Rick Smolan, a documentary photographer, was given the opportunity to photograph aborigines in Australia for Time Magazine at the age of 27. This video was a talk about how Rick came to meet Robyn Davidson and to talk about her journey 35 years ago. Robyn was a native Australian woman who was planning to travel 2,000 miles by camel. Robyn wanted to understand her country, find out about aboriginal culture, and do something difficult her in life. A feature film was recently made about her trip, a forgotten story that has been brought to new light. Robyn was very reluctant to get help from anybody and made her 6 month journey on her own. Smolan was hired to simply document the journey, but Rick was kept her company and fell infatuated with her. Robyn wrote a book about her journey and it ended up selling over a million copies in over 18 different languages. Her trip was not something that I could see myself doing, but the journey is very desirable. I am very interested in camping, backpacking and traveling and I this talk was very inspiring. I am motivated by the story and by the characters actions and cannot wait for summer to begin.
Instead of our normal meeting time, our class met in a foreign environment over in Markstien Hall. Joined by fellow artistic classes, our class had the pleasure of listening to the inspiring presentations that Artists had created for us. The total panel consisted of 4 Artists/Faculty showcasing their unique work. The first speaker opened up the presentations by introducing the room to the idea of graduate school, he talked about opportunities and the criteria for entry. His presentation very helpful and useful, I had not been considering graduate school until hearing him speak. The next artist showed her eclectic paintings that collaborated multiple cultural patterns together to create a visually stimulating imagery. I really enjoyed her artwork, but she spoke for longer than she needed to and could have had a much more concise presentation. The next speaker captivated me and grabbed the audience’s attention. He spoke of his life journey bringing him into his work, what is now a business called Vet Art. He works mostly in bronze sculpture molds and creates visually powerful art. His organization is for military veterans who have come back from combat with PTSD and need something to help them escape from reality. Not only was he a very compelling speaker, but also a very altruistic human being. The final speaker was none other than Nancy diBenedetto. Professor diBenedetto showed us her work over the years as a mother and combat photographer for the Navy. I learned a lot about the path that it took for Nancy to accomplish where she is at now and how hard of a worker she is currently juggling 3 jobs an education and a daughter. Professor diBenedetto’s photography that she chose to present was mostly based around her muse, her daughter Sid. Nancy’s relationship with her daughter was visually told through her photo documentary style presentation and where she allowed herself to be vulnerable in front of our class for the first time. Although lengthy, I did enjoy the panel and I think it is a very important thing for other artists to see the path that it takes to achieve your goals as well as see the resources that are available to them.
I had set aside my spring break as the time to see the photographic exhibit at MoPA, but unfortunately I had spent my entire spring break very sick and in bed. I think it was over working catching up with me. I found a day, April 2nd, that worked out for me perfectly to visit a museum and the Getty met the criteria.
Walking through the Getty museum in Los Angeles with high expectations and gaining inspiration from the wonderfully stimulating 13th century oil paintings, and meticulously crafted sculptures . I finally found myself at the end of our journey through the museum at the the Photography exhibit “Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media. I am a fan of older photographic influencers such as Carrie Mae Weems and Francis Benjamin Johnston and was hoping to see their work. After reading the title I assumed and was hoping it would have been photomontage from John Heartfield and George Grosz and wasn’t prepared for the imagery presented.
I didn’t want to research the exhibition before because I like to be surprised, but I think I should have for this one. I walked through the exhibit trying to lock myself onto an image that stuck out to me and can honestly say that I couldn’t find a single one. The imagery was predominately political photography consisting of still frames from interviews on television during the 1960’s to the early 2000’s. There was actually photography in the exhibit as well, the work was nothing that you and I could capture, let alone put onto a wall and deem it museum gallery art. There was a piece that I did enjoy, it was a wall that was covered in 50 years of LIFE magazine covers that was aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
One particular photo set stuck out to me, because it rattled me the wrong way. There was an entire wall and a half given to a “photographer” who had taken some film photographs in what appeared to be his backyard. I assumed that this photography had to have historical significance, but it had been taken in 1999, a year that played no significance politically nor technologically for the camera. The Getty is not known for it’s photography exhibits, but why shouldn’t it be? I think that a museum revered as such should be well rounded in their art, but also take into consideration that this was an exhibit on Mass Media rather than photographic art.
Rick Smolan is a former photo documentarian who shot for TIME and LIFE magazine, along with National Geographic. In his TED Talk he talks about a time when he was given an assignment for work to photograph Amerasian children. After being upset with how his work was portrayed he decided to take 6 months off of work to share the story that he wanted to tell. His photographic subject was a young girl named Natasha, who he grew very fond and attached to. When Natasha’s grandmother grew ill, he began devising a plan to bring this young girl to a safe home in America. This story was extremely heartwarming and was told to an audience with only pictures, the power of photo documentary is very underrepresented and brought tears to my eyes and to the eyes of Natasha. At the end of his talk, Rick brought Natasha onto the stage and he brought this figure to life. I was vert moved by this talk and it shows that the power of photography can unite cultures and can open a an entirely new world.
In this video, Ian Ruther showed a new look on an old technique. He converted his van into what is probably one of the world’s largest cameras. He created his photographs based on the principle of the pin-hole camera technique, where you manually capture light through a tiny hole and reflect it onto a chemically coated metal sheet. The chemicals absorb the light and stain it onto the metal creating a beautifully giant metal print. The operation was not always successful, the plight of the photo adds to the immense reward that is the instant metal print.
Richard Renaldi also brings old school technology to new light. He grabs strangers off of the streets of New York and asks them to take a photograph together using his turn of the century film camera. The people that volunteer to help his art project are normally heavily contrasted in physical appearance, age, race and gender. The outcome of his work is as beautiful as it is captivating. The first glance at his work captures the viewers attention, but the story behind the strangers makes for a wonderful photograph. Since the photographs are printed on film, they have a texture that breaks the 21st century digital grunge.
Let’s start this post off by talking about my least favorite assignment in class, the infamous Photo Booth project. The photo booth could have gone one of two ways and it ended up going with the ladder. The only positive aspect of the project was being able to be around dogs, but almost everything else went completely wrong and not according to plan. I don’t think I will ever work in a photo booth again (I used to work and take pictures at Legoland).
1.My favorite assignment that we have completed this semester is definitely the Photo book. I have always wanted to author a book, but I am not the most talented or intrinsically motivated writer and this was the perfect fit. I really enjoyed the easy program that we used, Blurb, it made designing the pages and cover simple. The price was a little higher then I had hoped, but I am still very excited to see the outcome and feel my artwork in my hands.
2.The Night photography – in class assignment was a close second to my favorite. I really enjoyed this project because it gave Kaelie and I creative freedom and let us work with tools that you ordinarily wouldn’t use. I enjoy working on my own and I do more often, but more times then not I have a lot more fun collaborating with creatives. my I would have liked to see an assignment forcing us to take night or astro photography on our own because there is definitely a learning curve that you have to fail at a lot before you learn it.