Sunday, October 31, 2010

11.01.10 : Artist Entry : Martin Usborne

Martin Usborne lives in central London where he has his photographic studio. He started his photographic career after a number of years working as a creative director in children's TV. Before that he studied psychology at Edinburgh University and then animation at Glasgow School of Art. Martin thinks there is something magical about looking through the lens and capturing a bit of the world. 'You see an interesting array of shapes - people passing in front of a strangely colored wall and -click- its yours forever. Its so easy it shouldn't be allowed'.

MUTE: The silence of dogs in cars
Martin's Description of this series :

I was once left in a car at a young age.

I don't know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside Tesco's, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don't matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. It seems trivial now but in a child's mind it is possible to be alone forever.

Around the same age I began to feel a deep affinity with animals - in particular their plight at the hands of humans. I remember watching TV and seeing footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked. What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back. It's muteness terrified me.

I should say that I was a well-loved child and never abandoned and yet it is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard. Perhaps this is a fear we all share at some level, I am not sure.

The images in this series explore that feeling, both in relation to myself and to animals in general. The camera is the perfect tool for capturing a sense of silence and longing: the shutter freezes the subject for ever and two layers of glass are placed between the viewer and the viewed: the glass of the lens, the glass of the picture frame and, in this instance, the glass of the car window further isolates the animal. The dog is truly trapped.

When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. What I didn't expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-colored pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside.

I hope that these pictures are engaging and perhaps a little amusing. I want to show that there is life in the dark places within us.

I will stop writing now and you can stop reading. Words can only get us so far. After all, we are all animals.

Martin, Sept 2010

MUTE: The silence of dogs in cars

"Although Martin is passionate about animal welfare this work is not concerned with the issue of leaving dogs in hot cars but rather examines feelings of loneliness and isolation which so many humans, as well as animals, experience in modern urban life. It is also a plea to listen to the voice of the pets that inhabit our worlds."

"'MUTE' An Exhibition of Unusual Dog Portraits by Martin Usborne." Photography Monthly | Which Digital Camera. 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2010. .

MUTE: The silence of dogs in cars

Martin Usborne is photographing animals (specifically dog) in an encosed space where they cannot escape. That is exactly what I am doing, but the concept behind our pieces and technique of shooting are completely different. While I take pictures of the cage or glass and blur the image behind it while he focuses more on the animal itself. Also he is attempting to portray a sense of loneliness and isolation, while I am confronting the cage head on and questioning the reasoning behind the cage.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Contest Entry 1 : PNDedu Student Photo Contest

I entered five images into the PNDedu Student Photo Contest :

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10.28.10 : Idea Entry : Invisible Barrier

Definitions :
Invisible - not visible; not able to be perceived by the eye, concealed from sight; hidden
Barrier - anything serving to obstruct passage or to maintain separation, such as a fence or gate

"For most of us, there is an invisible barrier – an inner shield that keeps us from making the kind of impact we were meant to make in the world. Generally that shield is trying to protect us from something."

Mayo, Stacey. "Is There An Invisible Barrier Stopping You? | Balanced Living." Career Coaching, Career Counseling, Career Intuitive, Small Business Coach. 30 July 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2010. <>.

"The phrase 'glass ceiling' refers to an invisible barrier that prevents someone from achieving further success... Instead of being able to achieve the same success, she is stopped by invisible forces that prevent her from rising further."

Napikoski , Linda. "Glass Ceiling for Women- The Invisible Barrier Known As the Glass Ceiling." Women's History - Comprehensive Women's History Research Guide. 19 June 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2010. .

"The most powerful forces of Nature are the invisible forces, so we find that the most powerful forces of man are his invisible forces, his spiritual force, and the only way in which the spiritual force can manifest is through the process of thinking. Thinking is the only activity which the spirit possesses, and thought is the only product of thinking."

Reninger, Elizabeth. ""The Master Key" by Charles Haanel." Taoism. Web. 28 Oct. 2010.

My project attempts to expose the "invisible" barrier between species (specifically humans and animals). I couldn't find a particular word that stood for this invisible space between object and species, but looking at the different ways the words are used is helpful.

Monday, October 25, 2010

10.25.10 : Artist Entry : Sharon Montrose

Sharon Montrose lives in Los Angeles. She is a commercial photographer and author specializing in animals, kids, and babies. She shoots for ad agencies, design firms, magazines, and book publishers.

Melding her passion for photography with her love of animals, Sharon Montrose's definitive photographic style has made her one of the most sought-after commercial photographers specializing in animals. In addition to ten published photography books to her credit, Sharon shoots for some of the world’s foremost pet industry brands. Her animal series photographs are part of numerous public and private collections and have been awarded recognition by Communication Arts, Photo District News, The Art of Photography, Hey, Hot Shot!, and the International Photography Awards.

The animals photographed for this series are real live animals, raised (and many rescued) by loving and dedicated people who care for them as their own. For this series, Sharon’s goal was to feature the animals outside of their environments and to capture a moment that will last as long as the viewer needs to absorb their charms.

"It's a great to see someone in their 'sweet spot' in life, passionate about what they do. I also like the fact that she doesn't push her subjects into poses, she just lets them do their thing and be themselves then voila."

" I have a hard time answering questions about my creative process and vision because I basically shoot what I feel — almost like I have no choice. I’ve never really been able to intellectualize my work." - Sharon Montrose

What I enjoy about Montrose's work is that she uses real animals in her photography. On of the things I find disappointing from many animal photographers is that many photographers use taxidermy animals instead of real ones. There is something about capturing a real, breathing animal that I find so challenging and rewarding when you get the right shot.

Monday, October 18, 2010

10.18.10 : Artist Entry : Mark Laita

For over 20 years, advertising agencies worldwide have asked Mark Laita to bring his expertise, problem-solving abilities and signature style to their most important campaigns. His clean, colorful graphic product photography has earned him a reputation for award-winning work for clients such as Adidas. BMW. Van Cleef and Arpels and IBM. Based in Los Angeles since 1986. Mark also maintains a studio in New York City. His grace, wit and straightforward manner provide for a relaxed and efficient working environment. Mark's still life photography has been featured in campaigns for clients as diverse as Sony, Budweiser. Mini Cooper and Apple Computer's iMacs and iPods. His work has been recognized year after year by Communication Arts. Archive. Graphis, the One Show and the Kelly Awards.

Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles began representing Mark with a show of his fine art prints in September of 2006. The United Postal Service featured Mark's flower images in a series of postage stamps in 2007.

“The angles and the lighting and the backgrounds — to me they’re very similar to my still-life work. I’m taking something that exists, whether it’s a leaf or a fish or a flower or a shell or whatever, but basically they are things that are just sitting there. Or I find an auto mechanic somewhere and I think, ‘Wow, this is an interesting person.’ And I ask if I can take his picture, and perhaps do it in a similar way that I would do a flower or some other still life I’ve done. To me, they’re identical.”

Hutson, Rich. "Mark Laita: Beauty--Plain and Simple." PhotoMedia Magazine Online. 11 Oct. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. .

"There are such endnotes for perhaps a third of the photographs, and they’re fascinating. They indicate that Laita, when he takes the time to listen to his subjects, is able to craft deceptively emotive scenes that gesture at something larger than themselves"

Silverman, Jacob. "Equal Before the Lens." The Second Pass. 14 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.

The thing I found interesting about Mark Laita's work, is that in these images the viewer cannot tell that these images are in cages. In contrast to my own work, I am photographing cages. The fact that you cannot tell that these animals are in cages is impressive and elegant. I hope to achieve the same type of effect by photographing the cages themselves.

Mark Laita

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10.14.10 : Idea Entry : Incubator

Incubators for animals provides quality care for pets that are injured, ill or convalescing.Incubators can be used for handfeeding babies, brooding chicks, pediatrics and orphaned/abandoned animals.

Definitions :
Incubator - An apparatus in which environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, can be controlled, often used for growing bacterial cultures, hatching eggs artificially, or providing suitable conditions for a chemical or biological reaction.
Brooder - an enclosure or other structure, usually heated, used for rearing young chickens or other fowl

"The gull had a broken wing. It was chaos for several minutes as boxes and crates were passed into the ICU, birds extracted, evaluated in a flash, and either popped in the incubator if hypothermic or placed in a crate."

Duncon, Susan. "Seabird Special." Arthorse. 02 Nov. 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2010.

"We brought him out and got him breathing and then he went into an incubator on oxygen. He is now being fed by a tube."

Nelson, Sara. "Introducing Deer Little Rupert | The Sun |News." The Sun | The Best for News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities & TV | The Sun| The Sun. 30 Sept. 2008. Web. 14 Oct. 2010.

Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Newly-born panda bears sleep in their incubator at the Madrid Zoo on October 7, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.

Incubators are designed to offer extra security and mimic a natural environment. They are meant to gives ill, frightened, and very young animals more security, and less stress by replicating their natural environment. This is particularly important when treating wild, older, or non-imprinted animals. Brooders and Incubators provide the most optimal environment not only for birds, but for dogs, cats, monkeys, reptiles, and a score of other animals.

Since I have been exploring cages in my senior portfolio project, I am now looking into different types of cages that would be more interesting then just you standard pet cage. Now I am looking at more scientific cages, which include incubators to heal and nurture animals.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10.11.10 : Artist Entry : Amber Chavez

Amber Marie Chavez is a photographer living in Los Angeles. She has a BFA in Fine Art Photography and does collaborative work with her twin sister, Ashlie. She advocate the use of film and uses a Pentax Super, Canon Elan, Pentax 645, Polaroid 203, and Polaroid 450.

Dziłíjiin "Black Mountain" Series

"My intention is conceptual significance, rather than external beauty. I am also a firm believer in God." - Amber Chavez

"This is 'out of the box' stuff -- great compositions that set the gallery apart from the all-too-often treadmill approach to photography. A breath of fresh air. And one thing's for sure: Marie would never get bored if she found herself trapped in an elevator." - Antwer Palan

Dziłíjiin "Black Mountain" Series

This series was made in Black Mesa, Arizona and us called Dziłíjiin or "Black Mountain" by the Navajos. The name derives from the mountains dark appearance from the numerous seams of coal which run through it. These images are from a series in which Amber Chavez stayed with a family of sheep herders in this area and essentially documented their lives in her unique style.

I enjoy this series, because I am interested in documentary style work but like the one-of-a-kind style and spin Chavez puts on her images. The images I selected from her series are all triple exposers I believe. The layering and repeating of animals is an interesting concept which I have tried before with little success. This is a new approach to that concept which I had not considered.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10.07.10 : Idea Entry : Dog Leashes

Definition : a chain, strap, etc., for controlling or leading a dog or other animal; lead.
Leashes come in variety of designs and colors and they can be made of leather, nylon or other composite materials.

Diamond Dogs
Warwick Saint

Many cities have passed legislation that require dogs to be on leash in public areas. Purposes of a leash include: preventing animals from frightening or biting people or other animals, defecating and urinating in inappropriate places, endangering traffic, digging up lawns, causing other damage, getting lost, and getting away from owners. Leashes also provide a clear method of communication and ensure control during training of dogs.

Diamond Dogs
Warwick Saint

“People call in and complain about dogs off their leashes in the parks, but it’s not an epidemic. If a dog is out in public, it should be on a leash.”

Staff, Reports. "Suburban Life Publications Newspaper Ads." Home - Downers Grove, IL - 06 Oct. 2010. Web. 07 Oct. 2010.

"But we also want to make our canines good citizens. To do that, we need to socialize them. Leashes have a tendency of creating aggression among dogs with other dogs."

Punch, Rachel. "Group Pushes for Off-leash Park." The Sudbury Star - Ontario, CA. 05 Oct. 2010. Web. 07 Oct. 2010.

This past week, I explored taking pictures of dogs on leashes in parks and on the street. I wanted to learn more information on leashes and try to find a few opinions on the negative and positive reactions of leashes. In addition, I wanted to explore the basic laws of keeping dogs on leashes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10.05.10 : Guest Lecture Response : Julika Rudelius

Bio : Julika Rudelius was born in Cologne and currently, lives and works in Amsterdam. She addresses a broad field of complex themes in her videos and photographs, ranging from structures of social power and prejudices to role clichés, identity, and cultural hegemony. Rudelius sees art as a form of social expression, as a communicative tool for drawing attention to seemingly trivial observations of everyday life, revealing at the same time their complex social characteristics.
Favorite Quotes :
"When you try to cast psychopaths, it doesn't work cause you can't tell they're psychopaths till they really screw you."
"I've been working with powerful people even since. It became a sport, to see if I could get them."
**"People photograph themselves, look at the photograph, and smile like they fell in love."**
"Yeah your going to be treated like shit but one day, hopefully you'll get high enough that you can treat others like shit."
"I question seeing the idea of self or truth, even in a documentary."

**As she was speaking about her project Forever and the women of Hampton that she interviewed, she said this line. Its one of those things that make you stop and wonder, "Do I do that?" I have been taking photographs for a long time and some have been of me, but am I really that similar to those women? I don't have an answer but it really made me think about how vane the majority of people are.
3 words : Political Vanity Videos
Watching Julika Rudelius' videos, I really liked her presentation of her work. I learned about the split and triple screen approach and I liked her use of subtitles on every screen. After looking a some picture of her instillation, I really admired her style of presentation. I really enjoyed the presentation of Tagged with the dialog video juxtaposed with the other videos of the men putting on clothes and admiring themselves.
Have you every had problems getting anonymous people to participate in your videos, interviews, or images? Do you every use people you know personally in your work?
She obviously had to work for several months in order to get in contact with many of the people in her videos. It took her several months to get the senators for Rites and to meet and get acquainted with the women in Forever. She talked about having casting calls for Your Blood and using her personal friends for test shots and video throughout her projects.

Would you consider yourself a feminist artist or your work “feminist art?"
Didn't get an answer. But I wouldn't consider her artwork feminist.
Economic Primacy was the video I enjoyed the most. In this work, Rudelius selected five men for the video: a lawyer, a spin-doctor, a media advisor, a millionaire and a top manager. They are filmed pacing about in a generic office space that was specially constructed for the video. While they appear to be talking to themselves, they are responding to questions Rudelius asked them. In their 'monologues' they talk about the importance and omnipotence of money.
At the end of the lecture Rudelius talked about how these men didn't care about how they were viewed by other as long as they are wealthy. I found it interesting that none of these men found the video at all offensive, even though most of the viewers who see it find parts of it to be absurd and somewhat humorous due to the dialog.

Monday, October 4, 2010

10.04.10 : Guest Lecture Questions : Julika Rudelius

Have you every had problems getting anonymous people to participate in your videos, interviews, or images? Do you every use people you know personally in your work?

Would you consider yourself a feminist artist or your work “feminist art?"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

10.04.10 : Artist Entry : Helmo

Thomas Couderc and Clément Vauchez (Helmo) met in 1997 during their studies in Besancon, East of France. Both of them took their own way in 1999, in Paris: Clément studied typography for 2 years, than worked in Gedeon, a tv graphic studio. Thomas started working first with H5, then with Malte Martin, then on its own in free-lance. In 2003, with Thomas Dimetto, they founded "La Bonne Merveille", graphic design studio. The group splitted in 2007, and Thomas Couderc & Clément Vauchez founded "Helmo". Since 2006, the 2 designers are regularly invited to participate to publications and Graphic Design exhibitions.

French design/photo duo Helmo created a lovely window installation at the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris. Titled "Bêtes de mode," the 2006 work consisted of thirteen human portraits superimposed with animal images that were revealed through the use of various gels.

"Thomas Couderc and Clément Vauchez exist, some might say thrive, in the gray area between fine art and design. Together, Couderc and Vauchez, have assembled a portfolio that spans from concert posters to photographic explorations."

Joshua, Schum. "HELMO (Montreuil Sous Bois, France) | Ballista Magazine." Ballista Magazine | Design Digest and Launch Vehicle. 09 Sept. 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2010. .

I enjoy this work because it incorporates animals and humans in a unique way. This series is more based on the idea of animals and people in relation to fashion, which is a new way to make a connection between the two. I really like the alignment of each animal with the person. Many of them line up nicely with the human features and body language.

Thomas Couderc and Clement Vauchez
Video, Youtube