Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Landscape or Lifescape?

Landscape photographs are extremely fascinating to me. Most of the time they depict the sublime beauty of the geography or the dynamic of the topography. But what I see in them is where people live. The idea of place being important to who we are doesn't often come to mind when we are asked to analyze ourselves. But place has a huge influence on what we eat, how we dress, our activities, and our lively hoods.

Place is important to culture too. I am apart of the northern Midwestern culture, so my landscape photos are all in the northern heartland.

I photograph what I know!


Feel free to leave comments!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wiki & Abstracts (no. 39) - Shirin Neshat

One thing I want to do with my life is travel the world and photograph what I experience.

I love learning about other cultures, and especially the women and the lives they lead.

Post 9/11 there has been an intense focus on the Middle East, and yet nothing is truly known about the people that live there. Most Americans can say only a few facts, like that they are Islamic and they live in a male dominated society. For me, it's the women of the Middle East that are the most misunderstood by the media.

One photographer who works to tell the story of the women of Iran is Shirin Neshat. Born in Iraq Neshat has the unique position that she is an Iranian women with a western education and an Iranian upbringing.

Neshat takes photos Iranian women and uses symbolism to convey messages about the role they play in their society. A common theme is that she uses sacred or well-known Iranian text written in beautiful calligraphy and paints them directly onto her subjects, in way saying what the women cannot say. Her photos are all about giving s voice to the women of Iran.

Neshat uses guns into a lot of her photos because she wishes to symbolize the violence in the lives of Iranian women and the pain that it causes them and their families.

Traditionally in Iran it is forbidden to bear the bottom of your feet, so writing calligraphy on exposed feet is controversial.

Neshat is also not only a amazing photographer she is also a talented film maker, check out her movie Women Without Men:

Neshat is a super incredible individual, and this interview speaks for itself:

I think it is essential for women to learn from other women, especially women so different from ourselves.

Wiki & Abstracts (no. 38) - Charles Csuri

I am taking a break from focusing on amazing women in the media and paying homage to an innovative artist who pioneered computer art and is considered the father of graphic design, computer animation, and computer fine art.


Csuri is his early art career experiment with styles like Cubism and Pop Art, but none of the most traditional tools like paint and canvas appealed to him. Instead he decided to use his computer as a art tool. Before Csuri images create on the computer screen were not considered art with a capital "A". Through many years of experimentation Csuri came up with ways to create 3D graphics and designs in a 2D picture plane with a computer program.

Cubic Space 1969

To our modern eye "Cubic Space" might not look like a well done design, but we have to remember that this was done in 1969, so for its time it was insanely advanced.

Csuri then took his designs and turned them into short animated films. The short below, Air Balloons, the world space has been divided into thin slices of color. As the objects moves through one slice entering another one the color changes...color appears as rings because of the curvature of the object. The object's speed of movement position through space determines the rate of color change. The world space can also be sub divided into thicker sections. Their orientation as well as the world color space can be altered over time. Color space can be changed at a faster pace than the movement of objects.

Csuri's most famous and signature style was his Lines In Space computer drawings. In these computer drawings Csuri to lines and made them 3D. This illusion of space revolutionized computer graphics.

Here is a brief biography on Charles Csuri if you want to learn more about his influence on computer graphics, something  that is used in every aspect of the media today.

Csuri did the majority of his world in the 1960's, a 44 years later his has a blog!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wiki & Abstracts (no. 37) - Barbara Kruger

In class Rob dicussed the importance and the weight of the phrase...

"I am."

That day I came across this image:

This discovery lead me to find one of my new favorite artists who uses many forms a media (text, photograpy, video, graphic design, etc.) to create art and deliver messages.


Kruger is a rebel, straight up and saucy. She was a success in the art world from a very early age and has been working in magazines creating graphic designs since she was twenty-two. Her method of madness is to swtich her audience from just observers to active thinkers, for there minds to be invovled in the art.

Much of Kruger's work engages the merging of found photographs from existing sources with blunt and aggressive text that involves the viewer in the struggle for power and control that her captions speak to. In their trademark white letters against a slash of red background, some of her instantly recognizable slogans read “I shop therefore I am,” and “If you don't control your mind someone else will." Much of her text questions the viewer about feminism, consumerism, and individual autonomy and desire, although her black-and-white images are culled from the mainstream magazines that sell the very ideas she is disputing.

"Don't be a jerk" refers to mindlessly following the ideas of the masses and not thinking for yourself.

"We don't need another hero" refers to the role sthat men a pressured to play the hero and women are expected to be play the damsel in distress. Kruger often plays on the fact that both women and men have unfair roles thrust upon them at birth.
Kruger still works today and is activiely involed in the magazine industry.

She has even done many installation peices that use many text to convey her messages.

Here I have a video clip for a explanation of her work from the artist herself!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wiki & Abstracts (no. 36) - Cindy Sherman

Since watching the John Doe Liberty videos and discussing the importance and usefulness of having a persona to deliver a message I thought about an amazingly brilliant photographer named Cindy Sherman.

Sherman used the medium of photography and created persona's to raise challenging and controversial questions about the roles and representation of women in society. Her photographs were taken during the 70's, right around the time women in society were reevaluating their position in society and the media.

All of Sherman's photographs are self-portraits that she sets up herself. She always created a narrative that played on issues like the importance of beauty for women or the how women are expected to act.

Here Cindy plays on the stigma of how women are helpless.

Here Sherman plays on "small town girl in a big city".

Here Sherman play on women's roles in the home, mainly the kitchen. In this particular photograph she is turning away from her "job". You get then sense that she is trapped in the frame, and the pot handle is pointed directly at her heart, which could be considered a foreboding image. Sherman was a genius when setting up a frame, and because digital cameras were not invented yet, she often went threw rolls and rolls of film just to get one shot.

This photograph makes a statement about how women are expected to present their bodies as appealing in unnatural poses. Here Sherman poses in a contorted manner and keeps a doll-like lifeless look on her face. She questions why women are considered more desirable when we are more unnatural versus moving naturally.

***It's important to note that in fashion magazines and in the media we often see women in contortions and trained movements. We have in a way become desensitized to this.***

Sherman's most recent work has become more over-the-top with her persona's and focuses more on how women have become abstractions of themselves by using make-up and clothes to cover ourselves up and change our appearance. She creates a purposely unattractive and awkward looking to push her idea that masking ourselves is unnatural.

Surprisingly, her photography has recently been commissioned to take photographs for a M.A.C. cosmetics advertising's campaign. And she still is using her over-the-top persona's. Quite the paradox, huh?

For more information on Cindy Sherman's M.A.C. campaign click on the link.

Wiki & Abstracts (no. 35) - Dorthea Lange

Dorthea Lange is a photographer who documented the Great Depression and the Japanese Americans who were relocated after Pearl Harbor. Dorthea Lange was not afraid of controversy and sought to push truth in a photograph. What made Lange special is that she truly cared about her subjects. She saw inequality and wished to put the reality of what poor and desperate really means in America right into peoples faces.

Here are some photos of her work during the Great Depression featuring a migrant family and out of work farmers :

Lange's work of the Japanese relocation camps during World War II after Pearl Harbor reflected the racism and cultural ignorance that sprung from fear. The pictures below are of racism, Japanese Americans, and the interment camps the Japanese Americans were relocated to without a choice.

This type of racism and ignorance continues on today, especially after 9/11. Interesting how history repeats itself, huh?
Photography is a way to capture truth and educate us on our mistakes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wiki & Abstarcts (no. 34) - Women Photographers

To go along with my blog posts about female photographers I thought I'd share my favorite books on the subject.

IN REAL LIFE: Six Women Photographers

Click the links to learn more!