Senior Project Update 3

My senior project is coming along well. I went through all my photos quickly the other day and found a bunch of material I had not realized I had. I have also updated my categories to amusement, anger, determination, happiness, joy, pain, sadness, and thoughtful/contemplative. After I made these categories I went through the pictures I had pulled out for my project and assigned them respectively. After doing this I realized I have a least one photo for each of my slots! I am further along than I thought, and am very excited to get some more. I need to work the harder ones more though, like pain and sadness but Alex, my mentor had a great idea as to how to get some pain shots. He thought that a tattoo parlor might be willing to let me photograph a client in exchange for some photos for marketing. I think this holds great potential and am planning on pursuing it. Another thing I did recently that I just realized I could relate to my project was my friend Will’s senior portrait shoot. I originally wrote this off as not part of my project but going back through the pictures I realized that some the shots were authentically candid. I will include a few below so you can see, but I am intrigued as to how this type of shoot could also result in some good material. For now my project is going well, if a bit slowly. I was recently accepted to college, and now that that whole project is off my plate I can hopefully really get into my project!

(Click on a photo to view large on black)

Keystone XL Pipeline Protest

12,000 people shouting at once, unified by a common cause is quite possibly one of the most impressive and spine tingling experiences I have ever witnessed. On November 6th, 2011 approximately 12-14,000 people gathered in Lafayette Square outside of the White House’s front entrance. The occasion was an effort to show President Obama that the people of the United States really do care about what happens, and that we should have a say in something as big as the Keystone XL Pipeline decision. The KXL Pipeline is a proposed project by Canadian oil company, TransCanada that would transport its crude tar sands oil to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Needless to say the environmental community was vehemently opposed to the project and has been working on getting it denied for a very long time. Some heroic people, like NRDC’s International Program Director, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, have been working on this issue for eight years. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in this amazing protest that involved encircling the White House, and waving banners, signs, homemade posters and evan a giant inflatable fifty plus foot pipeline in front of Mr. Obama’s front door. I care about the environment I live in and am as aware and “green” as I can be, but my first draw to attend this protest was the photographic opportunities. Such a large, diverse group of people, impassioned by a common desire would also surely provide many perfect subjects for my senior project. So it was with that in mind that I arrived at the protest, two camera bodies dangling from my shoulders. As the protest progressed I began to feel a shift in my view of the protest. I started to realize how big the issue was, and feel that I cared deeply about the issue. By the end of the speeches in the park I was fully committed to the issue and I think that helped me capture the images I did. When I was taking pictures of people standing with their message on cardboard I was not photographing an event for my project, I was photographing my fellow protesters, I simply had the desire to share their dedication and bravery with the rest of the world that could not attend.

A few days later I got a text from my mom telling me we had gotten through the layers upon layers of political world surrounding President Obama and he had delayed the pipeline. This was not the perfect victory many were hoping for but after the silence following the “sit ins” in August this was a sign that not all was lost, and that there is hope. I came away from this experience with photos I am very proud of and an a day I will remember for the rest of my life.

(click on any photo to view larger, and use arrow keys to navigate)

Senior Project Update 2

I have been going through a process with my senior project, trying to narrow down how exactly I want to execute it. I knew all along that I wanted to capture emotions, and showcase them somehow. This seemed great, but when I went to work on my project I found I was struggling to acquire content because I did not have a definitive goal to work towards. So I took it back to the drawing board, and with some help, came up with a better project. I chose six emotions, joy, amusement, anger, sadness, pain, and contemplative/thoughtfulness. I chose these emotions because I think they will create an interesting and diverse visual project. They are also common emotions, making my task easier. I am not limiting myself to these emotions though, and will be open to new ones making the final cut, I just don’t want to start out to ambitious. I also have made the decision to present the project in black and white. I will not be shooting in black and white, but doing it later in post processing due to the better control over the final image. In terms of the decision to do the project in black and white vs. color, I feel that black and white conveys emotions in people much better than color and I personally prefer the artistic feeling of black and white when doing people. When photographing people I aim to capture the emotion of the subject as opposed to the colors. With no color present, it lets the viewer concentrate more fully on the subject. I am excited to continue capturing shots for the project. Posted below are some of my favorite contenders so far for the final project.

(click on any image to view larger)