Friday, September 26, 2014

Discos de Vinilo - A Typology

This week in my Fundamentals of Digital Media course, we learned about Typologies, inspired by the work of Hilla and Bernd Becher. As you can see, we were instructed to take 16 photos of the same thing, with each individual photo being unique. Being the vinyl head that I am, of course my first thought was to photograph records. I used my Nikon S6100 digital camera to take multiple photos of each record, chose the best of all of them, and then proceeded to adjust the levels and crop them into squares. I used the RGB Histogram within the online Pixlr application to adjust the levels for each photo. The photos were then to be put into a grid using the Pixlr editing application with a blank canvas and a 100x100 pixel spacer.

Overall, this was a very challenging and time-consuming assignment. One problem I ran into is not having the best camera. Nikon is a great brand, but I have been unable to invest in a DSLR camera. Handheld digital cameras can work a lot of the time, but this particular one could not produce satisfying images without using the flash, which, in turn, produced a glare across each record. However, with the resources that I had available to me, and being pressed on time, I think I was able to make it work out. After all, any opportunity to create is a great one.

Until next time, Peace & B Wild.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Toledo, OH - City of Dreams

This is a 30-second video comprised of the full set of Urban Landscape photos that I discussed in my last post. The video was created using the online application "Animoto". Prior to completing this assignment for my Digital Media course, I had never heard of Animoto. Whenever I compiled slideshows like this in the past, I always reverted to using a video-editing software such as Adobe Premiere or Magix Pro. Animoto is a nice application that is easy to use for people that don't know their way around other software. It's simple, all selections in terms of style are pre-determined and available as choices (in other words, there is little customization that you have to worry about), and it's also quite fast if you need to make a quick presentation. Seeing all of the photos compiled into one presentation really makes the ones that don't belong stand out. This entire project has certainly been a learning experience that I will take with me in future photography projects.

The song you hear in this video is Talking Heads' "City of Dreams". The song was one of only a few actual Talking Heads songs that appeared in the 1986 David Byrne film, True Stories. I would say the song fits with the theme of the project quite well. Toledo might not be the best place in the world for careers to take off, but it is definitely a city of dreams in lieu of all the art and inspiration that it has to offer.

Until next time, Peace & B Wild.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

For Toledo and all its Beauty

It's very easy to miss how much character your city has when you've lived there for 19 years, in the same apartment, since you were born. You don't always stop to look at things as you would in a city that is foreign to you. Realizing how much this concept applies to my own life, when I received a photography class assignment dealing with an Urban Landscape theme, I knew what I had to do. 

Not having a vehicle at the time, I took the local TARTA bus to downtown Toledo, walked around for a few hours, and tried to find beauty in the buildings and other sights that generally wouldn't be considered beautiful. Per the assignment guidelines, I took about 25 photos with my cell phone and edited twenty of them with an online application titled Pixlr Express. The LG Optimus F6 phone I used (when set at the highest resolution) has a total of 5 Megapixels on the back facing camera. The phone takes photos that are sized at 2560 x 1920 pixels, equaling a total of 4,915,200 pixels. The resolution is not the greatest in the world, but it worked for the context of the assignment. The photo above, aptly titled "Fire Escape", is my favorite of all the photos taken. The rest can be found here on my Flickr account. This building really stuck out to me in my walk downtown. The slight ruins of the building, coupled with apparent unsteadiness of the fire escape is what really moved me to take the photo. The editing process with Pixlr allowed me to tell a story with this photo that was initially unintended. The first move I made was to crop the photo, getting rid of the unnecessary cars and sky in the first image. Next, I enhanced saturation and contrast, which really brought warmth and great color to the image. Then I decreased the exposure just a bit, giving a darker tone to the photo. The last thing I did was an effect called "Splash". This made the entire photo black and white, and gave me a brush to highlight any area I wanted color in. Discovering this, I highlighted the fire escape itself, which almost gives it a look as if it's actually on fire, when normally the building would be. I ultimately loved the irony of the end result, making this my favorite image among all of them that I took.

I'm really happy that I received this assignment because it allowed me to see how beautiful Toledo really is. Of course there are some amazing artists that create amazing art in this city, and I know many of them personally. Sometimes, however, you just have to stop and look at the city itself to understand how there can be so much elegance in the inelegance.

Until next time, Peace & B Wild.