Urging the World to See

What to do for Class 5


Here is, as you must be starting to get used to, the summary of what you guys should be doing until Class #5 (Tuesday June 30).

1/ You might want to subscribe to this blog (click on RSS Feed in the sidebar, and follow instructions. For my regular blog one can get email alerts, I don't know if this works for this one, but if you have a Yahoo or Google page, you would get a message on it that will alert you when the boss thinks that life is too easy for you, and the siesta is over.

2/ Most of you, except possibly Thomas, need to work some more about your self portrait. My understanding is that Ammar has shot some, but met technical difficulties to upload them. He can either work some more on it already, or wait for comments. Thomas, you are so fancy clothed, a guy dressed like that most likely knows whether he should be satisfied with what he has or not. Honestly there is not such a thing as a finished work, as in art it is rare that one can say (as I used to hear my step father say about his paintings, but he was wrong): "I am going to stop, because if I try to go further, I'll damage it."

All of you, post your new attempts if you have some, in a new entry, but under the same category "self portrait."

3/ Add more photographs (up to ten), the new ones that you will take this week end or have shot recently, to your large album, and possibly to your select if warranted. You can also withdraw things that don't look so great to you any longer, to either of these albums.

4/ Those of you who have not done that, remember to take care of the categories in your blog (erase default categories that do not apply, and create/apply the appropriate categories. You should have the following categories: History of Photography, Best Of, Self Portrait.

THOMAS: you might want to modify your categories,you have not erased the useless ones, and it seems that you have two categories for History of Photography (it makes it too long a title to add "world" to that one).

KYLIE: You have two categories "class1, 2) that seem to duplicate "History of Photography."

5/ Try to pay a visit to the Montagne Ste Victoire, climb on it up to the top, this week end or in any case before July 1st. This should be a memorable experiencefor you to have climbed Cezanne's mountain. From the top, take the basis for a panoramic view (several would be a good idea), by taking several photographs from left to right and overlap them, until the several photographs cover the span that you want to have in your panoramic. It is ok to put the camera vertical (a.k.a portrait) and/or use the tele part of the zoom rather than a wider angle, you then just have to take more photographs in order to cover the same angle, but the perception is different, try and experiment.

It is important that you understand that the photographs for one pano will be assembled in photoshop more or less automatically, and that they need to have as much as possible the horizon line at the same position in each photograph. It is also a good idea to keep the camera as vertical as possible, otherwise you will have a curved horizon line. And again, leave some room for overlapping, as Photoshop needs that in order to see what is common in the two photographs to assemble them, it calls it "stitch."

5/ Except for Kylie and Emily who have already told me, please confirm if Sat July 18, or Sunday July 19 would work for you for our special field trip.

6/ Some of you have not told me where and when they go in other field trip. I need to know!

7/ You might remember that next weekend is when the Tour de France starts, and you want to do your best to see that, as it is a landmark of France, and this tour is especially exceptional as it starts on the Côte d'Azur which is exceptional.

That's if folks, enjoy, email if you have questions.


What to do for Class 4

As I said in my email a few minutes ago, when after yesterday's class, I arrived to the "Aix insiders" parking I had been told to use, my car had been towed away to the pound. That's Aix for you,just like Manhattan in this regard, a town that is difficult to access let alone park into at a reasonable price. Here is what the pound looks like, not the most pleasant side of Aix:

On my way to the pound, I shot this due to Emily's influence. Not a prize winner,but for you Emily:

About what you need to do for Thursday:

1/ Emily only: start an entry on your blog to which you will apply a category "L'Amour" and put in that the photograph that you take about lovers in France, the tittle we came with for that entry is "L'Amour en France" and will be an ongoing entry part of your overall projects.

2/ Everybody: Do a self portrait, either shooting it yourself or by team of two. The important thing is that You come up with the concept about your portrait as to where, how, what's the background, is it a close up or a full view, what's the focal length you use, etc... Your partner if you use one is here mostly to frame for you and press the button, she or he can give you suggestions though, but you decide. We will review them in class and online by posting comments on each others. So when you are done with shooting post your 8 best shots or less, post 4 minimum. CAtegorize this with a new category titled "Self Portrait." After the photographs write what was your concept,why you chose that idea, why that represent you these days in Aix, and then explain why you picked the best one (post the photographs best one up and least favorite at bottom, and according hierarchy in between).

The concept is very important, so surprise us, but not for the sake of surprizing us, it also has to meaningful in regard to who you are.

Here are a few samples:

This is one of my current self portraits, you might have seen it on my website. It was shot in Havana, where I am talking with John Lennon, arguing as always about rebuilding the world. This is what we do together. Of course you get the point, don't you, it should match what I hope you have seen of me already, not too many things are to be taken on the first degree, and at the same time, it is not an accident if this is shot in Havana and in company of John Lennon, by opposition of being in Manhattan looking at Wall Street, for instance.

This is a photograph of the N.C commissioner of Agriculture. As such he is the GodFather of the State fair during which this was shot, as is obvious. As such it is also a good idea for him to wear the tie of NC State U. which is in intimate relationship with the department of Agriculture, and of course this being N.C. it is also a good idea for the commissioner to support tobacco farming which clearly he does not mind doing. Finally he is a good old boy, and all this should perceptible in this photograph.

Finally this is a wedding portrait, which is never a very natural portrait as wearing a bridal gown is nothing natural. This bride was very determined, period, and most probably still is. She also was very determined to make a difference in education. This is what this portrait is about, I could have put her in a classroom, but that would have been less aesthetic, and we could not have done it in her classroom anyhow. So instead I picked some columns on Duke East Campus, which provide an elegant background, and symbolize education in the U.S. Her pose and demeanor obviously express that she was determined to wear the pants at home, her husband is a real sweet heart.

I hope that this gives you more insight about what I expect from you. I personally do not believe in portraits shot in studio,which anyway is not a possibility for you in Aix. Additionally, as we have seen several times, it is important to understand why we do photography and not painting. If we do photography it is important to stick with reality that's what photography is all about and where it takes its roots. Therefore we want to do a portrait as much as possible along those lines. That is called an "Environmental Portrait" where "environment" means that it is shot in an environent meaningfull to who the subject is. This is not new, painters have been doing that for centuries. As I said at the beginning,it is ok to do a close up where the environment might be absent or almost absent, if you have a decent reason for that.

3/ Read page 94 to 191. Pick your 5 favorite photographs and explain why,as you did for class #2. Categorize that with the category "History of Photography" and apply that category as well to what you did to your post for class #2.

4/ Make another entry called "My best pics in France so far." Categorize that in a new category called "Best of," and post your 4 favorites in it in descendent hierarchy (best on top). Do this A.S.A.P. so that we can all start commenting on it. and when posted shoot an email to the group (reply all to one of my emails, just change the subject line).

That's it folks! See you Thursday.