Category Archives: Architecture

Jesse Halpern: Segmented Porches-What We Have on Display

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Photography, Text and Video by Jesse Halpern, Copyright 2017

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SEGMENTED PORCHES: WHAT WE HAVE ON DISPLAY

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In my still life series, I chose to focus on a time where everything seems still, night time in residential neighborhoods in Philadelphia. When walking at night, most porches have doors light and not much else light up. But a few have adequate porch lighting, but those that do capture the intense light and dark of the materials and textures of the objects that decorate their porches.

I tried in my series to find such moments of chiaroscuro to show different elements that create the gateways to our homes. I wanted to show the different textures of these objects but I wanted my series to be unified, almost as if all the images could have originated at the same porch. This is a deception. Every image in this series comes from a different home and from three different nights. In order to create this sense of false unity I chose to forgo color, as the light fixtures on these different porches had very different color balances.

I wanted to emphasize texture. I created intense plays of darks and lights to emphasize the chipping of wood, the rusting of metal, the embroidered patterns on a couch, The imperfect yet smooth texture of a pumpkin.

I also wanted to reflect the cold harshness of being outside on a fall night. Black and white helped heighten the starkness of the light fixtures.

In every photo I wanted to focus on a different object, but to still capture the texture of the porch it was on. By not overlapping like object the photos have the effect I want, as if I am documenting one porch, as if everything could occupy the same space. In order to do so I used a fixed 85 mm lens and shot from a medium to close distance from the object. I was very conscious to include some identifiable feature of a porch, and I shot with the smallest aperture opening, an f stop of 22, to ensure the elements I wanted to include were rendered as clear as possible to show their texture.

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About The Author: Jesse Halpern is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Jesse Halpern, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/jesse-halpern-raw-emotions/

 

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Environment, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, UPenn, UPenn Photography

Noel Zheng: “Untitled (Jolie Laide)”

 

Photography and Text by Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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“Untitled (Jolie Laide)” A short project to realize the empire of fashion.

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The fashion industry sells to all types of lifestyles through their shoots. Entering fall/winter, every year, coats become the centre around which the industries uses as a medium to captivate the public, and give the idea that they too can live a similar life—given they have the material item.

I set this shoot up to reflect an editorial “vibe”; the black and white seamless with two soft boxes were set up in attempt to reap the most stripped back of editorial shoots. In post-production, saturation was muted but vibrancy increased to achieve the same effect.

In terms of styling, I stripped all elements back so only the coat (or some other winter wear) would be the centre of the shoot. The models wore little more than the outerwear in attempt to critic the fashion industry—when all is stripped back, is the lifestyle sold still worthy of buying? Or rather—when all is stripped back, is the coat sold still worthy of buying? The simplicity of this shoot hinges between avant-garde and classic.

But of course, this industry has become so powerful that a “stripped back” non- flamboyant lifestyle is, in ways, still avant-garde. It exemplifies a term now trending: “minimalism”. Because I realize that in attempt to mute the toxic environment of ‘fashion sells’, I add to it.

This is what I mean when I say “the fashion industry sells to all types of lifestyles through their shoots”—because no matter how ugly, or how simple, or how kitsch one tries to make fashion, it is still—as Tyra Banks says—“Jolie Laide”.

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About The Author: Noel Zheng is a Sophomore majoring in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Noel Zheng, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/noel-zheng-untitled-post-production/

 

Also posted in Blog, Environment, Fashion, Glamour, Men, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn Photography, Women

Yash Killa: Patterns

 

Photography and Text by Yash Killa, Copyright 2017

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PATTERNS

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So what makes a photograph pleasant to the eyes or stand out. Is it really subjective in nature, or is there science behind it?

This is what Fibonacci tries to answer using a very unique perspective. He theorizes that nature has its own numbering sequence – the Fibonacci number and the golden ratio. From the petals on a flower to the fractal-shaped snowflakes, everything around us has a mathematical background to it. Which is why, for this project, my theme is Repetitions around us. I have strived to create a series of photographs that focus on the recursions and reoccurrence of a similar structure or shape within the same area.

I have focused on structures and shapes that we see in our everyday lives. In the hustle and daily rush in the campus, one often misses the uniqueness and the beauty of the campus. Being a freshman – new to campus – the walks I took with my camera for this project seemed simply surreal and thought-provoking. There were things that I crossed everyday on my way to class, but never noticed. For example, the green colour stone walls of the College Hall perfectly lined up on top of each other linearly, or the humungous tree standing fully bloomed in the middle of the Quadrangle. It made me ponder about how self-involved we become sometimes and how we miss the subtle wonders around us that we take for granted in our lives.

When I was on the look out for patterns and repetitions in still life for the project, it made me further think about Fibonacci’s theory and to what extent is mathematics behind the level of one’s appreciation of a certain scenery or a photograph. This project made me realize that art can’t exist without science – they are codependent. Our tastes and our preferences have been developed over many experiences based on what we see around us, and what we see around us has some form of a mathematical relationship behind it (could be a different relation for different objects). And our likes and dislikes are then based upon the mathematical relationships which we prefer more as compared to those which we do not. Repetition and recursion for me signifies order in this chaos that we live in. This is why it appeals to me, and why I decided to materialise this fascination of mine through this project.

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About The Author: Yash Killa is a Freshman enrolled in the School of Arts & Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021.

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Science, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography

Victoria Meng: Life at the Penn Museum

 

Photography, Video and Text by Victoria Meng, Copyright 2017

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LIFE AT THE PENN MUSEUM

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Sometimes on rainy afternoons in the Penn Museum, when the air is more musty than usual, and the light is just dim enough, I feel as if I can almost hear the alluring whisper of the past, the echo of music and laughter from a forgotten era.

On my first day of work at the Penn Museum, my boss took me on a tour. As we walked among the cool, darkened hallways that house over a million artifacts, I learned about the museum’s illustrious history.

At the end of the 19th century, Provost William Pepper commissioned the museum as a humble way to house artifacts. Through the course of the next few decades, the Penn Museum would evolve into a prestigious institution where Philadelphia’s elite could ascend to higher society.

From the exotic architectural motifs to the smallest details in building fixtures, the Penn Museum would’ve been an incredible marvel at the time that it was constructed. Complete with mosaics designed by Tiffanys, seemingly no expense was spared in creating an “eclectic Victorian extravaganza.”

Yet, as I recount my memory of the museum tour, I remember one detail in particular.

In 1929, Alexander Stirling Calder, was commissioned to create a statue for the European gallery. While his father was known for putting William Penn on top of City Hall and his son reached international acclaim for his mobiles, Stirling made his own statement with a depiction of a Greek maiden styled like a Roaring 20s flapper.

Ironically, it was this anachronistic detail that really became my inspiration. This proof that the museum had once been a backdrop for Gatsby-scale parties made history more real to me than ever before. In fact, the more I looked into the Museum during this era, the more true life became stranger than fiction.

At one point in the early 20th century, a glamorous reception attracted more than eight hundred guests. Two of these guests, perhaps under the influence of too much champagne, allegedly climbed on top of and eventually collapsed ancient Chinese tomb figures of camels. While the ruins were eventually restored to original condition, this raucous memory lives on in my imagination.

Ultimately, my inspiration for my portraits was derived from the Museum’s core mission: to help us remember who we are and where we came from. The more I learn about anthropology, the more I realize that although the way that we live has changed greatly, who we are as humans has hardly wavered.

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Portrait of Victoria Meng by Simeon Ristic, Copyright 2017

Also posted in Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, History, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

Noel Zheng: “Untitled (Post Production)”

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

 

Photography and Text by Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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“Untitled (Post-Production)”

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A short project on nostalgic novelty in a fast-fashioned world.

For this project, I took myself out of my own comfort zone and shot the life and style of the night, and for this, what better place is there to go than Chinatown? Chinatown boasts the creative and the eclectic, the mainstream and the experimental all under its neon lights, red lamp posts and oriental pillars.

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

I went out to shoot this during Philadelphia Fashion week; the week following NYFW. However, the events out of Chinatown do not seem to interfere, in any aspect, with the existence within. It is bubble in itself where experimentation and change is accepted in both their novelty, and their-otherwise-stigma. It is the one place in any city that offers a looking glass to the 10 years ahead and to the 10 years past: a place where novelty somehow intertwines with something familiar.

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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Almost resembling one of the many “Cities of Desires” in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Chinatown is transient in the most familiar way; and this is what I sought out to capture. The ever-changing: less so the fashion, but more so the holistic mood these nocturnal humans evoked with their fashion: something nostalgic, yes, but also something very new.

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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Photo: Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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So, in this short series of eight images, you may see something different than he or she, or your yesterday’s self would (and tomorrow, this series may reveal itself in a different light). Regardless, these eight images prove that, sure, fast-fashion of large corporations may be taking over Milan runways or 5th Avenue sidewalks, but Chinatown has a style of its own and this style will forever be something not quite like next season’s collection, but already existing in the now, never far off.

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Self Portrait by Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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About The Author: Noel Zheng is a Sophomore majoring in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Noel Zheng, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/noel-zheng-creation-movement/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Women