Saturday, May 28, 2011

Prompt #2

#5 “I just think it's important to be direct and honest with people about why you're photographing them and what you're doing. After all, you are taking some of their soul.” ~Mary Ellen Mark

     I think this quote is very true, as photography can be very personal. It can be personal expression of the person taking the pictures, but it can also be photographs of something very personal or private moments and strong emotions. So I think it is important to be honest with the people you are taking pictures of because what you are photographing can be a vulnerable aspect of someone. 

#6 In your opinion, when is it beneficial, ethical, or appropriate to digitally alter photographic portraits? When do you think it is inappropriate or ethically wrong?
     I think it is okay to digitally alter photographs to fix the lighting and other small things. I also think that it is okay to do so if it is part of your concept and it is made clear that the photograph has been digitally altered. I think it is wrong to digitally alter photographs when the person you are taking a picture of was not told that the photograph would be altered. I think this is very true in the media and tabloids. I always think that if something ever happened on earth, or as we look back historically, people will find the digitally altered pictures and think that is what was real. 

#7 Pay close attention to the types and number of photographic portraits you see in one day. Where did you see them? How do you think that the content of the portrait changes based on the context in which you see the image (news, facebook, magazine, advertisement, television, youtube, etc)? In other words, what is the difference between the portraits you see on facebook vs. those on the news? What is the difference between the “viewpoint” of the photographer in each situation? What is the difference between their “intents”?
   I saw a lot of interesting portraits today at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Some of them were representational, some were more conceptual. I really enjoyed one that was a picture of flowers, and was titled "Family Portrait." I took this two ways. One, the flowers represented each member of the family, or two, as my boyfriend noted, they all could have been from the same family of seeds. Either way it was very interesting and thought provoking. In regards to portraits on facebook versus those in the news, I think they both are very candid. Media portrays celebrities at their best and their worst. The paparazzi captures them at private moments and when they are minding their own business. I think they both can be exploitive at times. However, I also think they are both ways that let us see the everyday lives and personal sides of people. Facebook more so, because most of the time people post their own pictures. What is seen in the news is not always true, so it cannot always be believed.

#8 “My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.” ~Richard Avedon.
   I like this quote because a lot of time when you look at a portrait, you think about what the person in the picture is thinking about or who they are.  But a lot of times, portraits are just as much about what the photographer is thinking about and envisioning, as they are about the individual or people.

#9 “You don't take a photograph, you make it.” ~Ansel Adams

   I also agree with this quote, because a lot goes into taking a photograph. Some photographs maybe do not require as much thought. But you are always thinking of composition, lighting, your subjects, concepts, etc. So, I think a lot of a finished photograph is constructed -- either in your mind or physically.

#10 “All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this - as in other ways - they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it.” ~John Berger

     This is true. Often when looking at photograph, it brings up certain memory associations, depending on the person who is looking at it. This is true for all visual art, I think. But for me it very true for photography, especially because you can connect with photography if it is of a moment in your life, a vacation, a place you have been. When looking at a photograph of a vacation, I might remember how great the weather was that week, while someone else might remember that we saw President Obama on our trip. This is what I like about photography, that it can mean different things to different people, and there is not necessarily a right meaning.

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