Introduction to Photography 1

Post your comments, reviews and critiques below. As stated in the course syllabus, reviews should be at least one paragraph in length (approx 250 words) and follow the general guidelines presented in course handouts, including: Talking and Writing about Art.

Again, this format is informal and the comments should be brief and concise. This is not a space for lengthy discourse or academic writing. I expect you to write as you would speak in class and elaborate beyond “I like…” or “, (the work) is awesome”. Be descriptive and specific in response to both the formal and conceptual elements of the work(s).



24 Responses to Introduction to Photography 1

  1. Robin Shandroff says:

    As I watched the finale of the show America’s Next Top Model starring Tyra Banks, I became very inspired, like always when I watch this show. Tyra Banks is many different things such as an entrepreneur, model, show host, photographer, etc. During these shoots for her commercial of her new make up launch, she had the models do clips for commercials about her products. Tyra is such a talented, strong model herself and it was awesome to me that she got so involved with the models to help them throughout the whole cycle. The models then did a photo shoot for Guess magazine. One photo that stuck out me most this episode was the model’s Adam’s. At the beginning of the show he did not take this seriously and would drink excessively, but you can tell from his photos that the criticism he got from the judges really made an impact on him and he progressed photo after photo. This was his last time to prove himself through a photo and he did with the black and white Guess photo, standing up straight and tall with his hands in his pocket, giving off a very fierce, strong facial expression as his head is faced to the side, his eyes are faced to the camera. He gave off the perfect editorial impression and I was very impressed.

  2. Robin Shandroff says:

    The photo I chose to critique is the black and white photo taken by Paul Strand at the Philidelphia museum of art of an African American girl balancing books on her head. I noticed that all of his photos involved lots of cubism and also culture and emotions from his models. This particular photo was interestingly odd to me. In a literal sense, The model is right in the center of the photo and it works well. Her skin tone against the bland, plain, white wall behind her gives the photo depth and really makes you focus on the model. There are leaves in the upper left corner, so you can tell that she is outside. As the model is balancing three books on her head and gazing downward into a distance, it gives off a much deeper meaning. To me, the message behind this is not just physical balance, but balance within the world, or maybe just her world. It looks like she could be having deep thoughts about whether or not her life is balanced and on track, or maybe even her culture and equality within the world.

  3. Rob Kessler says:

    The last piece I looked at this semester was a landscape painting displayed in the BA Art Show in the upstairs gallery in Westby. Unfortunately I did not find out the name of the artist, and the painting did not have a title when I looked at it, however it is easily identifiable as the one of two landscape paintings on the right hand wall (walking in from the hallway) with the lighthouse in the background. The painting is average sized, only a couple of feet wide and high, done on a standard canvas without any sort of border and mounted straight onto the wall, next to the other landscape painting. It is close to impressionist in handling, though there is just enough detail to be able to distinguish the content from up close. The painting is split almost completely down the middle with the horizon line, with the lower half consisting of the ocean and the sand and the upper half of the cloudy sky at what looks like late afternoon; the horizon becomes slightly uneven as it goes towards the left, and is ultimately broken up with a lighthouse poking up into the upper half, bridging the two together. The split in the middle does not detract from the composition for me, however, as the strong diagonals created by the water crashing into the shore and the path that the shapes in the sky (made up of the dark, thin clouds and the difference in yellow and white lighting) easily draw the eyes towards the lighthouse on the left. There is a nice mixture of warm and cool colors that play together nicely, allowing for both a sense of movement and commotion with the waves and a feeling of tranquility with the specific hues and the darks found throughout the painting.

  4. Sam Kralle says:

    Although I had previously done a photo by him, I wanted my last critique to be dedicated to Paul Strand. His impact on the world of photography is not replicable, and his work will remain legendary for so many years to come. From personal opinion, his photograph entitled Blind Woman is by far one of the most powerful. It is so direct and impactful, but out of the ordinary at the same time. During his era, most photographers didn’t venture out like Strand did, and stuck taking pictures of people that were the average citizen. The shot resembles a mug shot in a way, with a combination of the perfect cropping and seriousness of her face. The sign she wears with the word BLIND gives the shot irony, yet character. She looks a bit battered and broken, with a look of hopelessness and despair gracing her face. She still seems to pop from the brick background, even though she wears all dark clothing, along with some sort of dark hood. This image will live long in the photography world, along with the rest of Paul Strand’s images.

  5. Rob Freedman says:

    Paul Strand’s “Young Boy” caught my eye because of the intensity of the photo. You can tell that the boy in the photo has gone through tough times. You would also be able to infer this based on the time period that the photo takes place in, 1951 in France. The photo caught my eye because it is low enough that you can tell he is dressed for demanding work, and behind him is a either a wooden shed or a fence. These three elements tell us a lot about the background of this photo, and that is a very difficult thing to do.

  6. Rob Freedman says:

    The photo that I am commenting on is Paul Strand’s “The Family”. This picture caught my eye because of the intensity of the photo. It is in black and white and nobody out of the six people in the photo are smiling. This helps to communicate to the audience the tough times that the family were living in in 1953 in Luzzara, Italy. Viewing this from America is very interesting because we can get a feel for what life was like in a completely different time period and country. Subjects that really caught my eye in the photo are the man and woman standing in the door frame. There is almost complete darkness around them, which draws my eye to them rather than anyone else in the photo. The amount of detail in this photo makes it a great work of art and you can just tell by looking at it that it was not easy to create. Like I just learned, portraits are some of the hardest photos to generate.

  7. Sam Kralle says:

    I wanted to critique on an artist that has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. I found out about Ansel Adams when I purchased a calendar of his photos in a sale bin at a local college years ago. With nature and landscape photos being something I am extremely attracted to, I instantly fell in love with his work. I am commenting on one of my favorite pieces by him, entitled The Tetons and the Snake River, taken back in 1942. It is a beautiful piece that displays the Snake River in the foreground, which then leads your eyes down the path of it to the breath taking Teton Mountains exposed in the back. I believe that black and white photos, if done correctly are extremely powerful compared to color. Adams’ photos create such power and intensity. We are used to seeing a world full of color and brightness. For him to tune out these colors and still produce such powerful images is something admirable.

  8. Morgan Merriweather says:

    Morgan Merriweather
    Photography l
    December 6, 2014
    Art Critic #3

    For my third critique I’ll be looking into a show called Fake Off. Fake off deals with many aspects of art from theatrics to painting to digital graphics to dance. What makes the show so interesting is the fact that to act out a scene on the show and make it seem real, hints the title fake off, it’s required that all these artistic categories are up to par. For example, a group on the show was given the challenge recreating the show breaking bad. The group had to paint and use other crafty materials to create the setting and main characters so the audience would get the point, they had to create a performance that had a realistic feel to it. The explanation of the show might confusing but watching it is an amazing experience for someone who can appreciate a broad spectrum of art. Another show like this called Face Off uses paint, sculpting clay, plaster, and lots of different materials to create monsters and creatures. One the best aspects of the show is that it gives you a deeper look into the technicalities behind artistic visuals that we never would have been able to really see before unless we worked in a career dealing with these types of things. The only bad thing about the show Face Off is the sometimes i think the spectrum of art is too broad to create a visual, and because of that the competition is not always fair, some people who are better at crafting or better dancers could possibly do better than people are great in the graphic arts. In addition some challenges are easier than others, also making the competition somewhat unfair.

  9. Tatiana Polnitz says:

    Paul Strand Critique
    Blind Women Photo

    Our visit to the art museum in Philadelphia was very interesting. Paul Strand has a unique style that paved the way for photographers today using both digital and film. One photograph that caught my eye was called “Blind Woman,” which is picture of woman with a sign around her neck that says “BLIND.” One of her eyes looked permanently shut while the other was still open. I loved this photo because it showed just enough of her face to see the daily struggle she goes through. The size of this photograph is perfect. I feel if it were bigger it would be to intimidating and portray the wrong message. There was no need for a dramatic or cynical background. The color of this film was of course in black and white and the quality looked matte. This photo has a very warm and dull tone to it which completely fits the lady in the picture. Even the expression on her face tells me that she is very sad and stressed because of her condition. Everyone clearly knows that she is blind because of the sign on her chest. However, the color, quality and frame of the picture clearly contributes to the story of the subject in the picture.

  10. Tatiana Polnitz says:

    Tatiana Polnitz

    This Thanksgiving weekend I had the pleasure of attending Sight and Sound which is a theater similar to Broadway but their shows brings different biblical stories to life. The show I saw was called “Moses”.The art throughout this show was absolutely amazing. The costumes, the setting, and the props were all forms of art that contributed greatly to the success of the show. The costumes made the story more realistic and easy to follow. There were many different patterns and fabrics that all came together to try and portray what was worn in those times. The different settings of the stage was one of my favorite parts. It was amazing to see the different settings of the stage for each scene. During the story of Moses, it talks about the 10 plagues and the parting of the sea. Many of us were wondering how they were going to pull those aspects off. The use of the entire stage was very effective to no matter where your seat is. Also, the lighting was also great. They used a spotlight and multiple different color lighting to set the atmosphere for the scene. For example, the scene where Moses parts the sea, they used a huge inflatable waterfall but also displayed blue light to make the water look as realistic as possible. The dancing and singing was also another form of art that was displayed in this play. It was mostly traditional modern dancing accompanied by worship music of all kind.

  11. Rob Kessler says:

    I went to see Victoria Butler’s show, Manifestation: Nature & Emotion, and looked at one of the pieces that she had up (to my knowledge all of the pieces were unlabeled). The specific piece that really caught my attention was a panting that stood out from the others as much more vertically oriented, with a height more than double the width of the canvas. The painting focuses in on two trees leading up into the sky, with two more trees that are closer in space to the viewer acting as borders along the sides of the canvas. The Impressionist style and influence was very clearly present in every painting in the show, and especially in this piece: the two trees in the center have very simple strokes of color to represent the leaves and branches, giving them a sense of being further back in space and having some motion to them. The painting is dominated by cool-shaded colors, and many of the colors get brighter and more varied as the trees lead up into the sky. Even though the arrangement of shapes and colors leaves the picture looking slightly chaotic, everything works together to create an overall tone of invitation and peace.

  12. Sam Kralle says:

    Walking through the Paul Strand exhibit at the art museum, many prints caught my attention making it difficult to pick one for this assignment. As I recalled my visit, I realized I spent a great deal of time examining Strand’s close-up nature shots. These specifically struck me as fascinating because of my own love and passion for nature and the outdoors. This subject in particular is one of my favorites to shoot. I admired how effortlessly it appeared for Strand to make something look so beautiful that most people tend to just overlook. One of my favorites was entitled Garden Iris. In referring to our recent lighting assignment, it is evident that this photo is very much stronger in its black and white state. The cropping of the photo is dramatic, but still gives you enough to identify what it is. I love this concept, because the photographer has the oppurtunity to crop a picture in any way he sees it to work. I also admire how Strand makes his photos look so effortless, and yet there is so much expertise and skill behind them. This was definitely something I am hoping to journey back to before its end. It is a powerful and inspiring exhibit for people interested in the photography world.

  13. Roque says:

    As I strolled through the eloquent Philadelphia museum of modern art, I took some time to study Paul Strands photography. In particular what stood out to me the most was the way he made common life objects, abstract. In particular there was one where he took a picture of a chair. It’s so close up that It just looks like many vertical and horizontal lines just next to each other. Paul Strands use of lines were are very eye catching. I found myself looking at each and every line in that particular image (don’t know the name of it), and seeing how the shadows complemented everything. Another interesting thing I noted was his excellent use of shadows. For example, in multiple portraits, the main person had a great contrast behind them. Even when there were multiple people in the image, the main person always stuck out, either because of the contrast behind him or because of his positioning in the image. Overall, even in Strands most straightforward images, there are elements like positioning, shadows, lineage, that he consciously had in mind to make it interesting for the viewer.

    ps. This review is a little late. My apologies.

  14. tomreed2 says:

    “Big Dark Squares and Little Dark People”
    by Tom G. Reed II

    Wall Street by Paul Strand, a striking and contemplative image created by the revolutionary photographer of the early 1900’s, caught my eye as I perused the exhibit on display in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. What immediately pulled me into the moment of the photo was the contrast between the large, domineering, geometric rectangular windows in the side of the building, and the small, skittering figures on their way to who-knows-where in the busy streets of New York City. The large windows become like looming monuments, watching over the scurrying critters that inhabit their walls. There is also an excellent contrast between the whites of the sidewalk and the darks of the figures and the large windows. It is also an amazing photo in that in captures the immediacy and the moment of life in New York City, with residents making their daily commute, making their way among the labyrinth of man made wonders that populate the city. Truly, Strand’s excellence in composition and concept are on display in this magnificent piece of photography.

  15. Morgan Merriweather says:

    Morgan Merriweather
    Photography l
    October 24, 2014
    Art Critic #2

    While visiting the Philadelphia museum of art, my class had the amazing opportunity of visiting the Paul Strand art show. From the videos to the photos, it was quite easy to catch on to the style of the artist. Most of Strands work seemed to have been quite cynical and dark, being that lots of his photography work included shadows and distinctively odd subjects. For example the picture of the table lying on the floor with the shadows of the porch reflecting upon it, this piece of art was particularly interesting because the subject is unrecognizable. Although the subject of the photo is hard to grasp, the lighting that creates the lined shadows both parallel and perpendicular create quite an aesthetic photo.
    Although the photo of the table on the porch was great to say the least, the photo that captured my attention the most in which I have deemed unforgettable came from Strands series of photos on his visit to Mexico. The picture in particular of the statue of Jesus really captivated me! Strands use of the cutting edge really makes it difficult to determine at first whether or not the subject is a real person or a statue. The way Strand shoots the photo head on, directly on the eye level of the statue, added to the eerie aura of the photo. The photo of the statue of Jesus really showcases Strand’s photography skills being that it is of an inanimate object yet it can give off such cynical, dark, intimate, helpless feeling.

  16. Rob Kessler says:

    The photo I looked at was “Nets, Janitzio, Mexico,” done by Paul Strand, and up in display in his exhibit in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The photo was displayed as a standard sized print at around 8 x 10 and had a plain white matte as a mount. The picture he took was a black and white platinum print of a group of nets hung up in a small Mexican village, with the nets and houses coming in from the right in the foreground and leading back into space to the left. A person who looks like a woman is on the ground on the far left, seemingly working in a small patch of light coming through the houses and nets that are hung up. The angle of the shot creates a myriad of interesting shapes throughout the whole composition, with the closest house and net providing a lot of different values and a sense of dragging our view further into the village. The poles used to hold up the nets are jutting up from the ground at uneven angles, and the ones further in the back make for an interesting depiction of depth. I feel as if the intent of this photo was to show off a portion of everyday lower to middle class life in this village in Mexico from the very middle of the town, and in the middle of everyday work happening. We can see the person doing work by the light being casted on the ground, though since they’re not the central focus we can’t quite tell what it is they’re doing; the focus of the photo isn’t what she’s working on, it’s the fact that she’s a member of this small village and is doing work that calls for her to be on the ground and in the dirt.

  17. Dana Schwartz says:

    As I strolled around Westby’s student gallery I scanned the room for something that stood out. I found I was more drawn to the pieces with less color and a more reserved palette. My favorite illustration was that of Marlena Hirshfield, entitled Ambush. The illustration is about the size of US letter paper; 8.5×11. It looks as though it has been rendered with ink, a pen and/or a marker. Perhaps it has been altered by a computer, I really can’t be sure. It features a rabbit and a rather ferocious looking fox. When I first eyed this piece the words that came to mind were: bizarre, dark, whimsical. At first glance one really does not get a sense of what the underlying plot is. This is a result of the somewhat cluttered composition. After taking a closer look, one will make the connection that a fox is protruding its head into a rather brave rabbit’s alcove. In the rabbit hole, we can see artifacts that have an almost treasure-like feeling to them. Things such as pearls, beads, jacks, safety pins, a matryoshka doll, and what looks like a hair pin. All of these items make an interesting frame around the subjects. My favorite aspect of the illustration is how the rabbit is fighting the vicious fox back. Due to the unexpected plot twist, it creates a fun atmosphere which is a nice contrast to the dark first impression one will originally perceive. Overall, I enjoyed Ambush; due to the underlying playful vibe in relation to the initial gloomy feeling.

  18. Morgan Merriweather says:

    Morgan Merriweather
    September 17, 2014
    Photography l
    Art Critic #1

    Jn Our first visit to the art show room in Westby Hall was one to remember. A certain sculpture captured my attention and my interest immediately! In a room full of amazing art this sculpture seemed to have stood out tremendously and not just because of its size. Although I never got a chance to get the name of the piece or the name of the artist I could never forget the art. From my perception the sculpture was of a man, the man seemed to be distraught or depressed because he was sculpted in a slouchy sitting position hunched over with one arm pressed against his face basically holding up his head. However besides the obvious features of the sculpted man, what he was sculpted out of somewhat spoke of his story. The sculpted man was made of some sort of clear plaster or hard plastic kind of material, therefore he was transparent. I’ve concluded from the sculpture that the man was sadden by his shallowness and effects it has had on his life, people were able to see through him and he hadn’t had much to offer the world. I’m not sure what the artist implied by the sculpture by the body language of the sculpture along with the material it was sculpted from instantly told me a story. The fact that I connected so fast and deeply with a piece of art speaks volumes of the artist work and how well the art was crafted. The sculpture of the clear man is most likely a piece of art I will remember for the rest of my life.

  19. sarah yousif says:

    The trees and building create an amazing depth of field. The bride practically pops out of the image, with help from the vivid colors surrounding the white dress. The picture has so much life and excitement from the motion created by the bride as she turns around. A lower camera angle would make the focus better because the sign above the bride is a bit of a distraction. Also the banners take away from the bride’s attention. The tilt of the camera makes the bride appear like she’s tipping over, when she is not. The umbrella is the same color as the dress, so it disappears next to her dress; holding it in another position maybe above her head would have done it more justice. The tilt of the camera along with the pose being made in the picture doesn’t allow much of the brides face to be shown, a different angle would have been better. Overall, the picture was beautiful; it captured the true happiness a bride would feel on her wedding day.

  20. Robin Shandroff says:

    The student art gallery in Westby Hall contains many talented, brilliant pieces of art work. One especially caught my eye. It was the deflated-looking basketball figure. My first thought was, “Why is there a basketball on a stand? How is that art?” Then I realized it wasn’t even really a basketball! It was an art work piece to create a basketball that looked so realistic. I was amazed at how real it actually appeared. I’m guessing that the artist used some sort of clay to create it. With that he/she put much effort to create the details which include the little bumps for texture, the “Spalding” logo, and the black lines. The black lines were a smooth texture placed over the bumpy, orange texture. It was dented to appear that it has been deflated. Aside from the literal thought of it being a basketball- my second thought was that it resembled a symbol for broken dreams. I think each piece of art work always has a deeper meaning to it whether it is intentional or not. This one gave me a scenario in my head of a basketball player losing a game, giving up, abandoning the ball on the court, and walking out on it after shutting the lights. The ball represents the dream given up on because it was once filled with so much passion and hope (air), until it failed and became more and more empty.

  21. Roque Valderrama says:

    For this weeks art critique, I’d like to spend some time analyzing a work in the Westby art gallery. To commence, I’ll give a broad description Of the work, as I did not attach aN image. It is a black and white portrait style drawing of a female. The woman’s hair is going in all directions, almost jumping out at the viewer. Aside from her eyes it is also the darkest part of this piece. the portrait is of a neutrally emotional female making eye contact with the viewer. One can see the eye contact, but aside from that, the eyes seem to be blurry. Also, the artist decided to make it the cut off just above the breasts, as the “subject” appears to be wearing no upper body garments. I think the strongest point of this piece is the hair. To contrast, in a conventional portrait the subject would be upright, with her hair perfectly done and varying a fake smile. What the artist did here was played with that whole concept and gave her a messy head of hair that jumps out at the viewer. In regards to the smiling, this woman has a very neutral face, hinting at seduction. I am led to believe this as her head is tilted upwards. To add on, the point of view is directed towards the hair. At first sight of this piece the first thing I noticed was the hair, then the woman’s face. I think this piece was well put together by the artist. Good work.

  22. Rob Kessler says:

    The pieces I looked at were “The Lead (pb) Point Portraits,” done by Mel Chin in his show Disparate Acts. The installation was divided up into three very large, zoomed in portraits of three seemingly unrelated people. Each portrait was done with a lead drawing stylus on recycled file folder paper, and framed with custom “straight jacket” frames from the artist that are made from wood, leather, brass, and other related materials. The subjects from the portraits were a pathological CEO, a brain-damaged killer who was put to death, and a composer with traces of lead found in his hair. Because the portraits were done in lead that has since been oxidized, much of the detail has faded away or changed in color, making the portraits look unsettling and ghastly. For each portrait, the part of the paper where the subject’s pupils were had been cut out, leaving uneven and rough holes in their place, which only served to add to the off-putting nature of the portraits. The use of lead as the medium goes hand in hand with the framing materials and subjects of the works, all creating a theme of mental illness as portrayed through a somewhat archaic (as lead poisoning is not exactly a current epidemic). In addition to this, however, I believe that the lead is used as a statement from the artist concerning the visibility of mental illnesses in our society; the lead, representing the issue of mental illnesses and those afflicted with them, becomes nearly invisible when exposed to air, or society, and makes it difficult for the viewer, or the people of that society, to even notice that it’s there.

  23. Sam Kralle says:

    The piece of artwork I am commenting on is located in the downstairs gallery of Westby Hall. It is a drawing of a white dove and black bat, which looks like they are about to attack each other. To me, this could represent many things including day and night, or possibly good versus evil. When someone thinks of a dove, it is mostly peacefulness and delicateness. On the other hand, when thinking of a bat it is mostly fear-based and dark thoughts. The artist used simple colors, but still contrasted them well. Although simple, the meaning behind it could produce something much more in-depth and unique.

  24. Tom G. Reed II says:

    “It’s a Pipe Bomb”
    by Tom G. Reed II
    In Mel Chin: Disparate Acts, a selection of concept drawings created by sculptor and 3D artist Mel Chin, there is a drawing entitled “Pipe Bomb Corsican Connection” that fleshes out the concept behind Chin’s 3D work “Elementary Object”. It is a study that shows a rather comical depiction of a pipe bomb, with the bomb rendered as an actual stylized bomb on the end of a common smoke pipe. The size of the entire paper is about tabloid size, and the drawings are almost the actual size of the 3D piece it studies. The piece is simply framed, keeping the focus on the concept drawing. The paper is dull, almost like newsprint, lending to the label of concept work. It is done in black pencil and ink, and the three elements on the page seem to have no real composition or relation to each other. They merely float and space and serve as visual studies of the future 3D piece. The concept behind the piece is strong, particularly the pipe bomb with the stylize bomb at the end of the smoke pipe. However, the exact idea behind this concept is left up to the viewer’s interpretation. The piece appears to be mainly a concept drawing, to be tucked away within the many files of Mel Chin’s studio. The technical excellence of the drawings and the concept that exists within the space of the paper are what make it fine art.

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