol for good and bad happenings. The stones “traveled” to these different locations and were documented there, just as my own thoughts have traveled to or lingered in these same locations. The stones can denote not only the things we discover about ourselves, or what we leave behind, but also the aspects of ourselves and events in our lives that we cannot see. This idea is just beginning to take shape and in the future I plan to work more with these stones as well as the idea of luck in general.

Third Project: Persona

(apologies for the dust. I can't make myself be a perfectionist about dust on negatives. I think it must be a form of rebellion for me.)(project statement)
I created an installation in my room that suggested an environment. I asked two friends who are dancers and have known each other for a long time to be my models. I dressed them up in clothing that I thought fit well with the installation and then asked them to pretend that they lived in this space: to create the persona that they thought would inhabit this environment. I didn't give them much direction and just worked with the poses they created, occasionally giving them suggestions about where to look or what emotion they might be feeling. They worked really well together and gave me a great deal of material to chose from when printing my photos, allowing me to hone in on the exact look I wanted to create. I hung the photos with some of the original installation that I created for the photo shoot.

(I was frustrated with this project largely because of how dark the negatives turned out- I was working without a lightmeter- a very stupid idea. )

Second Project: Emulation

Escape "She didn't want to risk it, but she knew she had to go back."

A Strange Day in October "It had been ten minutes."

Antique Dealings "The next morning it happened again."

Emulation of Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.
(project statement)

For this project I tried to recreate the essence of one of my favorite childhood books. Chris Van Allsberg is a Caldecott-winning illustrator and has done several important works such as Jumanji and The Polar Express. Although The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is less well known, it is my favorite. The premise of the book is that each of the illustrations were given to Peter Wenders by a mysterious man named Harris Burdick who promised to bring the accompanying stories later. Burdick never returned and so the only clue to the content of the stories is the single illustration, its caption, and the story’s title.

My desire while emulating this work was to create a similar sense of mystery, intrigue and suspense that is felt when you read the book. The reader immediately imagines the rest of the stories without even trying. I wanted to reference his work but not duplicate any scenes exactly. Each drawing is a bit of magical realism which is quite difficult to create in photography. Instead of using Photoshop, I hoped to use lighting to add surrealism to scenes, but exposing the film correctly to this light was a challenge. I was very inspired by this book as a child and I think it encouraged a strong interest in narrative art-making. Creating these ambiguous scenarios and then portraying myself as the subject (for two of the three) was very enjoyable and fulfilling for my imaginative six-year-old self.

-->If you are not familiar with The Mysteries of Harris Burdick or the illustrator Chris VanAllsburg, please look at: (you can see a few images from the book on the amazon page) (a website where people have submitted their own stories to accompany the illustrations found in the book)

First Project: Mapping

Mapping Project Statement
This project for me was not only about the subject of mapping, but also learning to express my ideas through the visual language of photography. My interpretation of mapping dealt with texture, scale and form. For me, this project was not so much about recording a certain place or even a feeling, but it was about creating an abstracted map of the surfaces of trees and logs.
I was riding my bike and came across a pile of cut logs and branches along the side of the road. I thought this was interesting because by photographing several of these logs together I was mapping several trees at the same time: the convergence of wood from different locations which was now creating an entirely different landscape from their original form. While I was photographing, it quickly became clear to me that I was more interested in the close-up texture and detail of the logs than I was photographing the huge pile. I could have a lot more control over what I was photographing without moving anything in order to create a better ‘scene’. Although I am not fascinated by landscape photography, I am interested in close-up shots which become abstracted and possibly alienated from the original context. I have continued to photograph more trees (not just the ones in the pile) over the past few weeks and continue to be interested in mapping texture and detail.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

failed photo shoot

This was the original idea for my final photo project; it had to be scrapped when the negatives came back so dark and there was dust on the lens. ( sad foghorn noise). Many thanks to mom for having the film processed.

My sister and I in our shared bathroom at home- a place of memory and a type of utopia, I suppose- also amazing wallpaper.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

fabian unternahrer

Unternahrer with an umlaut over the 'a'. Rock band practice underwater!