Obsolete Media Sculpture

In our lifetime, we acquire a lot of material objects. We use them until they expire their usefulness. So what do we do with them then? A lot of us end up throwing them out. Sometimes we grow a little attached to them and keep them stored away. We stumble across them as we go through boxes and stuff. Some people even find ways of keeping them relevant.

            For my project, I chose objects that has a couple of similarities and somehow combined them into a sculpture of sorts. The theme for the sculpture is obsolete media. It comprises of audio tapes, video tapes and compact disk. They share a couple of traits in that they both store forms of media (audio, video and data) and they are all considered obsolete in some way. Audio (or cassette) tapes have been replaced by digital media (mostly in MP3 format) that are used on computers, phones, tablets and portable media players. Video cassettes (VHS) have also been replaced by digital media (MP4, MOV and other types of files) that are played on the same devices as music files. Data is still store on CD’s, but are considered almost worthless compared to USB sticks, flash drives, SD cards and portable hard drives. This is due to not only the amount of data these other devices can hold, but no worries of scratches that may ruin it.

            Even though I grew up in the time of cassettes and CD’s, I didn’t have any around that I can use for the project. Stores no longer sell cassettes so I had to buy some at the thrift store (Goodwill). CD’s were easier to come by as a bought a small pack very cheap over at Walmart. I even chose some that had a record design that would symbolize another form of obsolete media (this is somewhat as they seem to be making a comeback, but for only certain groups of people and not appeal to the masses).

           Putting the media together was a little challenging. I was going to tie everything together using the tape from the cassettes. That turned out to be a hot mess. I then decided to use super glue to put most of it together and the rest would just kind of hang off. I did this to give options as to how it could be displayed. It could be put on a table with some of the stuff hanging off or it could be hung similar to a wind chime. I don’t think anyone in the 1970’s through the 1990’s would ever think that something that was so new at the time would ever be used for something like this. It doesn’t seem that long ago when these forms of media was new and its amazing how quickly technology has advanced. Who knows how long it will be before the next new thing comes along and someone decides to make a sculpture out of SD cards, flash drives and portable hard drives because they have become substandard with their primary purpose diminished.

Digital Photography Class

The semester is nearly done and looking back, i’d have to say that I really enjoyed this class. The professor was very into the subject matter and had a lot of knowledge to share based not on what she has seen or read, but based on her own personal experiences. She was also very understanding when it came to difficulty of completing assignments. A fellow classmate and I had a very hard time completing the photobooth project. She gave us an extension to complete it (which we will).

We also had a wide variety of assignments that has helped expand our knowledge in photo taking. It wasn’t the same thing over and over with minor differences between the assignments. They were each new experiences.

Because of this class, I feel less compelled to take pictures with my phone and more in tune with taking photos with an actual camera. Once I learned the adjustments with the ISO, shutter speed and other features, the pictures look a lot better than anything I have ever taken with my phone.

Thank you!!!

2 Likes & a Dislike

As the school semester comes to a close, I look back at the various projects I have done for my classes. This is a reflection of the 2 that I liked and the one I didn’t from my digital photography class.

To start off with the one I didn’t like was the portraits of 20 people. I not a fan of taking pictures that seem staged by the subjects. I like to photograph life as it casually happens as well as environmental/landscape photography. I like projects where I do not have to rely on others to make happen. Quite a few times I had gotten into trouble over this and only now do I have the option to finally complete it (however late it is).

The first of the 2 that I did like was the diptych and triptych photos. I kinda liked taking 2 to three pictures that seem different, but has a connection that presents a story to tell. The second of the 2 was night photography. This was definitely my favorite as I’m very much a night person. It was challenging to get good shots with such low amounts of light available. It also adds a little mystery element as not everything can be seen in the photo and there usually isn’t much to distract the viewer from the more visible details in the photos.

Pictorialism

This is my attempt at pictorialism. Although I have read about it and seen a video about it, I’m not quiet sure if I have fully grasped the concept of it. I tried my hand at it with these two photos. On both accounts, I tried to not cross the line in making these photos look like an illustration.

The photo on the left was taken in March of 2019 at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. I had just finished up taking photos for my other project (listed here as the Balboa Park/MOPA visit). It had begun to rain. As I ran to my car, I came across this view and I knew I had to get a picture of it. I just tried to get a good shot without my camera getting too wet. My editing of this was to add grain as well as adding a haze to it. I was hoping to give it a more misty like look to it with a little blur to the grass and tress.

The photo on the right was taken near the pier over at Oceanside, CA. Like the other photo, I added a haze to it. For this one, I also increased the saturation and messed with the hue a bit. I tried to make it look like a merge between an 70’s photo while making some of the people look like they were painted it.

Balboa Park/MOPA visit

On March 20, 2019, I visited The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. There were two exhibitions that I was to view at the time.

The first was a series by Bern Schwartz who showcased many portrait styled photographs. While I do respect the work, I was not really intrigued by it for a couple of reasons. For one, I’m not really into portrait photos. I am more into scenic/landscape type photos as well as photos that capture everyday life. Another reason is that many of the photos seem a little too perfect. I am not saying that these photos are impossible to take without some editing, but they almost come as a cross between photos and smooth painting. Also considering what was available at the time some of these photos were taken in terms of technology, I would have preferred if the photo quality represented that particular moment in time.

The second is an exhibition called Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia. I found these phots to be more exciting and diverse. Like the previous exhibit, there were portraits found here, but they heavily distorted and blurry. This is the intent of the photographer (Trent Parke), but I wondered how they were made. Were special lenses and filters used or were they edited later on in a photo editing application?

The exhibit also showcased a series by Michale Cook which showed people reacting to an alien attack. They started as photographs of people acting in a scene with the UFO’s added in later on. This would be great for funny pictures or sci-fi storytelling. What confuses me is that with these alterations of the UFO’s added in, the photos now become illustrations. I am not taking anything away from the photos themselves, but they seem to be out of place in this exhibit.

The one series that really got my attention are from Tracey Moffatt from Brisbane, Australia. So of her works I have posted here as she takes pictures or different places in 2017. What I found fascinating was the combination of great angles, lighting, smoke and fog. They make for a rather surreal image that almost seems to be dreamlike, but little editing was done to these photos. I seriously doubt that she got lucky by taking only a couple of shots and struck gold in each of them. I’m guessing her methods are similar to mine in that she was constantly shooting away, shot after shot, and looked through several photos of each scene until she discovered the right one. It is a style I can identify with that produced amazing images of life as it happens.

The last photo wasn’t part of an exhibit, but an interesting piece of technology that utilizes photos in an unusual way. That is a picture of me (taking a picture of myself) but the picture is a mosaic that is comprised only of portraits of other people. It was pretty amazing to see yourself made from the faces of people from around the world that have come together in a strange way for a great interactive experience.

Mending

This project was pretty straight forward. I was to bring in something that was damaged to be fixed or something I wanted altered. I decided to use a shirt that had a few holes in it and I was about to use as some sort of cloth to wipe stuff down with. I was shown how to repair it by sewing it (which I haven’t done since my home economics class back in the 7th grade). It was pretty easy to get into and I felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards. It may not seem like much in terms of how much work was put into it, rather it was a productive task that ended not by creating something but repairing and restoration. I can actually wear this shirt again (which also means I’ll be sticking to my old cleaning cloths for a while longer).

Night Photography

These are photos at both dawn and night. The photo in the upper left was taken on the corner of Mission Rd. and Nordahl Rd. on the border of San Marcos and Escondido. The others were taken around Linda Vista Drive, Lone Pine Road and Poinsettia Avenue on the border of San Marcos and Vista. The photos on the right show off the area right after sunset and the first two on the top row displays the areas at night. The bottom right might be my favorite with its dark blue look that shows the sky between night and day without light from the sun.

Midterm

  1. Birds Eye, Worms eye, rule of thirds, framing, Shilouette, Texture, Symmetrical/Asymmetrical
  2. Digital Single Lens Reflex
  3. Manual, Aperture, Program
  4. Shutter speed is how slowly or quickly a photo is taken. Aperture is the diameter size of the lens that allows how much light is let in.
  5. Crop, Gradient, red eye, adjustment brush, removal, smoothing
  6. Metadata
  7. natural light comes from the sun and other non-electronic sources. Artificial light comes from electronic based lights.
  8. Butterfly, Rembrandt, Split, Short and Broad
  9. Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos were of a nude nature that were of a singular pose or of multiple subjects engaging in a lewd act to convey a message. Pornography are images or videos of sexual acts strictly for the purpose of arousal or sexual gratification. Both of these are interpreted as viewed by the viewer.
  10. Richard’s process was to taken photos of his subjects engaging in physical contact with each other.

San Elijo Portraits

These are portraits taken near the town square in San Elijo, CA. They were taken fairly late in the afternoon when the sun was setting. Despite this, I had plenty of light to utilize (maybe more than enough). I thought it was odd to be using LED lights with this much natural light around us. As it turns out, the lights were still very useful. They came in handy if you wanted to eliminate shadow features or to use additional lighting for highlights. I like these more since I was able to utilize different backgrounds which adds more to the portraits. They may take away from the subject themselves, but they seem to make the photo more enjoyable to see as a whole.