Category Archives: UPenn: Photography Students

Wenjia Guo: View on the Roof

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Photography and Artist Statement by Wenjia Guo, Copyright 2018

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View on the Roof

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As an architecture student, I always treat design as a process of choice. Choose to show the real structure or hide with decorative materials. Choose to display the mechanical equipment or dress up with modernist elements. It is the same with the photographic medium, photographers choose the light, the subject, the environment as well as the attitude. So, this time, I used my pictures to discuss something that architects tried to hide from the public, the roof view. Nowadays, architects value roofs as the fifth façade. They came up with the concept of a green roof tried to turn the roof into a positive element in life and the environment.  However, during  development over time, architects used the parapet wall to prevent people from easily seeing the roof from the ground. I found several roofs to photograph and recorded these views. From an aerial view to observe these buildings, I found them familiar and strange. The equipment on the roof is still in the quiet of day there to complete their functions, do not look forward to my visit, but once I pay more attention, the snow in spring, the narrow skylight, the huge heating all tells their own story. Architecture design for me is a way of expressing my thoughts to the world and  to photograph structures like this provides me with an opportunity to read to the world.

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Portrait of Wenjia Guo by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Wenjia Guo by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Wenjia Guo is a Graduate student in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Wenjia Guo, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/wenjia-guo-travel-friends/

 

Also posted in Architecture, Blog, Cameras, Contemporary Architecture, Current Events, Documentary, Engineering, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, Travel, UPenn, Women

Anisha Arora: South Africa. The Land of Contradictions

 Native South African dancers outside Nelson Mandela’s house in Johannesburg

Native South African dancers outside Nelson Mandela’s house in Johannesburg

 

Photography and Text by Anisha Arora, Copyright 2018

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South Africa. The Land of Contradictions

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South Africa is a land of contradictions. What you see on the surface are beautiful beaches, sprawling vineyards, clear sky and dramatic mountains everywhere. You are enchanted and enthralled by the beauty, and rightly so. But slowly, you realize that this beauty hides a brutal truth. The truth of the white man, once again, justifying formalized racism.

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The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town at sunset

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town at sunset

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I got the wonderful opportunity to visit South Africa over the Spring Break, as part of Wharton’s Global Immersion Program. I absolutely fell in love with the country and highly recommend visiting both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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 Penguins at the Boulder Beach

Penguins at the Boulder Beach

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Cape Town is astoundingly beautiful and is often called the Silicon Valley of South Africa, with a budding entrepreneurial ecosystem. The views of the Table Mountain never gets old, the beaches are beautiful and pristine, and the views at the Cape of Good Hope are unparalleled. My favorite memory, though, is of seeing the penguins at Boulder Beach for the very first time. I also recommend visiting Stellenbosch to see the beautiful vineyards and taste the much-touted South African vines.

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A giraffe at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, near Johannesburg

A giraffe at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, near Johannesburg

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It’s easy to lose yourself in the natural beauty of South Africa. However, a trip to South Africa is incomplete without an attempt to understand its complex history. The apartheid museum and the Soweto townships in Johannesburg, as well as, a trip to Robben Island are a must. Robben Island houses the prison where Nelson Mandela was kept locked up for almost 2 decades.

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Words inscribed on the wall of Nelson Mandela’s house in Johannesburg

Words inscribed on the wall of Nelson Mandela’s house in Johannesburg

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Our guide at Robben Island, an island used for isolation of political prisoners. Our guide was a fellow prisoner with Nelson Mandela (who spent 18 years imprisoned on this island)

Our guide at Robben Island, an island used for isolation of political prisoners. Our guide was a fellow prisoner with Nelson Mandela (who spent 18 years imprisoned on this island)

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 A sign at the Apartheid museum, from the time when apartheid was practiced in South Africa

A sign at the Apartheid museum, from the time when apartheid was practiced in South Africa

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Personally, it was difficult for me to fathom that apartheid ended within my lifetime. It was even more difficult to fathom that human beings can inflict such torture on fellow human beings, with a perfect ability to rationalize these actions. Some of the exhibits at the apartheid museum also reminded me of the divisive language we see today around anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee emotions. We, homo sapiens, never learn from our past.

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Colorful houses in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood

Colorful houses in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood

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A colorful market in Johannesburg

A colorful market in Johannesburg

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Through my photographs, I have tried to capture the various aspects of South Africa, from the wildlife, the mountains, the beaches to the locals and places of historical significance.

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A local South African playing music on the road

A local South African playing music on the road

 

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About The Author: Anisha Arora is enrolled in the Graduate program, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Anisha Arora, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/anisha-arora-a-whiff-of-history/

 

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

Grant Wei: Consumption

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Photography, Text and Video by Grant Wei, Copyright 2018

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CONSUMPTION

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“Household income is equal to investment plus consumption.”

How cute. In terms of generating sustainable economic growth, the optimal allocation for capital and labor in an economy is almost always an investment given enough consumption to sustain population growth.

However, it seems almost… wrong. What is the purpose of generating economic growth if we cannot consume our income in ways that generate a desirable level of utility? It seems as though there exists some sort of underlying purpose to life other than to generate economic growth.

But the question is — when is it enough? How do we allocate our income to generate the most utility in our lifetime? Is that even the purpose of life at all?

It seems almost instinctual. We think about what we want to eat or what we want to wear, but how much of our thought process is guided by a series of conscious decisions as opposed to vague inclinations?

And so, I wanted to capture the things that we consume, the objects in our lives that allegedly have a sense of meaning other than contributing to the growth of an economy.

Because, supposedly, our possessions should bring happiness to us. Supposedly. But, in the context of a constant drive towards external validation that will never come, is it really?

We constantly observe the cycles of our life driven by the whims of our desire to consume, but where does our sense of consciousness play in? We want. And then we want more. And more. And more. Until we die, and we stop wanting.

And maybe, that’s the summation of our life: a series of whims that contributed to some economic growth in the long run.

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About The Author: Grant Wei is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Grant Wei, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/grant-wei-an-accurate-painting/

 

Also posted in Accessories, Blog, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Video

Anisha Arora: A Whiff of History

 

Photography and Text by Anisha Arora, Copyright 2018

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A Whiff of History

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The Wharton/Penn bubble is real. My looming graduation in May made me realize that I have spent all my time at Wharton in the small bubble extending from Huntsman Hall in Center City to Rittenhouse Square. So, for this assignment, I decided to break the bubble and explore other parts of Philly.

Amid the beautiful cobblestone streets of Old City, lies the Betty Ross house where the first American flag was made. Betsy, originally called Elizabeth Griscom, was one of 17 children in the Quaker Griscom family in the 18th century. She was a trained upholsterer and had moved to the Betsy Ross house after eloping with her first husband. She faced one tragedy after another, from death of her first two husbands to deaths of most of her children, and later deaths of her parents and sister from yellow fever. She continued to run her fledgling upholstery business, while bearing all the tragedies, and was approached by George Washington in 1777 to make the first American national flag.

It was humbling and inspiring to hear Betsy’s story. Often, in the Wharton bubble, our small troubles seem so big and we often forget how fortunate we are for all the resources and opportunities we have been bestowed upon us. Betsy’s story reminded me to be more grateful for what I have.

One of the stories that spoke directly to Betsy’s character full of courage and love was her determination to work on the American flag, in spite of all the danger it placed her in. She considered this a dedication to her first husband, John Ross, who was a patriot and had died while fighting in the Revolution.

Through my photography, I tried to capture the essence of the Betty Ross house and the ordinary items that gave me a sneak-peek into what Betsy’s life looked like, including a view of her candle-lit room, where she would sit on her chair while working on the national flag.

History is everywhere in the nation’s first capital. One only needs to be willing to break the bubble every once-a-while.

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About The Author: Anisha Arora is enrolled in the Graduate program, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Anisha Arora, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/anisha-arora-shoes/

 

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Video, Women

Fangyi “Frank” Fan: Colors of Bottles

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Photography, Text and Video by Fangyi “Frank” Fan, Copyright 2018

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Colors of Bottles

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In college, alcohol has a big presence in many students’ life. Just as the variety of alcohol, liquor bottles usually are made available in different colors, shapes and styles, which do not get equal recognition compared to the liquid inside. For me, they seem like the perfect still objects for this series of still lifes.

I found these bottles in my friend’s apartment. They were put on the top of a shelf , covered by dust. My friend told me that they have been there for quite a long time and if I wanted I could just take them with me. He apparently felt that those bottles became useless once the drinking is done. However, after I stared at the bottles, the different forms of liquor bottles fascinated me.  The transparent nature of the colorful glass as well as the creative labels all make these bottles like art pieces. All eight pictures could be broken down into two categories: full bottles and details on a bottle. For the category of full bottles, I tried different lighting techniques to display the full beauty of the objects. In four of them, I put an Iphone underneath the bottle and used the flashlight app to light up the bottle from underneath. This extra addition of light source, though inducing some noise at some parts, added some flavor to the picture. In the second category of the shooting, I focused on the labels of the liquor bottles. By adjusting f stops, I achieved the desired depth of field in shooting those micro details with excellent clarity.

The more I worked with those empty bottles, the more I pondered what alcohol brought to students at Penn. A way to alleviate stress? A tool to escape reality? Or is it just a social norm that most people tend to conform to? The answer lies in the emptiness of those bottles.

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About The Author: Fangyi “Frank” Fan is a Senior enrolled in the School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Fangyi “Frank” Fan, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/fangyi-frank-fan-meaning-of-makeup/

 

Also posted in Blog, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Still Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Video