Today, I went to a place I love to frequently visit. I have always photographed the same and similar things every time I go. This time, I decided that I was going to photographed with a different idea in mind: see if you can figure out where I was. Some of my photographs tell very little as to where I was while others have easier hints. I have put them in order from hardest to easiest in terms of guessing my location. Everything is from the same place. Have a look. Can you guess where I was?
I found it relaxing to be photographing whatever I saw around campus. It let me check in on my progress in photography. Some of my progress is that more of my images have people in them. Some share details about who they are. An example of this is in the first image. We can see she likes to photograph. We also see that she enjoys music. She sits and waits for someone to walk by to complete the vision of her shot. Her phone, which has a dog on it, sticks out of her pocket with the head phones running up to her ear. One ear bud hangs in front of her so she can still hear what’s around her. She quietly sings along and then readies herself as someone walks by.
Abstracts. One of my photographic comforts. I have shot abstract photography for years and is one of the forms of photography I started with. I have gotten up close to many things from Indiana, Las Vegas, to here in San Diego; however, I have not photographed in my home. I made a challenge for myself that I would, rather than go out and photograph like I normally do, leave my cozies on and photograph in my house.
When photographing, I looked at the things that I use every day in the house. I photographed many different items from a table to batteries. I am still thinking of different things to photograph in my home. Maybe it was not the best idea to take abstracts photographs in my home, but doing so is making me think more about photography than before, and, to me, I feel even more immersed in what I enjoy.
With Dorothea Lange in mind, I photographed my friend, Michelle, in one of her environments where she works on her dissertation. Whether it is LGBTQ equality curriculum or photography, Michelle is a complex and critical thinker. She takes moments to photograph while she works. She loves teaching and photography and she has combined them in the classroom and when she studies. (self doubt by Michelle)
In the photographs you can see that Michelle has isolated herself from to avoid people. She also placed herself by the door so that she feels like she can escape. When you look at everything around her, to some it may just look like a cramped work space but for Michelle, it is a nest of comfort to help her feel better about being out in public. Michelle brings her own coffee mug so she has a little bit of home, her safe place, with her.
She wears a bracelet for suicide prevention because of her struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide, it is a reminder to “be brave” and that she is not alone. It was a gift from her husband to also say that she has support.
I photographed Michelle keeping Dorothea Lange in mind. I tried to capture Michelle’s story through my images. Showing her strength of being away from home. This type of photography is a somewhat difficult for me because of my shyness around people I do not know and have to interact with, but what made it easier, apart from the fact that I knew her, was that they were candid shots. I never told her to do anything or move anywhere. I find these to be some of the best shots to get; when people are not staged in my photographs.
I am also not much of a talker like Lange was: introvert. Like Lange, I enjoy photographing in a natural, unstaged environment. I highlight some of the struggle Michelle confronts as well as the complexities of her life. Learning more about Lange, I hope to get out of my comfort zone a little and document the people around me without fearing the interaction that comes with it.
I watched Grab a Hunk of Lightning which is about the photographer Dorothea Lange. It takes us into Lange’s world and how she lived her life as a photographer. I have known about Dorothea Lange for a few years now but only recently started learning more about her. I got a book about her, A Life Beyond Limits, for Christmas and have been reading about her since then. This film was a little like watching what I was reading.
Since I have been reading about Dorothea Lange, I did know more about her going into the film. I learned about her family and more of what she did as an activist. Lange’s photographs of the stitched stockings said a lot by looking at the little details.
The image Lange took of her son’s hand, John, holding flowers that he tried to give her on Mother’s Day shows us how much she though about photography. “Beauty appears when one feels deeply. Art is an act of total attention.” Lange’s words tell us that the beauty of an action is something we must capture. Especially, when act genuinely moves you.
When watching the video of Wrinkles of the City, I liked that JR would photograph everyday people and mount their image on the city walls making the connection of the older people in the images with the worn buildings in the city. I also think the addition of the calligraphy visualizing memories around the images mounted of each person. My favorite part was the old lady that was shown the images of her and she said she felt that she could rest in peace because people knew who she was. I never knew just how much an image of some could mean so much.
I placed a photograph of bamboo into the North County Photo Society Show in fall of 2016 and received an Honorable mention.