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.
Project #4—Portraiture, Brainstorm
For this project, I want to take portrait photos with background being associated with the people themselves. That is to say, how the people behave, how they are dressed, and what the environment are will be connected to the person being taken photo with.
I will use natural light for this project because most of the photos will be taken outdoor and it reveals everything more naturally. I want the portrait photos be more ordinary as daily life photos. So I will just let my models being themselves and do whatever they want—but looking at the camera occasionally. The background or dressing or behavior will be selected carefully because I want to emphasis on the connections and therefore identify those people.
In Limbo—Art Statement
For the project 3—in limbo—I chose three different locations as one in Beloit College, one in the Chinese New Year Party, and another one in Madison western mall. The multiple choosing of places helps show the variety of people’s behaviors, and this variety did bring lots of fun staff in my photos. To capture quick moments without blurring too much, I took all the photos with my camera instead of phone. My goal for this project is to experience with street photography, that is, to frozen a particular moment of people without their consciousness.
My first photo, In Party, was taken in the Chinese New Year Celebration Party. I saw a man sitting alone at a round table while it was crowded elsewhere in the party. The background red color in China red is regarded as a symbol of happiness and liveliness. So I titled this photo In Party to create a contrast to his being alone in order to show his loneliness in the New Year day when family and friends should gather and celebrate together.
My second photo, Back “Peep”, was also taken in the Chinese New Year Celebration Party. It is a very funny moment because when I took the photo, I thought the man wearing glasses was watching the girl wearing glasses in front. However, later on I found out that they actually have no relationship at all because the man was talking to an old woman blocked by the girl that seems like he was “peeping” her. This seemly but not existing connection makes the photo rather interesting to look at.
My third photo, Long Waiting, was taken in western mall in Madison. I saw the father and son when I was waiting for my friends in the shoes’ shop. They were obviously waiting for the mother who was shopping then. While the father was sitting there trying to call somebody, the son was focusing on the iPad screen playing games. They were so careful then that neither of them noticed the shutter sound of my camera. I titled this photo as long waiting to show their feelings of being bored while waiting for woman finish shopping—which seems no end!
My final photo, Can’t Help, was also taken in western mall in Madison. Two men turned their heads towards the big TV on the wall at the same time when they hearing news on baseball. That news made them keep this position for more than 5 minutes that seemed to have no interests for food on the table in front of them any more. I like their expressions very much because they both showed extreme concerns and cares for the news or baseball game happening there.
The thing I want to try next time is to frame my photograph. I took several framed photos at downtown Beloit last week but they are badly framed. So for next project I will try my best to capture well framed photos.
A long road to discovery
This photography by Benjamin Lowy looks very interesting. The old woman seems to enjoy the free time and get a good cohesion into the comfortable background environment. The barber’s shop is also in an old style, with old-fashtioned green sofa and handwriting price list on the wall. The whole photo creates an atmosphere of being peaceful and joy, which is also the daily life moment.
A long road to recovery
This photography creates a frame that was consisted of two parts, one is in the bus, the other is outside of the bus. Those two parts are combined by using the window as a frame and they also illustrate the contradiction of moving forward and backward.
A long road to recovery
This photography uses glass to reflect objects, creating a nice frame that helps emphasis. Because of the reflection, we don’t know where the reality actually lies. The person that was walking behind may not actually be there. This illustration makes the photo afford to think, and interesting to look at.
A long road to recovery
This photography was well framed. The symmetry between these two women is emphasized and the blurring creates a sense of depth.
For this project I want to focus on moments happened on people, and how people response to with their postures, facial expression, and even their hidden emotions. I don’t want to focus on special moments but on ordinary people and common life. I will use both natural lighting and flash because natural lighting is the best in the day and flash can help highlight in the dark. I am going to take photos without others’ notice but still with my camera. I don’t want to use my phone because it can not take people that are moving fast. And photo quality is worse than photos taken by camera.
My desire outcome is that people can have a feeling of daily life when looking at my photos. And I want to all my photos to be colored because i think colors can help add the sense of daily life, and can also help with expressing emotions. I am not going to use special technology because I am taking daily life and it is simplest way of life.