From Then and Now

Assessment of Family Assignment

From Then and Now

For my family album, since I could not acquire my own family photos, I created a fabricated album filled with images of my friends from when they were in high school and from now. I wanted the theme of the “black sheep” or the “outcast” of the family, since I have always different from the rest of my family members. My friends are all very unique. Some of my close friends used to be goth in a high school full of the preppiest and richest kids of Arizona (almost). Going against the grain among your peers and your families during adolescence is something I can relate to and I think many others could too. What is interesting is the transformation that has come among some of them (some like my friends Ashton and Justine are still as punk rawk and hardcore as the good ol’ days). These friends used to wear all black, chains, and baggy pants every single day. Now I see them dressing in collared shirts and doing less stupid things (sometimes). I used to be a part of all the metal, goth, punk, and artsy group in my high school. I dyed my hair green. I thought spikes on my bracelets and system of a down were cool. My parents put up with me very well, even though they are very conservative at times. My older brother and sister were already out of college and I felt distant from them because I could not see them all the time anymore. I felt outcasted in my family. My family album may have not expressed all the ideas that I wanted to, partially due to time and availability of photos, but I may consider branching off to a new project based on these concepts. I am thinking of doing portraits, either staged or not, of my friends every year. Friends are just as good as family, except they can choose to have that relationship with you or not. Relationships shift and change all the time, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. It feels like that time again when friendships are shifting, recently they have grown weaker. I am about to graduate in a little over a month. This reminds me of high school; stepping into the next stage of my life. I have lost and gained friends since then. I wonder which friends I may lose contact with and which people may enter my life and change it, even though I have not met them yet.


Workflow Assignment Response

The workflow assignment was really helpful in making us write out our personal system of the way we work and organize. It made me realize that I need things to be organized very neatly so that I can easily find them and do not have to worry about it later, allowing me to create more work faster. I am better at organizing my physical prints and work than my digital ones. I like to label and store things by date and projects. For some reason it is more difficult when they are not physical. I have never been that great with backing up or any file management. The workflow assignment made me realize what could improve: finishing organizing and labeling my prints, better presentation of storage, backing up on more places–esp the hard drive, using programs to help me organize and preview files, and reorganizing my equipment. Since the assignment, I have continued to organize my negatives and prints, organized my final prints by type, date, and project, purchased a new external hard drive, acquired Lightroom, and reorganized all of my cameras and other equipment neatly. It is a continual process, but re-evaluating my workflow is helpful in seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Book Assignment Responses

Found Book:

Canon Profifoto

I searched on search engine sites like google for fine art photography books. After going through several sites and blogs, I somehow found a link to this book. The Canon ProfiFoto Awards is an ongoing competition held twice a year that allows young photographers go through with their projects. When I saw the book I thought it was a great catalogue of new and young artists and that the competition was a great idea. I did not understand why it was made into a book, but after some research I found that the other cooperation partners of this competition are Laif, a picture agency, and Blurb. After learning that fact, it made more sense why they would make it into a book and try to sell it on Blurb.

The cover image initially drew me in, and being a fan of equipment from Canon I was also interested what type of work they would associate their brand name to. I really like a lot of the work in the book, although some are not as great as the others. I enjoyed how some of the work were similar in subject matter, but differed in style. I don’t like how some of the images spill over into the next page, but I do like the order and organization of the images. I consider this book to be a great example of a catalogue of multiple artists. In my landscape photography class last semester we looked a some photo books that showed multiple artists that exhibited together. It added a whole new level of the layout of a photography book when it is more than one artist. Do you divide it by artist? Or rearrange images from all of them? I guess it depends on the context of which the artists and their work are related to each other. I am happy with this finding, partly due to being exposed to a large number of artists at once. It is quite long, but the work is interesting enough to let the viewer get through the entire book.

Memoire morte

Memoire morte is a photo book by Patrick Taberna. I found this book by searching through the books online at the Blurb website under the “Fine Art Photography” category. It took awhile to find anything good. I would first judge a book by its cover (ironic?) and its title. The cover of this book was simple, yet odd and almost surreal. When searching for a book I was looking for something that had good images, a good edit, and a good layout. I found some that had great images but horrible or boring layouts. Sometimes it was the opposite. With this book I found a good balance between the images and the way they flowed through the pages. There was a good consistency, but not too much to where there could not be pauses or breaks in the consistency. It allows the viewer to make better connections between certain photos. The only thing I did not like was the amount of children pictures. I would have edited out two or three of them, especially in the middle of the book. However, as a photo book I think it is very successful.

My Book:

Strange Yet Familiar Lands

For my book I edited and sequenced images that I took while I was in South Korea during last summer. I did not want to make it about my trip, but more of my experience there as a foreigner but also someone who was born there and have visited before. I shot images while I was there for the purpose of art. I am happy with my first ever photo book, but I noticed some instant changes I want to make. I definitely want to be careful of what text I decide to include. I added a caption for one of the images, but it seemed unnecessary and only broke the flow of the images. I played around a lot with the layout of the book to see what worked and what did not. If I made a revised edition of this book, I would edit it down a bit more since some images go well together and some stick out more. I would also make the layout more concise, but not too uniform because I want it to be read as a poetic series, and not just the same format of images on every page. I am thinking of making another book, and perhaps adding images that I have taken on film, since this book is all from digital images. I would also edit out images that were printed poorly, which tended to be the darker images. I would also get the better paper quality since I think it would be worth it. Overall, I am satisfied with this first attempt. I understand the way Blurb works more.

Critique of Classmate’s book:

David Blakeman’s book “Plain Double Double” featured his pictures of his friends at In-N-Out Burger over the course of five years. There are an immense amount of images, and although they are from a long span of time the viewer does not get a sense of that. One reason is the interior of In-N-Out never changes. Another reason is the amount of images makes it more difficult to make connections of the people as they grow a little older. If David wishes to make the viewer read the book as progression, I highly suggest editing it way more; maybe even organizing the images by the individual with a caption of their names. It would make it more apparent that even though the environment is not changing, there are some transformations going on among the people. I would also edit out some of the images where the composition is not as compelling, such as the ones where they are blurry or really close on the face. There is a difference from the way the images are shot in the beginning than near the end. It also shows some progression in image making. The book is thick, yet small which is nice to flip through. I really enjoy the cover, because it is very clever and simple. There is a even and consistent lighting in the photos and in the layout. Overall, it is an interesting book and executed in a good consistent manner. However, the amount of pictures stands in the way of making it stronger and somehow relatable to the viewer.

From Baby Blogs To Youth Online Sexuality Discussion.

The idea of a baby blog and putting up all the details of a child’s life on the internet for everyone to see can raise questions about privacy and protection. For families to keep in contact if they are far away, it may be convenient to keep a baby blog. However, the main concern is if it could harm the child in the short and/or long run. In the article, the posed threat of someone finding out where they live or where the child went to school could be a big problem. I think if anyone wants to put up any information of their child they will have to be careful to be discreet about certain things. Some blog sites can offer privacy settings so maybe that can help censor the posts from the rest of the world. I thought what it would be like if every parent started doing this for their children as they grew up. It would kind of be like a digital scrapbook or family album but way more interactive and can be in real time. Once the kids all grow up, I could see people stalking each other’s baby blogs and either cherishing them or ridiculing them. If people are being safe and careful about it, I think it could be a great tool. Most people are so paranoid about anything to do with children for concern of their safety, and with the internet being so uninhibited that fear will probably always be there.

In the article “They Know What Boys Want” it raises many questions about the internet media feeding people’s curiosity, sexuality, and expectations. In the class discussion we talked about how the internet is affecting children these days. The age where porn is first viewed is lower and an increasing amount. This gives boys a different expectation. Porn tries to be idealistic for the male’s brain. I don’t know which is which, men watching porn and shaping what they watch or porn telling the males what to want and expect. This higher awareness of sexuality, due to the internet, causes young girls to be more pressured to gain attention in certain ways. With Facebook, blogs, texting and picture mail and all the social media out there, the increase is feedback feeds some girls to take risqué photos to gain popularity. They may not be entirely naked, but the images are provocative and take the mind elsewhere. This can raise many risks, simply due to the age of the girls. When I was younger, people were doing that in high school, but now that I hear it is 11 or 12 years olds I wonder if we can blame the internet. Perhaps it was always like this, but we are all much more aware of it due to easy accessibility. I think there is no way to stop this from happening, but perhaps there is a way to reach out and tell the younger generations to be aware of the risks and to be safer so they do not harm, victimize, or step over anyone’s boundaries.

Hamid van Koten Reading Response

The Digital Image and the Pleasure Principle: The Consumption of Realism in the Age of Simulation by Hamid van Koten

Trying to place any type of media or cultural form into a “hot” and “cool” spectrum based on the level of engagement is very odd to me. The level of participation within a media depends on several factors from how many of the five senses does it require to personal preference. This whole idea of labeling a media hot or cool depends on comparisons and opposites. Without some other media to compare the level of hotness or coolness, it is very difficult to decide on the level of participation. This concept just reminds me of that scene in Donnie Darko where the students are handed out cards and are asked to place them on the board where a line from “fear” and “love” is drawn. Donnie criticizes this method and says not all situations are that simple, and you cannot ignore all human emotions and “you can’t just lump everything into these two categories and then just deny everything else!” Some of van Koten’s comparisons of “hot” and “cool” I could not even agree with. The photograph is hot/low participation and the cartoon is cool/high participation?? Maybe based on the fact that cartoons are moving pictures with sound, but cartoons are normally fluffy and do not require a high level of thinking. Sometimes photographs are the same way, but some series of photographs can be highly conceptual and require a higher level of response. I don’t think it is wise or healthy to categorize everything into these categories because it really is based on individual projects rather than the media in a broader sense. The comparison between George Bush and Bill Clinton was pretty clever, however. During each of their presidencies, there was an obvious difference in level of engagement. George Bush is very often criticized for not caring or not being prepared or making the wrong calls for action (the Katrina disaster and the common phrase “George Bush does not care about black people” often comes to mind when I think of his low participation). Comparing actual people within the media is very different than comparing mediums though.

“McLuhan also contemplates media content in a structural way: the content of each new medium – he observes – is another previous medium.”

“McLuhan felt that debates regarding media programming and specific content were actually diverting attention away from the structural impact that new forms of media have. ‘The medium is the message/massage/mass age etc.’ is a warning to this effect. However, McLuhan never advocated that the content of media should be ignored or was unimportant. He was just not very interested in debates that are often driven from moral perspectives and thus polarised and providing no new insights.”

In our McLuhan reading, it was clear that he saw mediums deriving from another previous medium. Of course this is the case with most mediums. Especially when I look at the history of photography and cameras, it was a constant edition and revival of the previous. It makes me appreciate mediums more and where they came from.

I think McLuan’s opinion that discussing specific content diverts from the impact of the media can be true at times, but can also be false. Debates from moral perspectives can still provide valuable insight. Without it, what is the meaning behind anything? McLuan is obsessed with the idea that “the medium is the message” which I cannot fully agree with. Concept, form, intent, medium, personal perspective or insights are all what creates the message for an individual.


Fam Fotos

Family Photography Response Q’s

1) What is your family tradition with photography? What did you parents do when you were small? How were photos made, collected, disseminated, shared? How was it when your parents were children?

Each member of my family has their own family album full of pictures. It is neat to compare albums and look through them individually because it shows how much I’ve grown up and changed over the years. My parents and family took pictures of me all the time when I was younger. During that time they were all on film point and shoot cameras, so they have that glossy-developed-at-the-store feel to them but all the pictures are of varying sizes or formats (I guess they used different type of cameras or film). My parents’ albums are very different from mine and my brother’s and sister’s. My parents are much older than me (turning 60 whoa!). Their photos are almost all in black and white. There are not many baby pictures (as growing up in the 50’s in Korea probably did not have the most access to photography), but there are more college ones from the early 70’s. They have a more posed and treasured feel, rather than the crazy candid pictures of the kids. The photos are a lot smaller. I remember asking my mom one day as a child why they were smaller than the standard 4×6 photos, and she replied that during that time the smaller format was the standard and the growing trend became larger and larger. I like how intimate the photos feel even if the people in them look posed or serious. Since they are so old and some are browning or worn on the edges, it feels like the photos become this object. My parents have many pictures of them together when they first met. My mother had long hair and was stylish and my father was slender and handsome. These photos not only show lineage and culture, but also the time period.

2) Was photography valued in your family? Who took most control over it? What do you think his/her main concerns were with the family photography?

Both of my parents were the photographer when I was a child. They would trade off taking pictures with me. Usually my mother did it a little more though. She is the one who created all the photo albums.When I was around 3-4 years old half of my family was in America, while the other half was still in Korea. We would send back videos and photos to keep in touch and show how much I’ve grown. My mother always says how sad she feels when she thinks about how we were separated for awhile and I would cry to her on the phone that I missed her. I think she thought it was important to document memories and stages in my life, especially whenever family is reunited. One time as a little child I went missing and my family went into a panic frenzy trying to find me. They made announcements all around the neighborhood and were worried sick that I had been kidnapped. When they finally found me they saw me in a phone booth pretending to have a conversation on the phone. They were relieved. My mother for some reason wanted to take pictures of me in the phone booth playing around. I have no memory of this, just the photos and I still hear about the story from time to time. It is interesting how photos create memories for the future.

3) How do you feel now about your old family photographs?

Some of them are embarrassing. Some of them are so adorable. But they are all very precious to me and my family because we look through them together every once in a while when we gather (now that we live in different parts of the world yet again, it has become more rare). The photos remind me of memories, stories, and the meaning of family…which is that we are there for each other no matter what. One of the first memories I remember is when I was one and it was my birthday. There was a beautiful chocolate cake and I was very eager to cut it myself (it is my birthday and my cake after all). But being such a small child they wouldn’t let me so I started to cry. Looking through my family photo album I saw pictures from my first birthday and in some I am crying and in others I look happy with a plastic knife in my hand. I told my mom the story of my memory and she said, “So that’s why you were crying! No one could figure it out.” Some people may think I was too young to remember such a thing and that I only know it from the photos and stories. Sure, the photos may have jogged some memories but in this case I found the pictures after I already knew the story from myself. Memories are really important to me and the photos are connected to that, so the family photographs are extremely valuable.

4) What does your family do now? How has this changed since you were small? Since your parents were small?

Unfortunately, most of my family lives in different parts of the world. Even when we reunite no one is taking pictures on film and taking it to get prints anymore. Now that I am older and the photography major, I am the one to take the most pictures and they are digital. We share them but don’t print or add them to our albums. I would like to start that old habit again, but it is difficult when we are not around each other anyways. Maybe when I start my own family down the road I will do it.

5) What do you think the function of family photography is in general? For your family specifically? For you?

Family photography is documenting family life. For my family it is about showing the timeline of a family member, from certain important events in one life to candid everyday moments. Sometimes it is to show to extended families and friends. For me it creates and captures memories.

6) How does digital dissemination of family photographs change the way they function? Does this present any problems that you can see? Do you have personal or political concerns?

The digital era has changed family photographs in so many ways. It is less physical and more virtual. Which is more permanent, I am not entirely sure. It is easier to share and access digital photos now, but I feel a potential problem is that they are not valued as much. It sort of makes it less personal as well. Another potential problem is the photoshopped/correction look. It takes away the things that make certain pictures or moments special. Everyone wants that “picture perfect” look, and that is just a façade.

My High School Graduation

Family Reunion in Colorado

My dad just got out of a retreat.

Visiting my parents in Korea. My dad bought me ice cream. We were really happy that day.

McLuan Reading Response

It was a bit difficult to know the true meaning of “the medium is the message” in the Marshall McLuhan article because he describes it differently and in complicated reasonings. It is first explained as the effects, such as personal and social consequences of any medium, are a result from new technology introduced into our society. Sure, whenever a new technology arises it changes our culture and affects how society lives. Just like in the industrialization era it created different jobs, ways of living, and customs. BUT! To say that all messages are all boiled down to whatever the medium is a bit bizarre.

One point McLuan makes is that the machine changes the way we live and so it also affects human relationships which is what our lives are built on. He argues that “the ‘content’ of any medium is always another medium” seems a bit of a stretch. Of course one medium may advance and create another (just look at the entire history of photography) but just because some artwork uses a type of medium does not mean the content or message is just about what tools were used. I can agree with McLuan that technology is very influential, but I disagree that just because mediums are connected to one another that that is the message.

His point about culture creating “uniformity and continuity” was interesting to me, because it seems relatable to any time period or culture. Today, for example, we are living in the fast pace new digital era where everything is advancing quickly. One thing replaces another, and we as a society have to keep up or get left behind. The man who refuses to conform to new changes will only get left behind. So we have to conform and eventually give into making a Facebook profile or getting a smartphone or learning about blogs and search optimization, and social networking apps, and on and on. This uniformity allows for change and to continue creating new mediums.