Summer is usually more laid back at Bellevue College. It has been extremely sunny for the pinhole assignment making the exposures very short. Once again, I find the figurative ones most interesting. The following are negative and positive versions. The first two are by Qingqing Lin.
The next ones are self-portraits by Wyatt Kim.
The following two are by Rena Chen.
The last ones are by Ryan Moffat. I love the reflection in the iPhone!
Unlike other types of photography, such as landscape and portraiture, the point of narrative photography is to tell a story or suggest a sequence. The story/sequence can be fictitious or documentary in format. It can be linear or consist of flashbacks or montages of events. It can be inspired by poetry or the lyrics to a song. The possibilities are endless. Students worked with color film for this assignment. Narratives consisted of at least seven images each. The following images are excerpts. The first several are by Claire Wong. Claire’s words: Living is about accumulation. It’s about collecting, growing, consuming, breathing. Claire wanted to create classical still lives yet with modern things. The next two are her images.
The next series are Claire’s as well. I love that type is incorporated within her images. Here is her written narrative: I’m sorry I left the back door unlocked you’re going to get yourself killed I’m sorry I left the gas on I just forgot how am I going to let you live by yourself I’m sorry I’m sorry I scratched your car I’m sorry I don’t now what else to do tell me what to do I’m sorry I’m not skinny enough I’m sorry I’m sorry I sleep all the time you need to stop taking naps why are you so tired I’m sorry your room is a mess I’m sorry I’ll clean it (I never clean it) ( I’m sorry)
The next series is by Katie Glasnovich. This is an excerpt from her written narrative “……when we leave the room that is our home and step into the world of our backyard, everything we know is small…We become trapped in the backyard trying to find ways to entertain ourselves; obsessed with trying to make life beautiful….This backyard means something to me because I have grown up in it my entire life. It is me. This house I photograph is me. And these photographs represent me….I have struggled through loss; I have struggled through so many things. But I have been gifted to see the beauty…I cherish quiet moments of bliss. I cherish the way rays of sun may hit a certain object. I cherish life. I am ready to break free from the world as I know it; I am ready to venture outside of my backyard. I woke up one day. I saw many things and felt many things and experienced many things. Now I want more from the world.
The next three images are by Lisha Du. I love the soft focus. Lisha is lamenting lost love: This is what I wore on our first date. I dropped into your smile that day. This dress seems old and sad today.
Time passes by. I still remember your smell every time I smoke. Marlboro is your favorite cigarette. Now I am smoking it, thinking about our romance.
There are a thousand ways to get over you. Memory is the only problem.
The next three images are by Meridian Smith. Meridian wrote a poem for her narrative called “Life Goes On.”
If you want something to stay the same then you’ll have to learn to deal with decay. These things that are falling apart once held great significance for those who were here at the start. Within this memorial lives my grandfather’s parents, my grandmother, my father. Within this memorial lives cobwebs, mold and junk. We’ve abandoned the things to keep the memory safe. A memorial exists to respect the dead. But it’s beauty exists for the living’s sake.
Jonathan Dunham photographed the following narrative about fishing. Jonathan’s words: My day on the water allows me to get away from reality. As I head out to find the best place to go fishing, I start to reflect on what is happening in my life. When I arrive where I will be fishing, my thoughts drift away and I begin to focus on what I am doing and the nature around me.
The next three images are by Ben Earnest. Ben wrote the following: The main theme for this triptych is sunlight. What I was trying to accomplish is to show the landscape of our overall neighborhood while including sunlight as a major part in all the photographs. I want to capture as much beauty in my neighborhood as I possibly can.
Classical portraiture focuses solely on a person whereas environmental portraits are photographs of a person taken in their surroundings, the places where they live, work or play. In this assignment students picked one person to photograph. They used the mode of portraiture to explore the effects of shallow and deep depth of field (aperture) along with motion and time (shutter speed). They were encouraged to have a collaborative experience with their subject. Students used digital cameras for this assignment and made prints from Epson printers in the photo lab. The first photograph is by Mei Wong. The image is of her sister and her bedroom.
The next photograph is by Gyna Yun. Gyna photographed her friend in the park. I love the quality of light and the streamers.
The next photograph is by Lisha Du. It is a self-portrait.
This photograph is by Janelle Kevin of her daughter and her bedroom. She loves France.
The next is a photograph of her father by Meridian Smith.
The next image is by Taylor Faires. I like the auburn hair with the green.
Evellyn Tan photographed her friend in her bedroom. Notice the polaroids on the pillar.
Colin Youngblood photographed his friend at night.
Lincy Thammavongsy photographed her friend with a slow shutter speed while they were spinning on a ride in the park.
This is always a fun assignment. Students construct pinhole cameras and take pictures with them mostly on campus at Bellevue College. Part of the assignment was to do a self-portrait or figurative one using a fellow classmate as a subject. These to me are the most interesting largely due to motion blur and the ghostly effects. The first is a pinhole positive by Claire Wong.
The next is a pinhole negative by Meridian Smith. She used Claire as her model photographing in the outside hallway.
The next is by Katie Glasnovich. She took her camera home and photographed herself in this pinhole negative.
The next is a self-portrait pinhole negative by Jonathan Dunham.
The next is a pinhole negative and positive by Josh Stefaroi. He found something unique and industrial on campus to photograph.
The last is a self-portrait negative and positive pinhole by Estefanie Bazan. The stripes in her shirt were cool!
Students start the quarter off with photograms. I like to think of photograms as “drawings with light.” You can endlessly play with just several objects. Students bring things from home that are meaningful or that they think will be interesting to work with. The project is an introduction to elements of composition so they are encouraged to think carefully with how their objects are placed on the photographic paper. It is also an introduction to the darkroom and the negative/positive process as well as latent image. The first photograms are by Lincy Thammavongsy. She used fabric!
The next is another variation by Lincy.
The next photogram is by Claire Wong. Claire used fabric as well with a little embroidery on the left side. Very subtle.
The last fabric image is by Katie Glasnovich.
Gyna Yun used items to put on makeup and a cup holder. The glowing dots were from an interesting rice paper that she used with metallic gold flecks. It translates beautifully in a photogram.
Jake George picked something that is powerful in it’s simplicity.
Kailey Bostic experimented with items from nature and a torn up piece of newspaper.
John Nguyen created a symmetrical arrangement using ribbon and a feather.
The last is by Jonathan Dunham. He used a fishing reel, some flies and a piece of coral.
Many students had interesting narrative projects. Some were linear and told a traditional story while others were more poetic and reflective in nature. I would like to showcase several student’s work. The first is Michael Bala. Michael’s narrative, When You Sleep, is a study of how artificial light can be absorbed to describe different types of nighttime scenarios. Through these images, Michael wanted to address the feeling of loneliness. He is fascinated with how light can influence the mood of the subject. Here are his photographs.
The next body of work is by Alexis Leader. The following is her narrative. My story starts with a solitary figure dressed in black. The black clothing represents the sadness and inner turmoil that this person is facing.
She is trying to decide whether to leave everything behind in order to follow an urge that she has inside. An urge that tells her she must leave civilization behind; that the trees and the forests are her true home.
She lays down in the woods and listens to what the forest is trying to say while she contemplates what to do.
Eventually, she decides that she must go because sitting still has become too painful. She has become too restless. Her destiny is to wander amongst nature in order to learn the ancient knowledge nature contains. Only those who are quiet enough are able to hear the language of the trees, the language of the rivers, of the plants and of the animals.
She switches to wearing a white dress in order to indicate that she is at peace with her destiny.
She leaves behind everything she has in order to be able to focus and learn. Her shoes and socks and her loved ones are left behind.
She has found her place in this world and she is happy.
During this time, she wanders through the woods and learns everything she can.
Eventually, it is time for her to make the final transition, to move on to the next level of knowledge.
The ghost-like photographs represent her leaving this Earth and entering enlightenment. It is time for her to go higher, to go home and not even her body could tie her down and keep her from leaving.
Unlike other types of photography, such as landscape and portraiture, the point of narrative photography is to tell a story or suggest a sequence. The story/sequence can be fictitious or documentary in format. It can be linear or consist of flashbacks or montages of events. It should have a structure of some kind in order for the narrative to unfold and be understood. The images should relate to each other on a conceptual level or a formal (structural) level or both. Students will be taking lots of color film for this assignment. The idea is to be personal with the narrative. The following images are from Nancy Grace Horton’s Ms. Behavior series.