Category Archives: UPenn

Justine McMinn: Developmental Psychology


Photography, Text and Video by Justine McMinn, Copyright 2017




I am currently studying Developmental Psychology. My professor, as a Social Psychologist, often takes a social approach to development and the different aspects of life that play a role. I created still lives to symbolize the different stages of development.

In developmental psych from Piaget to Kohlberg there are many different theories as to what each stage encompasses. I wanted to create what these stage—infancy to adulthood, according to my perspective and experience look like. My stages may not be the same as the person I sit next to in class nor one of my siblings, which is interesting in itself, because so many life experiences, exposure, or lack thereof, influence the way we develop and see the world.

My first stage is childhood. I realize this stage is crucial to human development. This is when the brain is really being formed and interactions with objects and people are essential to the development. It is a stage of exploration of sensorimotor skills, communication, colors, and shapes. It is when relationships are formed with family, which can dictate the way the person socially interacts with the world for the rest of their life.

My second stage is about being a teenager. This stage varies a lot depending on the person, as well as what their childhood was like. For me, being a college student, this stage involved a lot of educational development. This is where you learn to think about other people, their experiences, cultures, and the world as something bigger than yourself. In addition to that, it is a period of exposure to things new and the exploration of identity.

The third stage is adulthood. This is where responsibilities kick in. Of course, there are responsibilities as a teenager and young adult but this is where legally and socially you are completely responsible for all your decisions. At this point, most people are already well established in their identity. I used the mail, newspaper and keys to show the various things adulthood encompasses: bills, money to pay rent, work, keeping up with current events, and the coffee to symbolize how tiring that can be, but the need to keep going. Hence, the sticky saying “I’ll be home late” to show how to keep up on these things, sometimes sacrifice is necessary and as an adult that’s a decision you have to make. 

My last stage is elderly/death. I used the picture to symbolize the memorialization of the dead. The dirt to symbolize the way as humans we deal with death and the dead by conducting funerals and different rituals, which also differ depending on the person’s beliefs or religion.

Sometimes different groups of people have experienced trauma or different events that make their development and stages of life look drastically different. Whether it be they experienced the responsibility of bills earlier in life because of not having familial support or have a disability and their basic communication skills are delayed. My hopes are that this doesn’t suggest there is one way of life and how it should occur but rather show what I have seen or hoped to have seen in the development of myself and the people around me.



About The Author: Justina McMinn is a Freshman enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021. To access additional articles by Justine McMinn, click here


Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, UPenn Photography, Women

Jesse Halpern: Segmented Porches-What We Have on Display




Photography, Text and Video by Jesse Halpern, Copyright 2017




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.



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 here



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

Jessica Moh: Simple Combinations


Photography and Text by Jessica Moh, Copyright 2017




In this project, I chose to tackle the concept: “how many outfits can you make with a white shirt and denim jeans”. I chose this theme because everyday, I struggle with picking out an outfit, and end up eventually wearing a simple white top and jeans outfit.

I instructed all my models to only wear a white top and denim jeans to show that even such a simple outfit has so much diversity. For each model, I also decided to match their outfit to their personality because knowing each model personally, I knew how they would pose in each outfit. I chose to photograph my models in a studio because it was a controlled setting and all the attention would be put onto the model and the outfit. I did not want the lighting to be harsh but to look natural on the model.

As this was a fashion editorial, I wanted to solely focus on the fashion. A white shirt, whether a t-shirt or a button-down, is extremely versatile and can be worn for any occasion. Jeans on the other hand, are one of the most commonly worn clothing articles. I wanted to challenge myself to come up with ways to only work with two kinds of clothing items and to create as many outfits.

I think that a white shirt, depending on the style, can be very powerful. The color white is often associated with cleanliness and innocence. However, when it is paired with jeans or denim, a material that is made to look distressed and worn out, the white shirt is put into a different context. The contrast between something so simple and plain juxtaposed with ripped jeans shows how although two items that seem like they shouldn’t go together, work perfectly in unison. The simplicity of a white shirt contrasted against the holes and rips in jeans and denim give the outfit a composed yet effortless rugged and clean look.

If I could extend this project, I would challenge myself by only using a white button down and creating different outfits with that one shirt. I would end up manipulating or tying the shirt in different ways, breaking from the normal way of wearing a simple button down.



Portrait of Jessica Moh by Sharon Song, Copyright 2017


About The Author: Jessica Moh is a sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Jessica Moh, click here:




Also posted in Blog, Fashion, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Women

Yash Killa: Patterns


Photography and Text by Yash Killa, Copyright 2017




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.



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

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

Bryan Abrams: Private Versace Collection – Fall 2017






Portrait of Bryan Abrams by Jessica Moh, Copyright 2017

Portrait of Bryan Abrams by Jessica Moh, Copyright 2017






Alexis Masino

Corey Fader

Elizabeth Beugg

Noa Baker

Amber Shi

Jinghong Cui

Joy Lewis

Karishma Sheth

Sharon Song

Rongrong Liu

Jessica Moh

Noel Zheng

Michael Heath

Linda Ruan

Marcus Tappan

Ria Vaidya


Makeup: Aysha Silagy


Models: Main Line Models & Talent


Sony Giusti

Agustin Maltese

Katie Shewell

Marium Ali

Dena Hertel

Katty Pena

Morgan Bailey

Annamarie Pepeta

Katie McCaffery

Sabrian Schneeman


To see more lab session photos from Upenn’s Photography & Fashion class, Fall 2017, click here


Also posted in Art, Blog, Current Events, Erotica, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Men, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn Photography, Women