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Julia Chun: Aesthetic in the Non-Aesthetic

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Photography, Text and Video by Julia Chun, Copyright 2017

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AESTHETIC IN THE NON-AESTHETIC

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As a photographer, it is always a joy to be able to photograph aesthetic objects or models that fill the frame without much pre nor post processing. The process of depicting an inherently flat and mundane object in a visually appealing way puts much more weight on the photographer’s part. However challenging that may be, it is a privilege as an artist to be able to freely picture any subject as he or she wants to and produce artwork that can shine a new light on the way the subject is commonly perceived.

I decided to challenge myself by photographing an object that requires extensive micromanagement in placement of the object, lighting, and editing. Bringing back a hobby I used to enjoy back in middle school, I photographed variations of a Rubik’s cube.

The neon colorings of the cubes were visual cacophony and the objects were rather flat. It was difficult to incorporate ambient lighting or environmental features that I heavily relied on in most of my previous photo shoots. Thus, I tried to step away from focusing on the given visuals and bring out the various compositional elements that their shapes had to offer.

For some pictures, I wanted to really emphasize the shapes each cube contains and those that are formed when the cubes are placed together. All shapes I would be watching out for when searching for compositional elements were present except for a circle, which I was able to add into the scene by stacking cubes in a cyclic shape or introducing new objects such as a wine glass.

For others, I wanted to depict cubes as good aesthetics. People immediately respond to solving cubes and understanding mathematical theories behind the equations as hard, difficult to approach, and not even nerdy. I hoped to create a picture using cubes that portrays them as objects much more soft and pleasing, which is not frequently done by people who enjoy solving cubes.

Both purposes were served by heavy editing in color filtering and changing the lightings. Many visual effects such as reflection, gloss, and shades were incorporated in the pictures, and most of the pictures feel almost graphic in their depiction, deviating from the objects’ actual colors.

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Portrait of Julia Chun by Karen Liao, Copyright 2017

Portrait of Julia Chun by Karen Liao, Copyright 2017

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About The Author: Julia Chun is a computer science major enrolled in the School of Arts & Science, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019.

This entry was posted in Blog, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn Photography, Women.

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