Explore the aesthetic quality of light. Choose any subject matter that interests you and interpret it in terms of how it is defined, altered, amplified, enhanced or fragmented by light. In this case, light is the defining force and not the object itself.
PATTERNS • • Look for repeated shapes, designs or patterns which are interesting and fill your viewfinder. Look for multiple patterns or grids. These can be either organic in which the pattern is random or man-made in which it is often regular but not always. Patters can be decorative or functional, regular or irregular. Ansel Adams: Boards and Thistles, 1932
Minor White: Capitol Reef, Utah, 1962
Gary Winogrand: World’s Fair, 1964
TIME and MOTION
Time embodies one of the basic properties of photography, the ability to capture a fleeting instant, a discrete slice of ongoing action. Beyond the frozen moment, blurred motion can convey a sense of life and time, as well as adding excitement and anticipation to the experience of looking at a “still” photograph. Try moving the subject or background during exposure to convey the passing of time.
Frances McGlaughlin Gild: April Afternoon, 1956
Echo Danon, Chapin Student: Untitled, 1992
Duane Michals: Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969
• To see, to record, to comment--go beyond a mere descriptive record or a person, place or thing and make a story out of it. The image should lend itself to narrative interpretation. Your point of view is critical.
Margaret Bourke-White: Louisville Flood, 1937
T. Hsieh & L. Montana: Tied Together for a Year, 1983
Ann Meredith: Delta and Her Daughters, from “Women with AIDS”,
Make an image which attracts and holds attention because of its form rather then its content. Look for forms, surfaces, tonal scale, design which create an abstract image. The beauty of the part as opposed to the whole is what you’re lookling for.
Brett Weston: Broken Window, 1937
Phillip Galgiani: Conjunction
Tina Modotti: Worker’s Hands, 1923-26
See yourself in your environment, with friends, personal affects, toys, etc. Explore moods, memories, fantasies, fears, your self as an image.
Echo Danon, Chapin Student: Self Portrait, 1994
Duane Michaels: Self Portrait as Dead
Edward Steichen: Everyday Things, 1930
Explore your feelings and interpretations of a particular place, your room, a street, a contemplative location, a landscape. Be specific about your feeling and consider the lighting and time of day in terms of how you want to represent it. Is it beautiful, frightening, peaceful, hectic, fun?
Sarah Strife, Chapin student, 1992
Charles Sheeler: Crisscrossed Conveyors, Ford Plant, 1927
Rebekah Hirsch, Chapin Student, 1992
Make two photographs of different subjects that have similar form. For example, a shot of a crowd of people showing a mass of heads and a field of flowers. Look for the surprisingly different but similar due to the way you photograph them. Avoid the obvious and strech possibilties.
Philip Galgiani: Visual Analogy
Dorothea Lange: Road West, New Mexico, 1938
Arnold Newman: Igor Stravinsky, 1946
Do an informal portrait of a friend or family member which you feel captures your subject’s personality. Broadly interpreted, a portrait need not show the face. Gestures, hands, body language may be appropriate but should somehow convey some important aspect of who the person is.
Diane Arbus: Pro-War Parade, 1967
Alfred Stieglitz: Georgia O’Keefe, 1932
Imogen Cunningham: Dream Walking, 1967
Yousuf Karsh: Winston Churchill, 1941
Robert Frank:Political Rally, Chicago, 1956
Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother, 1936
Look for an interesting reflection. Make the reflected image the subject and the reflecting surface the means of interpreting it. Set up a configuration of mirrors or search for interesting imagery reflected in store windows where what is behind the glass somehow relates to or interacts with what is in front of it..
Eugéne Atget: St. Cloud, 1926-27
Jack Welpott: Anna in Her Room, 1964
Edward Steichen: The Maypole, 1932
Instead of going out and searching for your image create your own at home. Invent a miniature landscape, use doll house scale to create a dramatic scene, use light and small objects that have no relationship with one another to create an unusual still life, cut out figures from magazines and put them in dramatic situations to photograph. Invent your subject.
Cindy Sherman has created a whole new way of making a “self-portrait” which is derived from our understanding of movies and other conventions of representing the self in which identity is put on like a costume. Try dressing up in costume and make up and invent a new identity.