Photography Critique

October 29, 2008

 

Joshua Barash (1966-) is a contemporary photographer that uses several types of media to make unique, interesting images. What makes his work so distinct is his use of light projections of other photographs on the naked bodies of women. These women are generally shapely and faceless, and are comparable to a canvas for Joshua Barash’s work. Because of the intricacy of the projected photographs as well as the reality of the women’s bodies, it is often hard to differentiate between the forms and the image. His images are generally colored photographs and are featured on a black backdrop. One of his most striking images that speaks to his use of design is Under Riverside Drive II.

In Under Riverside Drive II, Barash uses intense contrast in order to compliment the initial form of the woman. She is seated with her back to the camera and her feet underneath her  body. Her hair is up, so as not to upset the projection, and her arms are folded politely in front of her body. The image is the opposite of a silhouette and filled with negative space, so the focus of the eye is therefore brought to the shape of the woman and the projection on her body. The projection on her body in itself is a great example of line, depth of field and pattern. The projection is a black and white photograph of metal beams and construction on the underside of a bridge. The beams run horizontally along the woman’s backside, and farther down along her hips they start to run vertically. The projected image has a vanishing point of a tunnel that all the beams and lines run to. This is the central focus of the projected image.

What is also interesting about Barash’s photograph is the placement of the projection on the woman’s back. Rather than placing the projected photograph’s focal point, or the beginning of the tunnel, in the middle of the woman’s back, he decides to place it on her left buttocks. One could only assume that the projected image’s focal point was at one time within the middle of the photograph, however,  by placing it on her left buttocks rather than the center of her back, he is adding to the curvature of her lower body. It also utilizes the rule-of-thirds if her back was considered to be the canvas.

It is unclear whether or not the projected images are, in fact, his own or the photography of another artist. If changes were to be made to the piece, credit should be given to whomever took the projected images. Also, within Under Riverside Drive II, the projector does not cover the entirety of the woman’s body. The top of her head is slightly cut off and is lost in the darkness of the black backdrop. Barash should ensure that his projected images covered his whole models, to create a solid and complete image. Overall, Joshua Barash creates an appealing image that forces the viewer to reevaluate the canvas and reality of the photograph. His images are unique in their presentations and give perspective on contemporary photography. 

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bliss poster

October 28, 2008

Photoshop Project

October 22, 2008

 

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

October 15, 2008

 

Gustav Klimts The Kiss

Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"

Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is by far one of the best examples of early twentieth-century art. Klimt was an Austrian painter born in 1862 that contributed to the Art Nouveau movement within Vienna as well as Symbolist and antirealist ideals. Klimt was a very distinguished artist that focused primarily on the erotic figure of women. “The Kiss”, (1907-1908), is one of his most prestigious works and contributed to his success as an artist. The Art Nouveau movement is characterized by organic, botanical patterns and curving lines. Klimt is also unique in his technique because he utilized gold leaf within his work. 

“The Kiss” is an oil on canvas drawing of two lovers. The man is kissing and embracing the woman, who is in turn accepting his embrace and leaning up to him. The are perched on top of a grassy cliff, which overlooks the textured, brown background. There are several elements and principles of design within the image that make it especially captivating for the viewer. First of all, the skin of the couple, their clothing and the setting are completely different textures. The skin has a dull, flat look to it while their clothing and background stands out vibrantly against them. Their clothing is what makes the painting so magnificent. They wear long, robe-like clothing that is decorated almost like a mosaic. Their bodies have a loss of form within these robes, and they almost appear to be meshing into one. The robes, although sharing a sort of unity with each other, are very different in shapes and color. The man’s robe is golden and consists of patches of squares placed sporadically around the robe. They differ in size, and are either black, white or shades of grey. The woman’s dress is also golden, but is decorated with more colorful circular and botanical patterns. Her dress has much more color than the man’s: purple, red, blue, turquoise, and white. The circles also differ in general shape and size. A golden sheath seems to encompass the man and the woman in their embrace, comprising of golden, target-like circles. A unity is created between the man and the woman by this and the two come together as one. The painting also reflects Art Nouveau characteristics. For example, the women’s feet are covered in golden ivy, her hair is decorated with flowers and he wears a laurel upon his head. The swirling circles within the women’s dress, the golden sheath that covers them, and the botanic nature of the cliff on which they perch are all characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement. 

This painting is a fantastic piece of art because it utilizes and constructs so many different principles of design. There is an asymmetrical balance between the man and the woman, and the elements of design like color, emphasis and shape create a unity. There is a notable proportionate difference between the man and the woman, and there is also an atypical pattern exhibited within their clothing, setting, and background. The contrast between the tones of their skin and the bright, fullness of their surroundings gives emphasis, and a rhythm is created within the movement of shape in their clothing. Gustav Klimt uses these elements and principles to create a thought-provoking image of love and intimacy that has become renowned for its technique. 

Principles of Design

October 15, 2008

Balance

This image by Robert K. Everest exhibits a sense of balance through its use of color and shape. The colors seem to flow in a similar fashion: the dark blue at the top which is contrasted by the yellows and greens, which therefore moves into reds and purples near the bottom of the painting. The image is asymmetrical in balance.

 

Contrast 

Melissa White’s painting shows strong contrast between the foreground and the background of this costal scene. The sunny, orange shades of the background give more emphasis to the dark shape of the coast. The reflection of the sun in the water also helps to create a contrast of the coast. 

 

Proportion

Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun’s self portrait represents significant proportions. The artist was careful to place all facial features sensibly and reasonably sized in order to create a rational image. Her paintbrushes, ink board and canvas are also in proportion with the rest of her body. 

 

Pattern

This Islamic rug holds an obvious pattern. The shapes, forms and movement are very similar, however, each flower within the pattern is different. They are all connected through lines and boundaries within the entirety of the rug and share consistency.

 

Rhythm

Heidi Hybl’s image displays rhythm through its use of elongated shapes that allow the eye to follow them. There is a sense of repetition within the piece and also a graduation of shapes and shades. This rhythm also gives a sense of depth to the image.

 

Emphasis

Michael E. Vermette’s watercolor is a great example of emphasis. The bright orange color of the boy’s jumpsuit against the deep blues of the ocean bring the eye to the boy and his activity. He also becomes the center of focus because he is the center of the painting. There is also emphasis on the birds because of their contrast against the blue ocean. 

 

Unity

Theresa Andreas-O’Leary’s painting exhibits unity through the consistency of lines and shapes. The background remains relatively similar throughout the whole picture and the the trees, which are all the same kind of tree but all look different, are placed within the foreground. These shapes and lines display a “coherence of the whole”. 

 

Variety

Alex Platune’s painting shows a variety between the the distinct shapes and differences amongst the images within it. There is a variation between the colors of the grapes, between the shapes and color of the  wine vessels, and in the difference in color and texture of the background. 

Lumiére Critique

October 8, 2008

Matt H.’s Lumiére film entitled, “Dinner Plate Robbery” was one of the better films I watched on Wednesday. It followed all the requirements in order to be donned as a “Lumiére” film including: a single framed shot, realistic content, and the exclusive of use of special effects. All the action was filmed within 1:07 minutes, included a title, and  was filmed in a classic, crank-camera style. This style was particularly interesting to me. It gave the film an authentic, Lumiére feel, and was visually interesting. The content of the film was also interesting, however I think Matt should have showed more of the “Dinner Plate Robber” in order to keep it more interesting. The angle of the shot was also creative and definitely brought more attention to the content of the scene. 

I really enjoyed creating the Lumiére film primarily because it was so easy. It was the perfect opportunity for someone without filming experience, like myself,  to introduce themselves to a camera, filming, and editing. It was my first time using the newest version of iMovie, so it was a bit of a crash-course in filmmaking. I know it’s no masterpiece, but I’m really proud of my first film. I wish I had used a better camera for filming so that the quality was a little better, but other than that I was quite happy with it. I was very comfortable with people watching it and think that there was a generally good response to it. 

Comedy Films

October 8, 2008

1930’s-1950’s

 

Setting up your Shots

 

Medium close-ups of all Three Stooges

Rule of Thirds

Not a single cut solely depicting one or two of the characters: all three are always in frame

Cut-aways between medium close-ups and close-ups

 

Mis-en-scène

 

props: sweater, metal bars, hammer, scissors

set: In front of work truck, where all tools/props would be handy

sounds: thunks, smacks, clunks of hammer on head, stretching of sweater, Curly noises, etc.

lighting: filmed outside during day

blocking: director has placed actors in such a way that does not block any of them.

 

 

Film Theory- Slapstick Comedy

 

http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Romantic-Comedy-Yugoslavia/Slapstick-Comedy.html

characterized by verbal outbursts

extreme body comedy

performing lack of control

exceeds boundaries of common sense

descendent of the comic routines of Italian commedia dell’arte (mid-fifteenth to mid-seventeenth century) touring players, who developed basic plot scenarios and broad, swiftly drawn characters

1960’s-1980’s

Part 1

The clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail uses a few different shots from the Setting Up Your Shots book.  One is the crane up entrance, which is used when the knights crouch up behind rocks at the entrance of the rabbit’s cave.  This same part can be viewed as POV or over the shoulder because some the actors are crouching and some are standing, as well as the actors behind the camera.

Also, jump cut sequences are used to show the rabbit attacking the different knights.  They put in zoom cuts to show the rabbit jumping first from far away, then the close up of the rabbit biting the knights’ necks.

Part 2

The Mise-en-scène from this scene does a very good job of telling the viewer of what they should expect in the future.  If the viewer had only seen this particular cut, they would be able to understand how ridiculous the humor is in the film.  It starts off by showing all the men ride up on their pretend horses.  They gallop along as if they were on top of a horse and everyone in the scene is completely serious.  They are also all wearing medieval outfits and armor.

There is not much makeup visible, but the vibrant red they use to show the blood from the rabbit attacks definitely gives the scene more absurdity.  The thought alone of blood dripping from a rabbit’s mouth could make me laugh.  In addition, the skeleton head at the beginning of the scene sets up for a dark or somewhat serious event, which later proves to be quite the opposite to the audience.

Part 3

The entire Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie is a rediculous type of comedy that stretches from slapstick to sattire.  The film is the upmost crazy in which it is slapstick.  The actors used absurd scenarios and commentary to create laughter in comedies that had not been seen before the Monty Python sketches started.

The Holy Grail movie was definitely a satirical comedy.  The main story is based on King Arthur, who is a well known figure in medieval stories.  Although Arthur may not be proven to have ever actually lived, the fact is that the Monty Python crew was making fun of the stories behind all the knighthood, chivalry, and medieval outfits.

In this scene, they seem to combine their outrageous slapstick humor with their parody, by creating a killer bunny rabbit.  This can be seen as ridiculous and poking fun at all the legends of fake monsters such as dragons (Dirks, Tim).

Dirks, Tim. “Comedy Films.” FilmSite 1998-2008 30 Sep 2008

<http://www.filmsite.org/comedyfilms.html&gt;.

 

1990’s-present

The Big Lebowski is an extremely dark satirical comedy. By definition satire has a defined target, however, through the course of the film several different targets are satirized. The nature of the targets of this satire along with the grim yet passive nature of the film is what makes the movie a Dark Comedy.

In this scene they are not so much mocking death as pointing out the ridiculous and essentially pointless ways we approach it. The two contrasting characters, Walter and The Dude, create an interesting dynamic that essentially play off each other to deliver this grim satire.

After the death of their friend, Walter and The Dude attempt to spread his ashes out across the ocean. When they cannot accomplish even this one simple task The Dude has a “breakdown” and a temporary roll reversal occurs in which The Dude becomes angry and aggressive and Walter attempts to comfort him. This scene is coherent with a larger theme of successful incompetence throughout the film.

Shot breakdown.

1. Medium close up to three shot.

2. Cut out to zoom (still three shot)

3. Zoom to medium close up

4. Cut to medium close up (repeat)

5. Scene break

6. Establishing shot (two shot)

7. Medium two shot close up to long shot

8. Back to medium two shot

9. Cut out to over the shoulder back to medium close up.

10. Cut to medium close up 2 shot to three shot (coffee can)

11. Over the shoulder. Cut to medium close up repeat.

12. Cut to medium shot

13. Scene

Mis-En-Scene

The Mis-En-Scene that is seen in this clip from The Big Lebowski is very consistent with the rest of the film. Though makeup is not readily noticeable on the characters, their costumes are direct representations of their personalities. Walters’s eccentrically conservative attire reflect him perfectly, while The Dudes laid back bowling garb is a perfect representations of him.

The shots themselves are usually very “big and empty”. What this means even though the shots are wide (in this case including a vast ocean and huge cliffs) the only thing relevant are the two characters having a dialogue. The film also makes ample use of the rules of thirds, leading lines, vanishing points, and natural frames. This makes it very easy and fun, easy, and interesting to watch.

Though in other scenes the lighting is used to create a specific desired effect. This scene makes good use ambient natural light. This technique is a reflection of the nature of the scene itself.

 

 

Le pettite chasse” directed by Pamela Basilish

I cannot say I knew anything about the Innu culture before watching the online All Roads Film Festival short entitled, “La pettite chasse”. For some reason I thought the Innu were Alaskan based but they are, in fact, indigenous to Quebec and Labrador in Canada. I really appreciated this film because it focuses on the preservation of mother-daughter relationships — which is not established enough in typically male dominated media. The mother obviously feels proud of her heritage and wishes to pass that pride onto her daughter. Also, the women are spending time with each other by hunting, which is generally a male dominated activity. I think the filmmaker’s method was also appropriate. The director, Pamela Basilish, chooses not to accompany the film with any music but utilizes only the dialogue between the women. She focuses on their discussions about hunting game, shooting, and the differences between the Innu culture and city life. Apparently the family lives mostly in the city but travels to the woods to hunt game often. Symbolism, including the girl’s hesitation to shoot the gun and the mother’s teachings on Innu language, is a dynamic part of the film. Shooting the gun and accepting her mother’s teachings go hand-in-hand with the idea that the daughter has to inevitably accept her traditional culture, or “shoot the gun”, in the unrealistic, globalized world in which she lives normally. The girl sees these “Hollywood images” within magazines she reads near the end of the film, but she retains and appreciates her own distinct cultural heritage.

 

The Aboriginal people of Australian are the oldest civilization still in existence and have rich designs and art that reflects them culturally. The technique known as “Dot Art” is particularly distinct within the Aboriginal people of Western Australia and became more well known within the 1970’s with the establishment of the Papunya Tula Artists Pty. Ltd. Originally, dot art was used for ceremonial and spiritual purposes, mainly to depict scenes from “The Dreaming”. “The Dreaming” is a spiritual realm that establishes the patterns of life, the Creation, and general mythology within Aboriginal ideology. “The Dreaming” is where totems, or  animal-resembling entities that watch over families and tribes, spiritual beings, and the deceased reside. Dot art is also popular on tools and other distinctive Aboriginal products like didgeridoos, bull-roarers, and boomerangs. 

 

There is a strong emphasis on a “packing and cracking” pattern within dot art. Several paint dots are purposefully placed on a medium in order to create a  larger, more harmonious pattern or image. These dots can constitute the entirety of the painting, or can simply embellish on a more central figure. The dots normally follow a linear pattern, and the lines of dots sometimes vary in color in order to symbolize the importance of each line and to create movement within dot art. For example, dots that connect larger, more distinct circles often represent the paths that lead tribes together (the larger circles being the tribes). There is consistently the principle of balance within dot art as well. Generally there is approximate symmetry in which equivalent but not identical forms are depicted. There may be a central figure of a kangaroo, but the shapes created around the form will be identical in shape and size. 

I became familiar with Aboriginal dot art during a visit to Australia in 2005. The unique creation and visual production of the technique has been very interesting to me since then. Also, it would just be foolish to pass up an opportunity to show-off my boomerang. 

The Hunt

October 1, 2008

 

 

 

Yup. That’s me. This was the Scavenger Hunt project that we completed a couple weeks ago