Students are now photographing their final projects. The idea is to have seven or more images that belong together and are cohesive. There are infinite possibilities to consider. One of the possibilities is a photo story or essay. I like to show Bruce Davidson’s documentation of East 100th Street in New York City. His work is definitely environmental portraiture and speaks of place very well. The images look like they belong together. He really plays with angle of view and has some gorgeous compositions. The following are some of my favorites.
This assignment is always an interesting one. Students are required to shoot at least one roll of a person and at least one roll of themselves. Usually, they are apprehensive about the self-portraits but once they start to see the infinite possibilities, they enjoy the process and resulting photographs. Things I ask them to consider involve shadowing someone for the day, environment and how it reflects their subject or themselves, clothing or possessions, body parts, motion and certainly mood and lighting. The first images are by Emeralde Fauson. I don’t think she is aware of Francesca Woodman but her work has a similar feel.
The next self-portrait is by Julia Robertsdottir.
The following image is by Pricilla Hartano. I love the focus!
The next two are by Andrea Stein. The first deals with motion and the second is a double exposure.
The last two are by Cailin Sweet. They are photographs of her mother and the environment looks magical.
The street assignment is a departure from staged scenarios. It involves going out and creating an experience for yourself preferably in an urban area where there is a lot going on. Often, it requires quick exposures in order to capture the “decisive moment,” that moment when you know the picture is perfect. Sometimes you catch it but many times you miss it. The mode of street photography is challenging but also inspiring. Some students experimented with movement while others did some night photography. All in all, they had fun! The first image is a Pike Place Market photograph by Priscilla Hartono.
The next image is at Seattle Center by Katarina Schrag.
Mannequins are often interesting like in this image by Julia Robertsdottir.
This street scene has beautiful shadows by Thomas Gray.
The next image is an interesting point of view by Lily Daniels.
Andrea Stein did some night photography.
The next image shows Smith Tower in downtown Seattle by Cailin Sweet.
I love the selective focus of this photograph by Kielen Simons.
During the assignment it was Halloween. This photograph is in a pumpkin patch by Emeralde Faunson.
The next photograph is by Hiroyuki Mori taken in the University District.
A street musician was the focus of this photograph by Leanna Cabanilla.
This street scene is is reminiscent of Lee Friedlander by Clarice Bruch.
The last photograph was taken at a fair by Katharine Doughty.
The beauty of the still life assignment is that your setup doesn’t move. This is one of the beginning assignments for Photo I. Students are learning how to use the camera controls and how to interpret their light meters. The assignment requires you to set up compositions and think about how to light them while photographing both inside and outside. A few of the images shown border on landscape but I am including them for their quiet mood. The first two images are by Julia Robertsdottir.
The next is her mother’s CPR dummy by Andrea Stein.
The glass below is by Katarina Schrag.
The next two images are by Kielen Simons.
The spiderweb is by Thomas Gray.
Will Duffy was a firefighter. The following is a pepper on fire.
Breeanna Weatherby photographed her art supplies.
Lily Daniels photographed important keepsakes.
The next are two peaceful still life/landscapes. The first is by Connor Shiozaki.
And last, a photograph by Carolina Sawyer.
This is the first project of the quarter and it is always interesting to see what students decide to photograph. I leave it open so that they can simply start and focus on whatever they instinctively gravitate towards. It is an assignment that utilizes aperture and depth of field. They photograph the same scene using different apertures while focusing on something in the foreground as well as the middle ground. The first is a moment in the morning with a cup of tea and lovely window lighting by Clarice Bruch.
The second has detail and texture utilizing the concept of a “frame within a frame” by Katarina Schrag.
The third is a selective focus with a soft gray feel by Kyle Fujita.
The final one has nice leading lines and cropping by Thomas Gray.
Fall is a time of beginning where many of us go back to school after a summer break. The light is quite beautiful and today we are having an Indian summer. However, by the time you read this, it may be gray and rainy! I would like you to notice light at different times of the day, both on sunny days as well as on cloudy days when the light shifts are subtler. Take yourself to Bellevue Botanical Gardens where this shot was taken. Record the changing colors of the leaves with your camera. This is a recommendation, not an assignment but the more you shoot, the better photographer you become.
I have always been fascinated with Mary Ellen Mark’s photographic work, in particular, Ward 81. In 1975, she was assigned by a magazine to do a story on the making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was shot on location at the Oregon State Hospital, a mental institution. Ward 81 was the locked ward for women. The resulting photographs were black and white and very moving. They can be seen on her website at www.maryellenmark.com.
I ran across Bill Diodato’s new monograph entitled Care of Ward 81, which documents the ward that remains after the women are gone. One wonders where they are right now and what will eventually happen to the space. The photographs are in color and hauntingly beautiful. The following is a quote about the monograph. “Bill Diodato’s photographs capture the stories imbedded in these walls. The empty rooms continue to narrate the stories of the women who once lived here. As uncomfortable as the reality of this place is, I cannot help but conjure its smells, feel the light, and sense the many people and the complex histories that crossed though these hallways and rooms.”