Saturday, March 7, 2015

Crunch Time

Crunch Time

This past week I discovered an artist named Simon Strong who uses composites to explore his memories, and anxieties he faced as a child. I found him on the 500 BlogSpot website, and I started looking more at his work. Since learning how to composite in Digital craft, I wish I had the time to change my project up to show my dreams the way I envisioned in the beginning of the semester. Even though I found a new way to explore this project, I am happy I forced myself to go through the motions of analyzing these dreams.

Jackson Fine Art

I was really happy to have gotten a chance to see more images from Gordan Parks. I like learning about our history through photographs, and I feel as if they are more important as the years pass, because younger generations are often not taught in school in depth about slavery, segregation and the civil rights movements. I remember being in grade school and not learning much about black history, only during the month of February.  I think art plays a large role in making viewers aware of situations and sparking the interest of people like me, who can be positively influenced by these visual statements.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My portfolio review with Eduardo Angel

Yesterday I met with Eduardo Angel for a portfolio review session. I brought him my current work on my dreams, and also the projections I did last quarter. It was very refreshing to get insight from someone that didn’t know me, and now I realize I need to practice speaking about my work, and how to answer efficiently. He asked really good questions and gave me good sources to look at. 
            I had decided to focus my surroundings in the forest/wooded areas because they are explained in theories as an unconscious realm that is not kept by man.  Eduardo told me that the images could be mistaken for being lazy because they looked similar. I need to use the forest in different ways, make the presentation different, and make it attractive so that the content could be approachable.  Even though I shoot in different states, and cities, I chose areas that looked similar, but could be mistaken as me shooting everything in one afternoon. He gave me credit for not having them look cliché with vignette and fog, which was nice, but suggested movement may be the best way to do this project. We talked about if my images were in a gallery in Boston, and I was not around to explain it, what would the images say on their own. What I showed him would not be interesting enough for people to want to walk up to, and that’s what I need to change.

Once he saw my projections, something seemed to click for him that I never considered. He started to connect my themes and essentially said they were the same project just a slightly different approach. In both series I am using the present, and inserting the past, or a fantasy somehow. He gave me the suggestion to project my dreams back into the spaces, to make them stranger so that they become fluid. That’s just a little of what we talked about, and from all of the suggestions I have a lot of decisions to make before next Thursday. I feel a lot better about my project in general, and now I have a more concrete approach to solving my conflicts.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

High Museum Visit

The most exciting part of this week was attending the exhibit Segregation Story by Gordan Parks with my classmates and professors. I have been waiting all semester to see it, and it was very refreshing to see imagery that coexisted with the civil rights movement, that didn’t contain firehoses and German shepherds attacking people. It was very beneficial to have Brett Abbot their to inform us of the decisions and history behind the exhibit. It was nice to see the images in person rather than in the books or online. I was very affected by his work, and it gave me a new perspective.

One thing that I did experience since having my DNA test back is that I look at the civil rights movement, and slavery a lot different. On my estimate for my sample it stated 93 % of my ancestors come from Africa. (Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and so many more areas.) I started watching the mini series on Tuesday called The Book of Negros, and the beginning consisted on them taking new slaves to the coast to sail to America.  I think to some degree my generation is aware of the cruel history for people of color, but I definitely see it differently now having seen more proof that my ancestry is made up of many regions in Africa.  I question whether imagery like Gordan Parks, or movies like Selma etc., will effect African American people more, if they knew their ancestry better?

After Brett Abbot left, I began looking around again, and started discussing with Sara and Campbell how I felt about the exhibit. The images to me are a beautiful & ugly truth. I think it’s awesome for people to see because it makes them aware. It does drive me to have a reason why I make work, and I discovered that I want to be an activist through my photography.

My biggest question now is how many people from my generation would see themselves, and the civil rights movement differently if they knew their ancestry?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My DNA results are in!

So this week I got some exciting news from my Ancestry DNA test. I bought the test in October and sent my sample off in December. It can take up to 8 weeks, so I was surprised it came so quick. It provided me with an estimate of the regions my ancestors originated from. Below are my results: 93% Africa 6% Europe 1% West Asia

When I get the question where am I from, or what ethnicity is my last name, I don’t know how to answer them. For the longest I have depended on my family to figure out what we are. All of my family is from Louisiana, so we have a very Cajun creole heritage. I am just now learning more about our culture and traditions since I grew up mainly overseas, and in Texas. My last name is Polidore, which is Italian, French and Polish creole, so I’ve been told.  My mother’s maiden name is Jean Louis (French), and my grandfather’s last name is Mitchell.  My aunts on my dad’s side have always told us our great (x4) grandmother was full blood Native American, which the test showed no signs of Native American ancestry in my personal DNA. From research I’ve been told I have to do a DNA test on my dad to get his maternal matches to the regions specifically to confirm my aunts theories, but I am fine with what I got so far! I am excited to have these results, because I have in mind a portrait project on my identity, I just wanted to be sure I had a good grounding on what I am made of. Even though this is an estimate of my ancestry, it is a start in my research to learning and discovering cultures specifically related to me in some form or fashion.

Another cool thing was that Ancestry provided a list of possible relatives by 1st -5th cousins and distant cousins. When I went through the first 3 pages I saw a lot of people who were different races and ages, it was exciting to think that I could be walking down the street to a distant cousin anywhere I go, and never know it.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Critique & Beauty

Midterm Week

This week has been eventful and very inspiring. I decided at the end of last week to scrap the idea of making still lives, because it was no longer exciting and they weren’t what I was envisioning. I decided to do still and multiple exposures in landscapes to start. From my critique I got a lot of feedback and I feel a lot clearer on the direction I want to precede in. Knowing that I have the tendency to start all my projects off very personal it was helpful to hear the responses in class, and on what not to stress over. Now that I have started, I am very excited to continue working on this project. Today I am in Texas, and tomorrow I will be in Louisiana. I have a lot of ideas and I am happy we had the critique before my travels so my focus can be narrowed on the few that matter. Even though I am not certain it will help define why I have my dreams or nightmares, at least I will be able to show people a glimpse, if not all of the scenarios in my mind.


Skin Lightning

Since I have been taking digital craft this semester, we have often brought up the complexities of how the public perceives retouched images in advertising, media and marketing. I started looking at magazine covers amidst to the Kerry Washington cover of InStyle that has been receiving a lot of backlash this past week. This situation was bought to my attention by social media, so I decided to goggle “skin lightning” and found a lot interesting responses with images that were juggling between acceptable and unacceptable. Social media is such a big component of the newer generations, that I wonder how much it is going to change what the world see’s as acceptable and unacceptable in our trends of glamour and beauty.

Below are some examples of covers that have had "good lighting"