Alberto Jimenez: Immortality

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Cousins

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Photography and Text by Alberto Jimenez, Copyright 2018

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Book Review

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What stood out to me in Susan Sontag’s On Photography was her message on the infinite power and authority photography has in modern society. Sontag explains how being photographed gives us a sense of being real because photography is capturing reality by freezing it. It is a way to make reality tangible because you can hold a photograph. She also mentions how photography is not only to preserve the past but also to deal with the present.

This image reminds me of photography preserving the past to deal with the present because I recently lost my cousin (female on the right) to cancer. I have a lot of wonderful memories with her, but I do not possess images of all memories; therefore, those memories that I have photographed does make reality tangible. To mourn the death of a loved one, I believe, I need to remember the good times. Seeing pictures like this one have the power to take me back to that point in time and remember the tastes, the smells, the love, and my cousin. It reinforces the fact that she was real and that the love I have for her is real.

Sontag explains that photography is so powerful that it gives us a glimpse of the unknown. It allows us to see something before experiencing it. Which, in turn, enables us to formulate a bias about an event or mirrored reality even before experiencing it. Photography pulls us into that event by activating our sense of sight. Once we have that, we can imagine what we could possibly hear, see, touch, and taste. With my image, although I experienced that event years ago, it still has the power to give me the ability to remember that experience. Sontag explains what I would define as pre-experience where by seeing an image, we can imagine the experience we would have in the reality portrayed by that image. I would add that a photograph also allows for a post-experience where unlike pre-experience where you imagine what an experience would be like, you remember the experience.

Overall, Susan Sontag’s On Photography is very informative. I learned a lot about photography and its history with being considered an art or not and photography’s difference with paintings. At times, it felt as Susan Sontag was taking me on a tour of an exhibit as she explains Arbus’s work. I feel like her explanation equipped me with the knowledge to truly appreciate a photograph. It opened my mind to the type of questions I should ask myself when inspecting a photograph. For example, when initially looking at Arbus’s work, I did not exactly understand the images. I knew they were portraits, but I did not think about any meaning behind this. As Sontag explains Arbus’s work as “reactive—reactive against gentility, against what is approved” (pg 44), I understood that explanation when reevaluating the portraits. Ultimately, On Photography allowed me to understand the immortality of images and the power photography holds. 

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About The Author: Alberto Jiminez is a Senior enrolled in the School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Alberto Jimenez, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/alberto-jimenez-robotics-2/

 

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Documentary, Engineering, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science, Student Life, UPenn Photography

Julia Chun: A Review of Susan Sontag’s Classic, On Photography

Photo: Julia Chun, Copyright 2018

Photo: Julia Chun, Copyright 2018

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Photography and Text by Julia Chun, Copyright 2018

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A Review of Susan Sontag’s Classic, On Photography

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Throughout the book, I felt that Sontag’s messages were quite heavy, as if she was warning me about the weight my act of photographing could have. She described the act of taking a picture as an act of non-intervention, aggression, possession, work, interpretation of reality, beautification, and truth-telling. I didn’t agree to and couldn’t possibly resonate to all the claims she made, difference in view which probably comes from our difference in professionalism as well as our personal views. But to someone so newly introduced to photography and in a stage caught up with taking a visually pleasant photo, the points she brought up were a timely reminder on the weight and implications of photography. 

Since I never had the intention of becoming a professional photographer, the purpose of every photo-shoot has been either for class or for my own satisfaction. I thought of it as a great opportunity to bring to life what I always pictured in my mind or a way of recording a fragment of my life using professional equipment I didn’t previously have access to. Its consequences were never heavy. But regardless of what my end goal was, I realized that some picture had to be captured in a certain way to fulfill my intention. Activists giving political speeches would be captured at the moment I felt best represented them, based on my subjective view of the matter. If I choose to take a picture of a particular moment, I am deciding to do so rather than taking an action to prevent something dangerous from happening or even asking my subjects to put themselves in the particular situation.

So although I may never grow to be a photographer whose pictures are used to let the citizens of the country reveal the horrors of war, while I continue to grow as a photographer aware of everything a picture could do, many of the points Susan Sontag made in the book will be relevant to me.

There were also points that just struck me, which made me happy to know that someone so professional also had the same experience in the journey as a photographer. “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed”. I always want to capture the best representation of each subject and I feel a strong sense of possession when I take a satisfying picture. Consider the picture below for instance.

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About The Author: Julia Chun is a computer science major enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Julia Chun, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/julia-chun-art-dance/

 

Posted in Art, Blog, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn: Photography Students, Women

Victoria Meng: Artist Statement

 

Photography and Artist Statement by Victoria Meng, Copyright 2018

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October 2011. I could contain the world within 8 megapixels with my first point and shoot camera: a small purple Nikon CoolPix. I was off on a school trip and my parents wanted me to capture every moment.

After a week in Washington D.C., my new photo gallery was not quite what anyone had expected. Sure, I visited famed monuments and attractions, the pride of our nation. But, my artistic vision did quite not reflect that. 50 photos, for example, were dedicated to the White House lawn, or at least a squirrel on the White House Lawn.

At the time, my eccentric view of the city was definitely not borne out of genius, but rather attention deficit. However, I do believe it embodies an important sentiment. The idea, that once in awhile, as we go through the motions of our chaotic lives, we should stop and look around. If you have the time and a hint of humor, the streets of any city can be brimming with life, excitement, and indeed squirrels.

I began this project, wandering through some of Philadelphia’s most iconic neighborhoods and tourist attractions, looking for things that were out of the ordinary. Instead, I found among the kaleidoscopic streets of our city, something extraordinary. I found, that for perhaps the first time since I was a seventh grader in Washington D.C., I was truly seeing.

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About The Author: Victoria Meng is a Sophomore enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Victoria Meng, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/victoria-meng-24-hours-philadelphia/

 

Posted in Architecture, Blog, Documentary, Environment, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Travel, UPenn Photography, Women

Karen Liao: Homecoming

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Photography and Text by Karen Liao, Copyright 2018

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HOMECOMING

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Throughout the semester, I have been exploring the topics of physical and mental health in different populations through my photos, and I wanted to bring all this together in a project involving a community most familiar to me—Penn. As students, we are inundated with demands of classes, activities, meetings and seemingly endless amounts of work. The competition can be fierce and, the environment can be stressful. With this, there has been increasing attention on the importance of mental and physical well-being of the Penn student body. It is essential for students to find relaxation in something away from the work, to provide relief and maintain well-being. This being said, everyone finds comfort in a different environment, activity, or interaction. My project explores each person’s return to his or her area of relaxation—their unique definition of home.

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About The Author: Karen Liao is a Junior enrolled in the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Karen Liao, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/karen-liao-fresh-perspective-photography/

 

 

Posted in Blog, Documentary, Environment, Health Care, News, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science, Student Life, UPenn

Alberto Jimenez: Robotics

 

Photography and Text by Alberto Jimenez, Copyright 2018

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ROBOTICS

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As a student in Robotics, I appreciate the changes technology brings to society. I have seen the world change as we continuously develop new ways to get things done. One of my favorite time periods in history is the Industrial Revolution, because I believe it was the most pivotal. It amazes me how the introduction of machinery dramatically changed every aspect of human life and lifestyles. From human development to impact on natural resources, the effects have been profound. I believe we are now in a new revolution where robotics will cause a turning point in life just like the Industrial Revolution did.

Robotics is the beautiful combination of my favorite three subject: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I spent most of my undergraduate time mastering the art of mechanical fabrication. From machining, laser cutting, and 3D printing to welding and casting, I have created various projects that showcase what I have learned. I sub-matriculated into the Robotics program my junior year in college and that is when I was exposed to the integration of the three subjects. I started building circuits and writing code that integrated with my mechanical systems. My portfolio follows my trajectory from building inanimate mechanical objects to building smart robots.

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About The Author: Alberto Jiminez is a Senior enrolled in the School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Alberto Jimenez, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/alberto-jimenez-whats-now-2017/

 

Posted in Art, Engineering, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography