Needing to See

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I have recently been made very aware of the need for both eyes to be a photographer.  I have thought of what would happen if I were to go blind, what would I do with my life?  What could my photography degree and the 4.5 years of schooling I had to achieve that degree amount to?  I always figured that as long as I could get corrective lenses or at least be able to see out of one eye.  For the past two days I have been under quarantine due to the contraction of the virus that causes ‘Pink eye’.  I am not sure how I came in contact with this virus, but I have noticed that my vision is blurred in one eye due to the medicine that I am taking.

I have been using my ‘time off’ to work on and finish up some editing that I needed to do.  This blurry vision, though only in one eye, does effect how I see.  I realized that I started double checking my work; editing one thing then closing one eye and checking to see if it actually looks like I intended it to and getting the opinion of others to make sure as well.  I think this would be a good addition to my creative and design processes, making sure that my work is satisfactory to people who haven’t been staring at the project for an extended period of time.  Fresh eyes and a new perspective are always an asset to achieving perfection.

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Intimate Strangers

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New York photographer, Richard Renaldi, has an interesting take on intimate portraits.  His concept is that complete strangers can show affection for each other for a brief moment in time, his project is to capture that moment.  Renaldi works on the streets of NYC and pulls strangers at random.  He poses these strangers in intimate positions and settings and simply tells them to show a small amount of affection towards the complete stranger just long enough for him to capture it on film.  In my opinion, it is not the photographer that makes these photos a success, he is just the puppeteer.  It is the subjects of the photos that make them successful; their facial expressions and body language are what communicates the sense of comfort and familiarity to each other.  Simply looking at the photos and not knowing the background information about how and why they were taken would lead a viewer to believe that the subjects actually knew and cared for each other.  My favorite line in the video below is: ‘…we are probably missing so much about the people all around us…’ – it really puts reality, about our observances of people and them as actual people like you and me, into perspective.

 

Photographer Puts Two Strangers Together For Intimate Photographs, And The Results Are Surprising

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SELDTUaHRxQ

Rabbit Hole

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On October 6th I was able to attend a Cardinal Stritch theater production of the show ‘Rabbit Hole’.   I had been working on the set as part of the crew building and painting the set for weeks before the show opened, so I was excited to see my work on the stage again.  I was looking forward to how each section of cabinetry would be used and how the floors and different parts of the set would look under the professional technical lighting.  How the actors looked on the set was also something I was looking forward to.  I also knew that the show was supposed to be sad; about a couple who lost their son in a car accident, meeting the young man who was driving the car, and dealing with the grief of the whole situation.

It was great to watch our minimal set come to life on the stage.  The simple color scheme made more sense because the actors brought so much color to their characters.  This show was highly emotional due to its content, so the large black areas on the set played up the grief and helplessness that they were feeling.  The set was made up of three different rooms and demonstrated the idea of actual ‘rabbit holes’ existing in real life.  I also liked how the dialogue the actors were saying also played up this idea as well.

I got to see all of the different details that I would have normally missed just viewing it as a spectator.  The fact that the counter tops were painted to look like marble, the candles on the cake were actually lit, the food the actors ate was real.  I do believe though that it does change how you see a show if you work on the set and know what things are made of.  I knew that the couch was hard as a rock; I knew that the cabinet drawers stuck shut due to the paint; I knew that the crème caramel didn’t turn out like it was supposed to.  Knowing some of the secrets of the craft in a way brings you into the theater world, but also pulls you out of the show itself, makes it harder to be sucked into the shows time and place and feeling.

There are still three shows left in the Nancy Kendall Theater at Cardinal Stritch’s Milwaukee Campus!  If you can I highly recommend this show.  Tickets are on sale now: $12 adults, $10 seniors and $6 students (Stritch students get in free).

NOW

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I had the opportunity on October 4th to be a part of the ‘day of’ program team for Intervarsity’s Night of Worship (NOW) event.  NOW is held every school semester; one in fall and one in winter.  It is an event created to gather all students involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship from all over southeastern Wisconsin.  These students are invited to come, mingle with students from other campuses, share their stories, sing songs of worship and simply be together with God.

I had the job of the photographer.  I had photographed many events like this before; they were planning on the event being held outside, in a well lit area, with good traffic flow and areas for me to get some great creative shots.  I was all prepared with my memory cards, lenses, tripod etc.  I even brought my on-camera just in case it got too dark to shoot.  Weather was an afterthought in this process on the planning board’s list.  It rained for two days before the event was supposed to take place and then was extremely foggy for the night of.  In my photographically geared mind, this would make for some awesome photographs, but in the mind of the people running the technical sound board, this fog would cause the equipment to falter.

So, I was informed of a location change when I arrived on-site to take the photographs.  We were now indoors, which was understandable due to the weather, but I assumed that they would move all of their lights and sound and transform the indoor space as well, they did not.  The room was small, the lighting was fluorescent, the ideas to control traffic flow were thrown out the window and there were literally no good places to stand to get creative shots.

I ended up having to be creative in my shooting style to get some variation in my shots.  I was forced to take some risks to get a shot I wanted.  I ended up shooting on a slower shutter speeds for the night, correcting for the florescent lighting as I shot, and standing on bookcases and chairs in the corners of the rooms to get different levels for my photographs.

My photographs still turned out and were what I wanted for the event, but I had higher expectations for myself and the event in general.  I was happy with how I could problem-solve on the spot and still make a difficult situation successful on my own.  Its events like these that point out how crucial it is to plan for every possibility and to communicate backup plans to everyone involved in each aspect of the event.  Also, this event helped me to have more confidence in myself and my photographic problem solving skills that I can do this and still get great shots.

Clients

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My father and I recently were offered a freelance position.  A great one, where we can photograph on our schedule and get paid a decent amount for the time we would put in.  There is no need for post-production work on my images.  Its hassle-free for me and the client.  Seems al good right?  Well sort of.  Our client is one company who is using our skills as a services for their many clients.  Thats all well and dandy, but it took a lot to please this one client and comparing my high level of creative and artistic professionalism to their logical business practices there was a huge difference.

The situation was this: My father and I were taking over for another photographer who had to back out of this position unexpectedly.  He had set up everything with out client; prices, services, flyers, certificates etc.  We were to come up with our own flyers and certificates.  We thought that we were doing so much better than the first photographer because his materials were created in word and were very wordy, where ours were created artistically and to the point.  They were really well done and thought out, but our client liked the wordy-ness and clutter of the first guys idea!  What??  This was so mind-boggling to me that our client would choose a sheet of paper that was just photocopied over and over.  Yes, it has the ease of reproduction, but it definitely was not eye-catching or well done.

So, we had to re-think and re-work our design and our process to please our client.  In the end we did come up with a flyer and an ad that would work for both our client and us.  In my opinion, if someone created something that looks professional and is eye-catching and will bring you more business overall, go with that design.  But not everyone has the same understanding of what works and what doesn’t in the design world.  And I realized again that it is up to us to guide others in what will succeed and what wont in the creative world today.

Chrome Experiments

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http://500.chromeexperiments.com/

Chrome is currently celebrating ‘500 Chrome Experiments’.  Someone sent me a link to one of the experiments and I was curious, so I looked past the flash and fun of the activity I was sent and discovered even more.  Chrome Experiments is a site where web designers who are part of a creative coding community can share their web experiments.  They currently are celebrating their record of having 500 loaded on their site.  Each of these experiments are created using either HTML5 or Javascript and incorporate the use of Canvas, WebGL and/or WebRTC.

I started playing around with some of these experiments and exploring them and I give props to the people who can create these games that entertain so many people on-line.  I have dabbled only a little in the world of web design and I haven’t even scratched the surface.  The purpose of the common area to share these creations is to provide inspiration to creative minds and to show just how powerful, fun and free the internet can be.  Anyone can submit an experiment as long as it meets the requirements of the site: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/submit/

Google It

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‘Google It!’ – this has become a very popular new ‘verb’ over the past years.  Everyone can just type in a word or phrase and google will search the web for the closest matching results.  One thing that I recently learned, but is apparently common knowledge, is that you can do a ‘reverse image search’ on Google.  All you have to do is have the image on your computer and upload it into the Reverse Image search bar and ‘google it’.  Link here: http://images.google.com/imghp?hl=en Go to the link and simply click on the camera icon in the search bar.  It will then prompt you to upload your photo to be searched for.

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It works really well, in my limited experience.  Google finds websites, blog posts and galleries that the photo you are searching for appears in (with the most relevant listed first).   I was looking for a photo that I pulled from Pinterest, trying to find the original source for the image.  The reverse search gave me a few different blogs and places to try and I was able to locate the original content for the image and figure out what I needed from there.  Now this might not always work for some images as some are re-posted and used often, you may have to sift through a ton of results.  But most images should be pretty easily found.

Barbie’s Wedding Album

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Beatrice told Rock n Roll Bride: “Barbie & Ken were married at Faraway Castle, in Plasticity. The bride bought her dress from The Fairy Godmother shop and her shoes from the Cinderella Store. The groom wore a suit from The Prince Charming Emporium. The couple met more than 50 years ago (yes I know they look young). Barbie was tired of waiting so she asked Ken to get married.”

I had found this post a while back and recently someone sent it to me again.  A very talented and obviously quirky and creative artist, Beatrice de Guigne, had the honor of shooting Barbie and Ken’s Wedding.  Beatrice has her own company and is know as an ‘award winning destination wedding photographer’ (http://beatrice-dg.com/).  Her work is exquisite and she really knows what she is doing.

Her work on Barbie’s wedding was nothing short of humorous and entertaining.  It also showed some of the really cliche shots that have become a staple in wedding photography: the shoes, the dress and the table settings.  She did a great job of lighting each pose and getting things to stay in place, an as most of us girls know, making Barbie stand in her heels on her own is no easy task!

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I read on her personal blog page (http://blog.beatrice-dg.com/barbie-ken-lexplication) that it took her three days at two hours a day to shoot the whole ‘ceremony’, and then an additional two hours to edit the photos afterwards.  This time doesn’t even begin to count for the months of collecting that she had to do in order to have all the right clothes and props for the shoot.  It took time, thought and determination to get what she wanted out of the experience and it gives everyone else something new, different and fun to look at in terms of wedding photography.

The blog post that led me to this creative album can be found here:
http://www.glamour.com/weddings/blogs/save-the-date/2011/08/real-wedding-album-barbie-ken.html

I Said Yes!

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I am getting married!…as the title of this post obviously suggests.  You may know me personally or not at all, but people blog about what they are discovering, learning about and interested in.  Currently, I am quite interested in planning things.  When my fiancee and I started telling family and friends our news, there were two common questions: 1) Did you set a date? and 2) Can I see the ring?

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I really love my ring.  My fiancee did an amazing job.  Its simplicity of the three stones and the simple white-gold band is the perfect style for me.  The stones have a quality to them that allows them to sparkle even in darkness.

I became curious as to reasons why the three stone setting has been so popular lately, other than its aesthetic and symmetrical qualities.  There were three different ‘theories’ that I came across by word of mouth or looking up different things online.  One idea is that the three stones symbolize the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Another is that each stone represents the couple’s past, present and future.  The idea that I liked the most is that the two smaller stones on either side are to represent you and your fiancee and the larger stone in the middle is to represent God, and the fact that they are on on the same ring symbolizes that you will always keep God in your relationship.  This last idea seemed to fit the best into the relationship that my fiancee and I have.

I am feeling loved and blessed and simply happy.  Here is a link to where the ring was purchased: http://www.williamnordstromjewelers.com/

15 Minutes of Fame

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On June 9a BFA senior from Cardinal Stritch University was featured on WISN 12 news.  This student was me.  I had conducted and created a visual interview with a now graduate student at Stritch about his involvement and volunteerism in the Arts at Large organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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This started off as a class project.  My class of about five people and I over the course of the semester were learning the techniques of TV broadcasting, interviewing, visual elements, and audio elements.  We had the great opportunity to have workshops with an established reported from WISN to help guide us through our ideas.

It was revealed to us that there was a chance that one or more of us students might be selected to appear on TV to broadcast and share our process on television.  This news didn’t effect what and how I was going to create my 2 minute piece.  I still worked hard, did my research and came up with solutions to the obstacles that came up along the way.  I contacted Darrell, the school that he was volunteering at, the persons in charge of Arts @ Large and set up a schedule for the creation of my project.

After all my work was finished and my projects was shot, uploaded and edited, I handed it in.  About two weeks later I got a phone call asking if I would be interested in coming to the WISN station to talk about my work.  Of course I said yes and began to get the nerves.  Normally I am the person most comfortable behind the camera rather than in front of it, but this would be a good way to represent not only myself but Darrel and ultimately the Arts @ Large organization and what they have to offer Milwaukee.

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On the day of the interview about my project, I brought Darrel with me and we appeared together on LIVE tv.  The interview asked a few questions to me and Darrell and then showed the entire two minute piece that I had created.  It was such a great experience to show my work, think on my feet and I was so glad that I got to spread the word on a specific person and what he does for an amazing organization that is a great asset to Milwaukee.

To watch the video interview that was broadcast, please click the link below:
http://www.wisn.com/news/entertainment/arts-profile-daryl-payne-arts-large/-/9373032/20293452/-/p0jhisz/-/index.html