Category Archives: UPenn: Photography Students

Mu Qiao: Builder

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Montage: Mu Qiao

 

Montage and Text by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

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Book Reviews

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Jerry Uelsmann’s “Poets House” and John Szarkowski’s “Looking at Photographs”

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After reading JERRY UELSMANN’s “Poet’s House”, which is in the book of “LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS”, I am quickly drawn into the idea of ​​synthesized photographs. I really appreciate the point that photographs can be constructed to produce an assembled effect, which the photographer wants the audience to see instead of showing the audience purely realistic photography, which may mis -convey the photographer’s points of view.

One of the examples that I used most for the synthesized photographs is montage.

Montage is a manifestation of freedom. Making good use of montages or collages, in the early stages of design, we architects can get many ideas and inspiration. The essence of collage is the creation of relationship between things. This relationship is not just a juxtaposition of two nearby elements, but also a spatial affiliation. In composition, the height of each collage element, before and after cover, material color, size and so on all related to their hierarchy in the entire collage works. A good collage or montage can portray a less clear story.

For example, Richard Hamilton’s very famous pop art collage “Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” (1956). This work is composed of images tailored from American magazines. There are many representatives of elements such as the explosion of multimedia information and the popularization of electrical appliances at that time. The elements create interest and conflict while expressing the author’s ideas. For example, the photo of the earth at the top of the room was taken from the cover of Life Magazine. Although it appears on the ceiling as an irrational phenomenon, it is indeed the result of the development of science and technology at that time. This shows that collages are often humorous.

In the procedure of synthesized photographs, there are many tips. Collage is to construct an order, what is new, what is old, what is important, what is secondary, and what is the role played by people in the scene character of. This information is generated by, but also the audience need to think about.

Appropriate to add some lines to help collage to form a complete space. Simply use the background pattern and white space to distinguish space outside. Another common practice is to use a natural scene or material texture as a material to create a silhouette of people or things. Such silhouettes will carry the emotions and atmosphere of the pictures they contain or reflect some of the characters.

The montage also breaks the perspective and combines the building with a flat map. The two parts interact to show the geographical orientation and at the same time add a visual texture to the map area.

In the model, people are used to represent the scale, while people in the collage can increase the sense of substitution and let the audience see the content of the painting from his perspective.

For the “Builder”, I used several photos of famous architects, who are working at a table. The table becomes the connection and also the center of that scene. Taking the photo of New York city view as the background creates the sense of space. The whole picture then presents a fantasy scene that architects are working together and designing the world.

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About The Author: Mu Qiao is a Graduate student enrolled in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Mu Qiao, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/mu-qiao-left-or-right/

 

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Book Reviews, Contemporary Architecture, Engineering, Environment, History, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography

Wenjia Guo: Emotional Change

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Photo: Wenjia Guo

 

 

Photography and Text by Wenjia Guo, Copyright 2018

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EMOTIONAL CHANGE

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Do any static images appear when you see the words love, happiness, sadness and despair? Could these simple words also be expressed by  simple eye contact? What rushed in to my mind is the vivid slices of life, the crisp laugh, the groan of pain. I chose my roommate as my subject for this sequential portrait, since when I see her face, I could tell her love, her happiness her sadness and her despair.

The templet is also a challenge. The arrangement of the four strong as well as contradictory emotions by 35 frames which could form one picture required more thought. When I drew the draft, I decided to use a symmetrical layout to engage the emotions. Also, I preferred to illustrate the transformations  between different emotions, which is the unique advantage of this templet. By presenting six different expressions I tried to express a dynamic mood. You could feel the happiness through the left two smiling faces, you could see the love though the tender eyes in the middle, you could sense the sadness from the right two faces, and the despair of the bottom right two. Even more, from the top you could see the smile faded away and the sadness came up, and at the bottom she sank into despair. From the left top to the right bottom, the height of the face and the degree of saturation gradually decreases, which also showed the transforming of the mood.

I always believe that emotion is so complex that it could not be defined simply by a photograph, an expression or a word. It is so personal that I hope everyone can find different emotions from this single image.

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Portrait of Wenjia Guo by Eileen Ko, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Wenjia Guo by Eileen Ko, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Wenjia Guo is a Graduate student in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania.

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Contemporary Architecture, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

Grant Wei: An Accurate Painting

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Photo: Grant Wei, Copyright 2018

 

Photography and Text by Grant Wei, Copyright 2018

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Book Review

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John Szarkowski: Looking at Photographs

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AN ACCURATE PAINTING

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Photos as emulations of paintings, creating some sort of misplaced hierarchy between paintings and photographs. Photographs, allegedly, were recreational, while paintings were considered to be fine art. At least, in the first couple of centuries of photography. But in another interpretation, mostly by fascists in Germany, the quality of the art was defined by how realistically it portrayed reality. And in that sense, there can be no greater portrayal of reality than through a photograph.

But some moments cannot be captured by a camera. The feelings associated with a sunset — those are moments that cannot be captured no matter how skilled the photographer. Or any artist, for that matter. There are aspects to a sunset that are seem to be intangible, leaving an artist with a sense of helplessness in capturing the sheer ineffability of the sun. Such a sentiment gave rise to the impressionist movement, which was coincidentally coined Tournachon’s studio. And so, the question is, how do photographers capture things that cannot be captured?

Alvin Langdon Coburn is considered to be one of the first photographers who attempted to capture abstract ideas with his photos. Some notable pictures by him include photos of clouds, which he considered to be oddly poetic in the sense that they only exist in the shape and position they are in at one period in time throughout the entirety of time. In this regard, each photo of a cloud is considered to be a rare photo in the sense that it cannot be replicated in quite the same fashion. In a way, Coburn gave birth to conceptual photography.

While Coburn extrapolated the meaning of clouds to be a series of different worlds, the uniqueness of his cloud photos lies in his interpretation. The photos have meaning behind them; in other words, they have concept in addition to aesthetic. What people can see is a picture of a cloud, but the picture of a cloud is not the photo. Although I do not particularly agree with his analysis of clouds as different worlds, I do appreciate his effort to add a poetic element to his pictures. The clouds are indeed quite beautiful, but to me, the value of a piece of art lies in its concept — not its aesthetic.

I, too, try to create art that is not only aesthetic but also conceptual. Titled: Black Mirror, I wanted to create a sense of existential dystopianism influenced from the Netflix TV series, Black Mirror. Taken in a bathroom of a random pop-up shop in Philadelphia, I wanted to create a sense of dread and confusion. By adding noise and distortions to the photo, I hoped to create a sense of discomfort while maintaining a degree of aesthetics. Because, like the reality of the TV series black mirror, our conception of reality is also warped by a warm filter that prevents us from seeing the nothingness that lies behind.

I saw a black space in a frame, and I saw an accurate reflection of the emptiness of our reality. But simply taking picture of a black picture frame was not adequate to capture my sentiments. I could not communicate my feelings of overwhelming despair with a simple photo, which is why I used Adobe Photoshop to modify the noise and add filters. Not unlike Coburn, I saw a different world in an object we see every day, and I wanted to share my sentiments through something more than an aesthetically pleasing photo.

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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-cigarettes-sex/

 

Also posted in Art, Book Reviews, History, Painting, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography

Lilibeth Montero: Looking at Photographs

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Photo: Lilibeth Montero

 

Photography and Text by Lilibeth Montero, Copyright 2018

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Book Review

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John Szarkowski: Looking at Photographs

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The first picture John Szarkowski introduces is a portrait. The portrait created by William Shew, using the daguerreotype process, fascinated me. Szarkowski mentions in the book that daguerreotype was mainly used to capture the faces of people. I find this early usage of photography similar to the current most popular use of photography, to take “selfies”. Although, it’s incredibly narcissistic to take pictures of one self, oddly we are capturing our history just like the people taking pictures using the daguerreotype technique were. I also find it important to note that I feel photography has become heavily flooded my narcissism, and I feel that’s the direction new photographers emerging will perhaps take.

Another image I found quite fascinating was “Chicken and tree” by Edouard Boubat. The way Boubat plays with the viewer’s perspective is incredible. At first sight, I was sure this image was of a tree and chicken, and the sky behind it. To my surprise there is a wall behind the tree. I find this image fascinating because one can understand the technical process that went into producing an image like this, but it’s still incredible. I really agree with what Szarkowski says, that our interpretation of an image may change but the image itself doesn’t. After reading, I realized there was a wall, however I still saw a sky behind the tree. On the other hand, Baron Adolph De Meyer’s image “Helen Lee Worthing” is fascinating to me because of the “frank and luxurious artificial light” within the image. I feel this light makes the image look much more luxurious, and conveys a sense of wealth. I find it interesting how Baron Adolphe De Meyer influenced fashion, and how technological improvements allowed him and other photographers have a larger platform.

In my image, I attempted to mimic the way Boubat deceives the viewer in his image. I decided to take a picture of a lamp, but added a teddy bear to the bottom of it. I wanted the bear to be out of focus, and the purpose of the teddy bear is to change the interpretation of the image, yet have the image be the same. Although it’s not the same way Boubat fools his audience, I am very pleased with the result. When you don’t notice the teddy bear one focuses on the lamp asking questions like: why this lamp post? Where is this lamp post located? After noticing the teddy bear one’s interpretation changes and the viewer asks questions like: why this lamp post and this teddy bear? How do they relate? Similar to Baron Adolphe De Meyer’s image, my picture portrays a sense of luxury through the light released by the lamp. The lamp post itself aesthetically conveys a sense of wealth because of the careful details embedded in the stone, the marble at the bottom it and the chandelier looking light bulbs.

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About The Author: Lilibeth Montero is a freshman enrolled in the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021. To access additional articles by Lilibeth Montero, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/lilibeth-montero-abril/

 

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Book Reviews, Documentary, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn Photography, Women

Mu Qiao: Left or Right

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Photo: Mu Qiao

 

 

Photography, Text and Video by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

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LEFT OR RIGHT

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There are many aspects of life, where do you prefer to go? There are many kinds of emotions, how would you prefer to get along with yourself? There are a lot of ways for expressions, would you or not change the way of communicating because of different faces of others. For everyone, emotions carry the life, and facial expressions are the external expressions of emotions. In fact, emotion, the subjective cognitive experience of a person, is a state that is produced synthetically by a variety of feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Therefore, I think it could be very interesting to capture the subtle facial expressions in the portrait photography, record its changes and compare their differences.

This project compares two extreme emotions, despair and joy. Both models are my work partners. By zooming in the camera, I focus on the changes of facial features, especially the eyes and mouth. The different sides of the model and different viewing positions affect our interpretation of the expression. About composition of this picture, I use a strong contrast and neat symmetry to contrast these two emotions. Moreover, in the middle, there is the integration of these two kinds of emotional, which are highlighted.

I hope this project will remind the reader that, in two ways to face with life and people, what did you do in your life? Readers should feel how it looks like in different emotions and think about which side you prefer. Left? Or, just right?

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Portrait of Mu Qiao by Emily Cheng, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Mu Qiao by Emily Cheng, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Mu Qiao is a Graduate student enrolled in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania.

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Blog, Contemporary Architecture, Photography, Popular Culture, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Video