Week Four.

September 12, 2011

1. Write a few sentences about each presentation.

Group 1.  Images included mostly advertisements, family photos, and labels. The student included everything, yet encountered fewer images than he expected. He said he thought there would be more photographs everywhere. The images seemed to reflect less of the character of the student, and more of what was seen during regular activities in regular places (Costco + Scottsdale).

Group 2.  Most of the images were taken in the mall (Arizona Mills). They can be found at every turn; they are dramatic, with attractive models and bright colors. This student actively found images to encounter, and therefore to photograph. In the context of the mall, most photographs were used as elements of an advertisement, with text and other graphics, instead of being viewed exclusively as photographs. The student chose a public place where many go often and see photographs without realizing it. Even though it was not necessarily a regular day for the student, it reflected an experience with photographs that an average person might have.

Group 3. The student paid much attention to the framing of her pictures, which included storefronts, the internet, ads, labels, magazines, etc. The viewer can assume the imagemaker’s interests, food preferences, what she searched online, photographs that may be her own (opened in photoshop) etc. However, in reality, she may not have chosen any of the objects but simply observed them.

Group 4. The student included images of ads, the internet, fashion, celebrities, family photos, movies, food packaging, posters, etc. There were tons of images. The student reframed the photographs in their images, so in rephotographing photographs the viewer might be under the illusion that it is the original. This portrayal of photographs gave a kind of experience with each picture, with little context as to where it was taken.

Group 5.  The students images contained DVDs, restaurants, Starbucks, etc. Since we know the images were made in a 24 hr. period, viewers know that many images made in one place might imply a long period of time spent in that place. There were pictures taken all over Starbucks, of ads and posters geared towards employees, so by the images alone one could guess that the student worked there that day. Class thoughts:  how revealing is this one day out of the context of a person’s life? It could represent hundreds of similar days, or one unusual day–there is just no way to know by looking at the images.

Group 6.  The student included images taken of the internet, food labels, posters etc. at school, while driving. A few images included a hand holding up the object with a photograph on it, the student was showing the audience something specific to their experience.

Group 7. The student showed TONS of pictures of a computer screen with tons of photos on it. His photos accurately represented  the experience of searching the internet. There were a few other pictures, but most were of a computer screen. He said, “I tried to take a picture while driving, but…” “—It takes practice,” said Betsy.

Group 8. This student showed many images that were taken in her former workplace, an ad agency. She said working there made her more aware of advertisements, which were also numerous in her image presentation. She noted that doing this assignment made her “hyper aware” of the photographs around her.

Group 9. The student’s images were taken with a tight composition; there was not much context, so the viewer could make various assumptions about where the photograph was encountered, what it was a part of, who put it there. There were many many many computer screen photos, since the student actively searched for images on the internet. The presentation revealed the overwhelming nature of images experienced on the internet.

Group 10. Most images included were of posters, CD and DVD cases. Some context was included in the frame. The student attempted a few photos at work (Target) but encountered more than photographs, he got in trouble for ignoring security policies of in-store photography. In the class discussion, Betsy made a point that “we give up our right to photograph yet we’re photographed the minute we walk in…”

Group 11. This student included lots of newsprint ads, with no context, even photographs on the wall, on books, etc. They even photographed a show at the Step Gallery that was about high tuition rates. (“High tuition makes my cat sad.”)

2. What is the overall impression you get after watching the presentations? Do you feel overwhelmed? How did people address the assignment differently?

After watching the presentations, I definitely felt overwhelmed, especially by the images of computer screens. It is amazing how much data can bombard our brains in a single day; and that we have to filter what we pay attention to and what we remember. Otherwise, we would spend more time paying attention to images all around us (like the day of the 24 hr assignment) than doing anything else. This assignment showed us what would happen if we had zero filters, if every photograph had equal value, if we had to pay attention to everything in sight.

The assignment sounds like it could be objective, but there were several decisions each student made when going about carrying it out. First, each chose a day to dedicate to this assignment. Some chose days they stayed at home, others chose days they went to school or work. This choice dictated the majority of the photographs each person encountered. Second, each student, to some degree, either actively searched out places that would have many photographs (or retreated to somewhere they knew there would be few photographs), or they went about their day as they would normally. The assignment did not force one to do one or the other, however students had various experiences according to their own choices. Finally, some students showed the surrounding area of the photograph, say that it was lying on the ground or on a shelf; whereas others chose to crop out any information regarding where and how the image was encountered. Again, neither is right or wrong, but each way guides the assumptions made by viewers of the presentations.

3. How did you address the assignment, and how was it similar/different to others? What was the effect on you of creating the assignment and observing others?

I tried to do the assignment 3 different days. The first, I spent the morning photographing every photograph as I was supposed to, but as my day got busier and busier I would realized that I missed a photograph because I wasn’t paying attention (I was doing whatever I needed to do that day.) By the third try, I had conditioned myself enough to be aware and ready to take every picture I needed to. On one hand, I was more ready to take on the assignment for a full day, on the other, I felt almost as if I could not do much else but look, seek, and notice any photographs. Thinking back, I probably would have used the internet on a normal day, and encountered photographs there, but I think the idea of having to take a picture of every image I saw online was…exhausting. I think I avoided it. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, since I notice photographs so much more because of this assignment (which, I believe, was the point of the assignment).

I tried to vary the amount of context I revealed, but it seemed that some students chose context or no context exclusively. I think I was more interested in the images that showed at least a little context, because it allowed my mind to make connections to other images and to experience the image more like the student did when they took the picture. The experience of the photograph as a part of an object was more interesting to me than the reframing of an existing composition.

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