Thursday, February 26, 2009

List of self-portrait artists

The photographers/artists who did self-portraits and whose style I want to try and study or emulate are:

1. Francesca Woodman
Interestingly, Woodman listed Duane Michals as one of her influences because of his blurring and use of handwriting on his pictures. Michals is the photographer I chose to study for the picture of our classmate Mary and the burned building.

2. Rembrandt
I want to try and explore the use of light like the 1628 Self-portrait of Rembrand as a Young Man at 22. The early Amsterdam Self-portrait is most likely an instance of Rembrandt using himself as a model for a study of expression and light.

3. Paula Modersohn-Becker
Paula Modersohn-Becker was a German painter and one of the most important representatives of early expressionism. I really like the self portrait of her using a mask.

4. Andy Warhol
I really like the simplicity of his self portraits.

5. M. C. Escher
Maurits Cornelis Escher, created unique and fascinating works of art that explore and exhibit a wide range of mathematical ideas.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grants for Editorial Photography

Getty Images

Getty Images will award five photojournalists individual grants of $20,000 each, for a total of $100,000. Grant recipients are given the opportunity to sign a one-year exclusive-rights deal with Getty Images whereby their work will be marketed and available for license to customers worldwide through, while retaining copyright of their imagery. More than a monetary award, Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography provide photographers with the creative freedom and collaborative editorial support necessary to produce documentary features that raise the bar of visual excellence.

Deadlines; May 15, November 15.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm mad.

Or Why Didn’t I Become a Wall Street Banker?

Does it make you mad that the Wall Street bankers are making off like bank robbers with the economic stimulus money? There is just something WRONG with this picture.

I really enjoyed the article on the first page of the NYT Sunday Business Section on February 22, 2009, written by Gretchen Morgenson, titled “Gimme Back Your Paycheck”. Ms. Morgenson talks about the seven major financial institutions who have collapsed, were sold at distressed prices or are in deep to the taxpayer and yet their top executives have received $464 million in performance pay. I am assuming that performance pay means that you performed well and are compensated for a great job. Yet these firms have reported loses of $107 BILLION since 2007 because of their ineptitude. She named names.

“There is a fine line that separates fair compensation from stealing from the shareholders,” said Frederick E. Rowe, a money manager in Dallas and a founder of Investors for Director Accountability, a nonprofit group. “When managements ignore that line or can’t see it, then hell, yes, they should be required to give the money back.”

Heck, I think we should call a spade a spade. This is bank robbery, a true inside job. If they don't give it back willingly, let's put a hold on their bank accounts and let them rack up overdraft charges.

What’s this country coming to when banking executives are paid more than our professional athletes?

The tail is wagging the dog.

The blurb that caught my eye said, “After a brand becomes a verb, what can stop it?” This blurb is referring to Google. In an article titled, “Everyone Loves Google, Until It’s Too Big,” author and professor of business, Randall Stross, discusses the fact that Google now has more than 70% of the search engine traffic. (NYT, Sunday, February 22, 2009, Bright Ideas Section, bottom of page 3) This little fact is significant because Google is now in monopoly territory (not the game but the law). Apparently, the 70% benchmark is a big deal in the real world of monopoly. Just as Ma Bell was sued by the Department of Justice in 1974 and won the suit in 1982 for unfair competition, Google is on the brink of major attorney fees.

I feel sorry for the other little search engines like Yahoo and Microsoft but I have another issue that bothers me more about Google. It really bothers me that they steal my cookies. Its not that I am doing anything illegal or anything that I don’t want anybody else to know about but I just don’t think it’s any of their damn business what sites I visit and how often.

The toolbar on the Google site asks in bright bold red letters if you really want Google to phone home about every site you visit. Obviously you should answer no if you like your privacy.

In another article I found on the web via Yahoo Search, Google as Big Brother, by a group called Google Watch, nine points are raised in connection with privacy issues:

1. Google's immortal cookie:
Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in 2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines; Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.

2. Google records everything they can:
For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation."

3. Google retains all data indefinitely:Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.

4. Google won't say why they need this data:Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.

5. Google hires spies:Keyhole, Inc. was supported with funds from the CIA. They developed a database of spy-in-the-sky images from all over the world. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004, and would like to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spies in Washington.

6. Google's toolbar is spyware:With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for Explorer phones home with every page you surf, and yes, it reads your cookie too. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that's only because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time you connect to Google (which is many times a day). Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you'd like an updated version. But not Google. Any software that updates automatically presents a massive security risk.

7. Google's cache copy is illegal:Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a "noarchive" meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don't. Many webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for webmasters, not "opt-out."

8. Google is not your friend:By now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for all external referrals to most websites. Webmasters cannot avoid seeking Google's approval these days, assuming they want to increase traffic to their site. If they try to take advantage of some of the known weaknesses in Google's semi-secret algorithms, they may find themselves penalized by Google, and their traffic disappears. There are no detailed, published standards issued by Google, and there is no appeal process for penalized sites. Google is completely unaccountable. Most of the time Google doesn't even answer email from webmasters.

9. Google is a privacy time bomb:With 200 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S., Google amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those newly-commissioned data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only dream about the sort of slick efficiency that Google has already achieved.

It seems to me that the tail is now wagging the dog. It is Google who is gathering information and storing it rather than showing us how to find useful information.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Writer

The Mad Goat on MySpace

Well, after class on Wednesday, February 18th, I decided to go ahead and enter the student photography contest. I don’t want anyone to say that I am not a team player. I am planning on entering two pictures, one each of my twin sons.Getting two pictures framed before Monday morning when I have to leave at 7 am to drive to class is going to be the biggest hurdle.

We didn't get a print out of the rules for the contest so I am not sure what exactly the requirements are for the contest. I tried going to the 3rd Floor Photo Society blog spot but I didn't find any information.

One of my sons is a writer. If you are on MySpace, take a look at the Mad Goat’s bogs, aka Eric Haan.

Below is Eric’s blog about having his mother take his picture for class when he came home for a visit in early January 2009.

"As a lifetime model (sometimes voluntary, sometimes not) for my Mom’s photography it didn’t surprise me when I came into town and she asked me to do some modeling for her latest photography class. In this case the modeling was voluntary. Almost two years ago she took some pictures of me for a photography class and let me use the picture as the profile pic on my Myspace account. I am a habitual blogger on Myspace and appreciate the fickleness and superficiality of a huge portion of the general public. After posting the well done picture on my page I immediately started getting more attention to my blog. You can’t judge a book by its cover but unfortunately most people do. Fortunate for me, this worked out in my favor.

I had been using the same picture for a long time so I thought it was about time to update it. Mom needed a new pic for class so this worked out pretty well. Again, fortunate for me, she already had an idea of the picture she wanted as well as props and a location. From past experiences I trust her judgment and knew she would come out with a picture that would be good for both our needs.

She told me her vision and I incorporated my take on it. She wanted a forlorn looking guy with a bottle and a cigarette, which actually worked with the persona I put forth on my blog. I envisioned a lounge singer-esque guy with a loosened bowtie reminiscent of old school lounge singers. She agreed on the look but we lacked the necessary wardrobe so we went to several thrift shops to find bowties. We couldn’t find any so we settled on a regular tie and went to work. I put Tom Waits on the stereo to set the mood.

I am constantly amazed at how hard modeling is to do. I liken it to taking a road trip. Sitting in a car should be easy but after several hours you get exhausted. Sitting for a camera is equally exhausting. In the car you have to constantly be aware of traffic, speed, and a million other things that require constant attention. In the studio you have to devote constant attention to poses, angles, and lighting, as well as take instructions and cues from another person. It’s like taking a road trip with a nagging back seat driver. This was compounded by the fact that I had to constantly smoke cigarettes for the shoot. Normally I enjoy smoking but being forced to smoke one after the other was a little rough.

However, in the end it was all worth it. The pictures came out great and I had a hard time figuring out which one I wanted to use for my blog profile because there were so many good shots."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ink on my hands.

The New York Times

Vaughn says he likes to go to the library. He likes to touch and smell the books. He likes to browse the aisles and take a look at whatever catches his eye.

I realize that I like to read the newspaper. I like to touch it, smell it and peruse it at my leisure.

Reading the New York Times online is not for me. I want that Sunday morning NYT waiting for me, waiting for me to pick it up and consume it.

First, I read the front page or at least skim over the headlines. For some macabre reason, I like to read the Obituaries. It is interesting to see whose death is worthy to note in the Sunday edition of the NYT. Here is the first entry on Sunday, February 15th: ADAM, Nina, died Wednesday, February 11th in New York. The daughter of Alexander Reitzmann and Nadelida Lowenthal both of whom perished in the Holocaust. Nina was an artist, a trend setter, a jewelry designer and a journalist. She had the most beautiful smile. She was the widow of Jacob Adam, a captain in the Young Israeli Navy and on merchant ships. The Obits are short, sweet and to the point with very few pictures.

Then I take the sections apart and throw away Sports. I am left with Travel, SundayStyles, SundayBusiness, Week in Review, Arts&Leisure and the Book Review.

The Travel section always makes me sad to see all the places I won’t be going anytime soon. The SundayStyles reminds me how frumpy I am and lets me know which clothes I won’t be wearing this season. In the Arts&Leisure section I can read about all the plays on Broadway and the operas at the Met that I wish I could see. It is the Book Review that I save for last. It stays on my nightstand all week as read the Top 10 lists and try to guess which book will be the next smash movie.

Well, my hands are now all covered with black ink. I’m off to wash the news from my hands.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tengo quatro photographias de tres estudiantes

Portraits of semi-stangers

I had no idea how hard it was going to be to incorporate the styles of the seven photographers I had chosen into this assignment. The photographers I have chosen to try and study their styles are: Yousuf Karsh, Andrzej Dragan, Julian Opic, Lillian Bassman, George Hurrell, Susi Lawson and Duane Michals.

My first big idea was to try and photograph classmate, Mary Carley, in the style of Duane Michals
Photographer, Duane Michals is known for the writings on his photographs that give even more oomph to his images.

Mary is passionate about the topics of spousal abuse, child abuse, etc. My thought is to find a poem, a statement or a saying that will emphasize the abuse issue and find some way to incorporate the writing on the final framing of the photograph.

Below are 4 images of Mary taken on Wednesday, February 11, 2009. I really appreciate Mary being such a sport and being willing to be photographed in this manner. This takes courage.

My initial image of Cymantha Cox was to photograph her in the style of Susi Lawson. I visualized my final print of Cym to be perky and wacky but the shoot went in an entirely different direction. The play of light on her face and clothes will more than likely turn out more closely to that of photographer Lillian Bassman. Here are my favorite four pictures I took of Cymantha:

I really wanted to get a striking and dynamic image of C!G. I did not. My vision was to find some dramatic lighting to do a portrait of C!G in the style of Yousuf Karsh but I just simply did not pull it off. My thought now is to take one of C!G’s pictures and to try and immolate Andrzej Dragan in the post production phase of preparing the prints for final submission. I also want to try and do one of the minimalist pictures by Julian Opic since C!G’s sunglasses and scarf are items that define who he is to me. Here are pictures of C!G that I want to try to finish and print.

And here are two true stangers from the streets of Cooper.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The last plate

In the New York Times, on Sunday, March 8, 2009, on page 26 of the Arts & Leisure section is a story by Carol Kino about Norman Rockwell. I know, I know, you probably consider his art to be hockey and too sentimental. But, I love his small town depictions. I grew up in a small town and at a time when small children could walk to the local drug store for a malt all by themselves. His pictures were what I visualized as my childhood memories.

Interesting enough, it was Norman Rockwall plates that were the cause of my divorce. I collected those cheesy ceramic plates for 7 years. Each month my left-over grocery money was saved until I had enough to pay for the plate plus shipping and handling. One afternoon in a stupid rage, my ex-husband broke each and every one of my cherished plates. Never mind that he had hit me and sent me to the hospital, it was the last plate that did it for me. I packed my bags, gassed up the car and left that sorry son-of-a-bitch.

I still miss those plates.

Copyrighted Pictures

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