I am not well satisfied with this final project because the final week kinda kill me in some way. Time is the thing that makes me not well prepared for this project. After the discussion, I think it is a great idea of putting groups of people around my model to highlight the feelings. The passive three photos were just too similar in situations and emotions. However, I do satisfy with my topic this time and the color I chose for the five photos. I regret that so far I have not make a good use of the shooting techniques and photoshop editing for my photos. I will definitely keep shooting and make a good use of all the materials I have.
Art Statement for Project #5
My topic for the project #5 is Mask Wearing. I began this research when I notice the controversial sides of one of my friend’s personalities. She is always talkative, charming, outgoing, with a great sense of humor when we are chatting online, through any social network such as Facebook and twitter. However, interestingly, when we talked face-to-face, she always remains silent, being shy and indifferent. What’s wrong? Is anything that makes differences? I have considered it really hard and there is one thing that maybe the answer—mask. I found it interesting because I have no idea what the mask is while I am sure there is a mask on her. I can’t tell which side of her is true and which side is a mask.
My inspiration is from the movie Spiderman. Before Peter Parker was bitten by the spider, he was an ordinary high school student. Being shy, self-abased, noteless in school, he had many dreams but was helpless to achieve. However, after he became the Spiderman, he became able to reach his dreams—he helps the poor, fights the evils, saves the world, and protects the girl he loves. When he wears the mask, he is actually a true self. The Spiderman mask turns to something that actually reveals the true self of him. And that is what I want to express in my photos.
I have five photos for this series. The first three photos were taken when the girl was not masked, while the last two photos shows the girl wearing a Spiderman mask.
Each of the five photos reveals a kind of feeling or the girl’s personalities.
The first photo shows a girl standing alone at the riverside and looking at the end of the bridge where a single bird is standing. The consistency between the bird and the girl reminds us of the fact that they are sharing the same lonely feeling. I used off-central focus on this photo to emphasis on the girl as the bird corresponds to her. The frame was chosen as the girl and the bird are the only two roles in the photo, which adds the feeling of loneliness to the atmosphere.
The second photo shows that the girl seizing the net tries to look into the empty tennis court. As frame cuts the edge, we have no idea whether there people there in the tennis court or not. The way she is standing creates a desperate and urgent feeling, leaving a space for imaging what happened at that time. Shadows are added to the girl creating a passive atmosphere.
The third photo shows the girl being shadowed over. She is not standing straightly and her hands are hidden in her pockets. She is facing down and is not exactly looking at something. Those standing postures tell us what the girl is like—sensitive, self-protective, and self-closing. I chose an open space to take this photo in order to construct the contrast and kind of make the personalities of the girl prominent.
The fourth and fifth photos show a completely different scene compared with the first three photos. In the first three photos, I was trying to create a passive atmosphere while the last two shows the opposite feelings. For the fourth one—the girl lying on the sofa with a laptop—the light is soft and she seems really relaxed and therefore creates a comfortable feeling. Most importantly, she is wearing the Spiderman mask, as if she were the Spiderman who is omnipotent. The last photo tells more about the situation. The screen of the laptop shows that she is chatting on Facebook, her eye shows that she was smiling. She is dressing in a fashionable way These two photos that show the girl is wearing a mask actually reveal the fact that she is “unmasked”. This is the true self of her—fashionable, talkative, and vivid.
As you look at the photo one by one, you will find that the vision of the photos becomes dimmer, like time passing by through the five photos. Besides, more and more shadows are added to the girl for the first four photos, and closer moving on to the last two photos.
Mask may not sorely something that hidden the truth, it may also be something that reveal the true self.
For this project, I got most of my idea from the movie Spider Man. The spider man is actually an ordinary, inconspicuous high school student, but he changes to a hero who saves the world when he wearing the mask.
The mask can be something helps hide, but it may also be something that helps reveal. Like the spider man, when he wears the mask, he becomes a real him who helps with problems, fight the evils, and brave to say love to beloved girls. But when he took off the mask, he is like wearing a mask that hide all the good part of him. That is where my idea comes from.
So for my project, I also want to use this idea to express the real connection between mask and the person. I will take photos of people without wearing mask and show that it may be not the real part of them. Meanwhile, I will take photos with people wearing masks and suggest maybe the they are more real with mask over.
I want to use natural light for the unmask photos and use flash with those masked ones.
Those four photographs all exploit the idea of mask wearing and the relationships among the mask, the person, and the connection between these two.
The first photo shows a man who already wears a gorgeous mask is still drawing heavy eye lines, which explains the reason why he is wearing that–to make himself more beautiful, more honorable, more, like someone he is not. That kind of gives the connections between the mask and the person.
The second photo shows a woman who is holding a mask and taking off it. The mask is a happy face with big smile while she appears a sad face hidden behind. The contradiction suggests that the mask tend to hide the negative part of her while shows the fake positive part of her.
The third photo shows a woman taking off her healthy complete mask and reveal the frail, sensitive, broken part of her. It tells the person herself of being frail and sensitive, and also tells the fact that she tends to hide that true part.
The last photo show a woman with a mask saying HAPPY all over while labeling PAIN on her face.
For this project, I have several ideas that want to explore.
Frist of all, I want to address the question of choice. We get at least two choices every time when we meet the crossroads and we are so concerned for the choices we made because we can not come back to make another one. Making choices could be annoying because the uncertain future it brings to and the disappearing of backups. However, making choices could still be fun, it is the reason that varies the world and brings more results.
Secondly, I want to address the sense of balance, whether it is the balance between ideal and reality or freedom and limitation. I attach great importance to the balance in life and want to show how is it gonna work in a way.
Finally, I want to address the uses of social network, such as Facebook and twitter. My focus is on the reality staff. People tend to wear mask when they are in real world and take off it when they are in the network. Others like to hide themselves in the fake world while being themselves in the real world. The mask wearing is not necessarily a bad thing because we hide for reasons, which is what I want to exploit.
For all the three ideas, I want to use natural light and blurring. Natural light helps the coloring in a photo; blurring helps add energy in.
For this portrait project, I chose Janet Borden as my reference photographer and followed her approach of connecting the background and the identity of the person being portrayed. Overall my photos went pretty well as I identified those people’s occupations or habits by posting as much information as possible in the background to suggest facts. Besides, I add the mirror reflections to add depth of the space.
However, although I tended to use natural light for my photographs, some photos HAVE to be taken indoors, which made those photos slightly dark. I adjusted those dark photos by adding light on but made some of the parts too bright. That made printed photos look bad.
For next time’s project, I will adjust the light to a adequate level and try to use natural light as more as possible so that I can create a natural scene in my photo.
For the critique for project 3, we messed up our photos on the board and talked them as all. As a general, my work did good, especially for the IN PARTY one. But there were also many details that can be improved. I did a poor job on naming these photos, making it less interesting than it should be. Sometimes a poor name also made the photo became misunderstanding. I remember in class there was one photo named I AM STAYING that showed a homeless man sitting on a bench while a big sigh behind him saying MUST GO, which was named perfectly. Another thing is that my LONG WAITING one was a little bit blurring, which was resulted from that camera being zoomed in too much while not physically close to the subject. Compared with other students’ work, all my photos were lack of energy. Some movement and the design of frame should be added in photos to create energy in. I should also shift my focus from the center to the edge to create more dynamic compositions.
The artist I refer to is Janet Borden, who is good at connecting the person being portrayed and the background—including people’s behaviors and dresses. Her photos have little energies in and usually appear still. But she can make the person she portrayed being immediately identified, which is also what I want to pursue in my photos.
For my first photo, I connect the woman and the background by using the mirror reflection. Because of the frame limit, the mirror helps when I want to focus the person as more as possible while still add enough background information. The lady was working in a dress shop as the background shows both the staffs behind her and in front of her (viewing by mirror) are dresses. She stands in a polite way with a friendly smile, which is also a character of her job.
My second photo shows a lady who is working in a boutique shop. Compared with the first lady who is working in a dress shop, she dressed in a more fancy way—with lace shirt, necklace, earrings, and elaborate haircut. The background is dimmer and softer than the dress shop, and the staffs such as seemingly expensive handbags and jewelries were displayed in such a way that creating a luxury atmosphere that identifies the lady being portrayed.
My third photo shows a man who is working in a bookstore. I like this photo very much because he presented himself in a professional way that reveal his identity. His facial expression of being staid, the sign with letters as “rent” he was wearing, and the book shelves behind him all show that he is working in the bookstore. Besides, he was highlighted because all the shelves were pointing to him.
My last photo shows an image of student musician. He dressed in a causal student way—a purple shirt, a black backpack, jeans, sports shoes, and a beanie. The Guitar case and a speaker stand beside him. The wall behind his labeled “class” also shows his student identification. I chose natural light for this photo to show the clearness and a sense of young in this photo.
I do think Diane Arbus was essentially exploiting her subjects, as she described her investigations as adventures that tested her courage. The reality she recorded by camera had a deep psychological level that exposed the “flaws” in American life. They were beyond the portrait itself, which represented a dark side of society problems that brought us to a “true” world we want to hide behind. Her photos were regarded as “visually clear yet always mysterious”, hidden the psychological parts by creating a mask above. She tended to mask her photos in a way that exposed the problems behind it. Below is a good example.
The Eyes Have It: Gillian Wearing on Diane Arbus
When I first looked at this photo, I was confused by contradiction between the way the couple dressed and the assuming ages of them. It is “weird” in a way that put the “adult mask” on the teenagers, revealing the teenager problem of being “adult-ish”. We refer to the “ordinary society” and know that it is “unusual”. However, we are not supposed to judge these teenagers whether they are right or wrong only because they are “unusual”. After all, it is a personal business of pursuing freedoms and happiness.
My inspiring photos are all from Janet Borden–the Europeans Small Towns Biography. She did a great job on connecting the person being portrayed and the background (people’s behavior or dresses).
For the first photo Ballerina, the main character girl wearing green dress was connected to a background of ballet girls, from which we can infer to that the girl in green was in a ballet class. The guardrails behind her confirms that she was in a classroom.
For the second one Bikers, the two boys were both on bike and there were two other bikes behind them. They were in front of a store and they dressed in a simple sports way, which all suggested that they were bikers playing on the street.
For the third one Welder, the woman was identified perfectly by the background. She wore a uniform that seems like special made; she wore gloves and a hamlet that indicates her job is pretty dangerous and can’t be seen directly by eyes; the dark background suggested that her working environment was underground. The woman and the background were perfectly connected and help with each other.
For the last one Fife-Drum, the boy was in a uniform and being companied by a group of people around him. They all indicates that the boy was playing drum in the band.