Unit 3: Painting with Collage

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Describe the elements of your collage and what relationships you have created through your images.
There are only two elements of my collage, which is the umbrella and the picture of me. The umbrella is placed over me so that it shields me from the “rain” on the upper portion of the painting. This makes sense because umbrellas are used to cover someone from the rain. In the picture of myself, I’m seen looking up at the umbrella, seemingly aware that it’s sheltering me from all the downpour.
How have you used the techniques of juxtaposition, dislocation, and or transformation.  Use specific examples from your work.

In the painting, the upper half is supposed to represent a rainy, dark night sort of feel, while the lower half is representing the bright, sunny day. It’s almost paradoxical how it can be rainy at the same time sunny, and how it can be dark while it can be bright. Again, the placement between day and night is a dislocation because they are not often seen together in one same painting and still make sense. The umbrella is also a transformation (though not that obvious) that it becomes not only as a shelter, but also as a border and separation between the two portions of this painting.

Describe your painting technique by explaining your process (what you used and how you painted)

I mostly used the drip effect in this painting to show the rain. For most of the time, I tried to mix a lot of water into the paint so that it would be easier to run, and also so I get the thin, watery effect. In order to stop the paint from dripping down to the part below the umbrella, I used masking tape to cover the umbrella so that the paint wouldn’t run down to the bottom before I caught it with a tissue. For the bottom part, I used a sponge to dab the paint on there to get that cloudy gradient look, and I tried to use as much contrasting (to the upper part) colours as possible.
What areas of your work are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of the upper section, where I had that drip effect along with the depressing mood using the colours. I’m also proud that I managed to get the depth in the upper section using different shades of blue and black. This also created a cave effect where it looks like you’re peering into a cave because the darkest colours are on the outside.
What areas of your work needs improvement?

I think I could improve making the lower section more like daytime instead of just bright, neon colours that simply contrast with dark colours on the top section. I could also improve on blending the collage pictures into the painting instead of having it isolated and looking like it was cut out and pasted.
What is the overall theme or message of your work? Please explain the impact of specific collage photos, colour choice, and technique in painting or use of collage.

The main message of this painting was to show how the world I live in is so enclosed and unexposed compared to the real world. The upper portion represents all the suffering and real pain out there in the world, and the umbrella represents the Hong Kong community I live in, since the Umbrella Revolution could be a symbol of Hong Kong. The lower portion, with the bright and sunny colours, represents the happy and perfect community I currently live in. For the upper section, I chose dark colours such as dark blue and black because dark blue generally represents depression, sadness, or depth. Black usually represents darkness, pain, death, and negativity, and the meaning of these two combined can represent the darker side of our world, with all the pain and suffering that most of us do not see. For the lower section, I used light colours such as yellow to show the happier and innocent society I live in. The umbrella is also corresponding to the two sides, with the ‘outside’ part being black and connected to the upper sections’ dark colours, and the ‘inner’ part being a picture of the blue sky, related to the bright colours of the lower part. This painting was meant to show how the innocent and pure Hong Kong community that I live in shields me from the real suffering of this world, denoted by the dripping ‘rain’, and the proportions of the upper section shows how rare these pure communities are compared to the suffering communities. On the other hand, the fact that I am looking up towards the rain shows how I am aware of the suffering, but have not yet experienced it yet.

Unit 3: Photography Themes

Photography Themes - Childhood

Photography Themes - Teen

Photography Themes - Adulthood

What was the theme for your photographic series?

Childhood and adulthood

How have you chosen to represent your theme through your photos? Share about your subject matter, scene, and camera settings.

We represented our theme through the three stages of life: childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. In the first photo, childhood, the white background represents purity and innocence. When we were taking the first picture, we used slow shutter speed to allow more light and make it brighter. The subject is hugging the stuffed toy and her hair is in pigtails, showing how children are generally playful and innocent. Then we put filters on it to let it show more colour and represent the jubilant, innocent years of childhood through the yellow tint.

The second picture shows the subject letting go of the stuffed toy, showing how in the teenage years, the innocence is peeling away. It also shows how in teenage years, you abandon your childhood in search for identity and adulthood. The grey background represents the transition between childhood and adulthood. For this picture, we used slow shutter to get a bit more light (the setting was really dark), and so that’s why the stuffed toy is blurred in motion. We also put adjusted the colour level so that there’s less colour on this, but not yet black and white. This represents how the colour (innocence) is ‘leaking’ away during the teenage years.

The last picture shows the subject looking back at the stuffed toy in a nostalgic, reminiscing way. It shows how sometimes in adulthood, ignorance is a bliss and childhood seems like it would be better than adulthood. The black background represents the contrast between adulthood and childhood, and how much a person can change from being a child to an adult. For this picture, we used low shutter speed and shone a light at the subject to get the contrast. We put filters on this to make the photo have a blue hue because blue represents sadness, and black and white to show the lack of colour (innocence).

How did you use compositional rules in your final work?

Most of the pictures use the Rule of Space and Rule of Thirds. The second photo also uses vertical and horizontal lines.

Is your work “original”? Why or why not?

I think our work is “original” because we showed childhood and adulthood with not only how the subject reacts to a stuffed toy, but also with colours as well. Most childhood/adulthood themed photos are pictures of children recreated by adults, with the same posture, expression and background. Here, our childhood/adulthood themed photos is a series of reactions to an object throughout life, instead of a recreation of another photo.

Evaluate your photographic series.  How effective is your series in conveying your theme? What would you change?

I think our photographic series is relatively effective in conveying our theme because it shows the transition between a child and an adult. I think it’s also effective in conveying the theme because when one looks at the first photo, they don’t think of life or death, but they think of something related to childhood.  Also, the teddy bear is can easily be related to childhood/adulthood instead of other themes. Lastly, the colour exposure difference causes different moods for each one. The first emits a happy jibe, while the second one is more faded. The last photo would make one feel wistful, and these colour changes show the difference between childhood and adulthood. I would change the person/model in each picture to be same, showing the same person aging throughout their life, portraying childhood and adulthood.

Explain what your role was in the group work?

I was mostly the photographer and also the editor of my photos. My partner would be the model and the prop setter, and I would be the one behind the camera, changing the shutter and aperture settings.


Unit 3: Photography – Summative Photo Task 2 (Action)

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2) Without doing any research, what do you think is the story behind this photo? Explain in one sentence.

A man is running towards his family in desperation because of the natural disasters that have taken over.

3) Research by doing a Google image search (drag+drop image into Google Images search bar) and find the real story behind this photo.  Add a brief description about this real story to your post and make sure you cite the source (easybib).

This image was taken from the documentary, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye, which is a documentary focused on Cartier-Bresson’s life. Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer who was considered one of the most important of the 20th century. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye documents Cartier-Bresson’s stunning photography, from the photo of Gandhi before he was assassinated to the moment Mao ZeDong’s army marched on Peking. This particular photo was taken in Gare Saint Lazare, Paris, France in 1932. Cartier-Bresson named it Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare, meaning ‘Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare’ in French. This picture depicts a puddle jumper, which was cliche back in the 1930s, but New York Times recalls that “Cartier-Bresson brings to his image layer on layer of fresh and uncanny detail: the figure of a leaping dancer on a pair of posters on a wall behind the man mirrors him and his reflection in the water; the rippling circles made by the ladder echo circular bands of discarded metal debris; another poster, advertising a performer named Railowsky, puns with the railway station and the ladder, which, flat, resembles a railroad track.”280cf538-307d-418e-99f0-b385af1ea39c


4) Take 1 action photograph of your partner and upload to your site (for freezing motion use “Shutter” mode). Respond to the following:

  • What compositional rules did you apply?

Rule of space, rule of thirds, horizontal and vertical lines

  • What story/message/mood are you trying to convey through your photographs? How did you accomplish this?

The general theme or mood is happiness and hope. Here, the background blurs and only focuses on the person running, her face cracking with a smile. The distant brightness in the horizon represents how her world is bright and happy, and her black dress and black shoes represent the worries and fears she’s carrying. So this scene shows her forgetting all her worries, with the background blurred and running along side the light of happiness.

  • What do you think are the 3 most important elements in creating the portrait photograph? (person’s expression, background, lighting, proportions of frame, etc.)

Lighting – it contributes to the mood and colour of the photo

Background – blurring the background but not the subject can cause a speed effect that shutter mode cannot create.

Space – Putting the subject in the centre of the photo or the side can create the same effect that rule of space gives.

Unit 3: Photography – Summative Photo Task 1 (Portrait)

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2) Without doing any research, what do you think is the story behind this photo? Explain in one sentence.

This girl has been so exposed to violence and horror that she is afraid even in front of the camera.

3) Add a brief description about this real story to your post and make sure you cite the source.

This is a portrait photo taken by Steve McCurry, depicting a young girl known as the ‘Afghan Girl’, for nobody truly knew her identity. This portrait became world known after it became National Geographic’s June 1985 magazine cover, attracting attention with the girl’s haunting, hollowed sea green eyes. This girl, later identified as Sharbat Gula, is an Afghan woman who was living as a refugee in Pakistan when the Soviet Union bombed Afghanistan. When she was six, her parents were killed during the Soviet Union’s bombing in Afghanistan, leaving her wandering across the mountains to Pakistan’s refugee camp with her siblings. Her brother has said that Sharbat “has never known a happy day, except perhaps the day of her marriage”.

Citations: Newman, Cathy. “A Life Revealed.” National Geographic Magazine. National Geographic, 27 Apr. 2002. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

Summative Portrait

4) Take 1 portrait photograph of your partner and upload to your site (for light/shadow work use “Shutter” mode). Respond to the following:

  • What compositional rules did you apply?

Vertical lines and rule of space

  • What story/message/mood are you trying to convey through your photographs? How did you accomplish this?

I was trying to spread the message that some people in this world haven’t seen the truth yet, which can be discovered through education. Most people only get a sliver of it, and most of the time, when they see the truth, they either pretend they don’t see it or look down and see the negative aspects of the truth. The truth is shown here as the beam of light on the face, and the eyes looking down represent the person ignoring or looking away from the light, not fully accepting the ultimate truth. Once we humans turn down or refuse to accept the truth, we start to find ways to lie, cheat, and turn our backs away from the truth. We start to see manipulate, exploit, run away from the truth, when it’s clearly known that the truth is always there. That’s why we should embrace the truth and spread it’s word, no matter how painful it is to look into the light.

  • What do you think are the 3 most important elements in creating the portrait photograph? (person’s expression, background, lighting, proportions of frame, etc.)

– Lighting

Whatever the light focuses on is what the onlooker or the audience immediately sees. Lighting highlights what the viewer is supposed to see, and is naturally the most eye catching part of the photo. Lighting can also affect mood; for example, when it’s bright the lighting creates a naturally happier mood. When the lighting is dark, the mood is sadder or darker.

– Person’s expression (eye contact)

Eyes can tell a hundred times better than the actual facial expressions. An example is the Afghan Girl, who’s eyes are challenging and alert. Eyes can tell whether you are sad, happy, angry, wary, shameful etc. They express our feelings without having to do much.

– Colour

Colour affects a lot about the mood. Brighter colours, such as yellow, red, orange, give off a happy vibe. In contrast, bluer colours such as purple, blue, grey, give a negative and relatively sad feeling. Sometimes photoshopping your photo so that only one part of the portrait, for example the eyes, has colour can give a very powerful effect to your photo, especially when the eyes tell a story.