Heads Held High: The Work of Jamel Shabazz by Aliana Ho

Photo: Jamal Shabazz

Text by Aliana Ho, Copyright 2021

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Heads Held High: The Work of Jamal Shabazz

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In looking at the work of Jamel Shabazz, an aura of confidence and righteousness radiates out of his images. There is no doubt that each subject is aware, and focused, on the camera, and giving a show to the audience, with chests puffed and heads high. His work radiates a certain something, and is best explained by Fab 5 Freddy’s introduction to Shabazz’s book Back in the Days: “If among the many emotions you feel while viewing these photos, cool comes to mind, here’s why – back then, cool was all about having the right flavor and savoir faire. Such a style blended a certain brand of rebelliousness with a casual nonchalance…” (pg 4). This “cool”-ness is captured with grace, style, and a sense of excellence in all of his work.

Shabazz’s image “Partners”, taken in 1999, is a prime example of his ability to capture the suave nature of his subjects with pride. The two subjects of this image are a classic snapshot of time. The late 90’s aesthetic oozes from the color and framing of the two men, in the flexed muscles and unfazed eyes. “Payback is a bitch” stares you down as the gladiator man at the bottom of the frame looks like he could give a little wink if you looked hard enough. The warmth of their skin tones against the tiled walls feels like summer time, as the gaze of the man on the right pierces through the heat. The use of the flash creates a distinct outline of a shadow behind each man and produces a punchy contrast, forcing the eyes on his subjects, and the gaze of the subjects back to you. 

According to his publisher’s book synopsis for Shabazz’s fourth book, Seconds of My Life (2007), he was “introduced to photography by his father, who kept a signed copy of Leonard Freed’s Black in White America on the family’s coffee table” at the age of nine, and from there on out, he felt a strong sense of obligation to capture and portray “his community and the people who gave it life” (Shabazz, 2007). This sense of obligation to community comes across quite beautifully in his images, especially in the ways his subjects are posed. In speaking from my very limited and novice experiences and perspective, I can see a mutual understanding between photographer and subject that produces respect, pride, and self assuredness in his images. Shabazz knows his subjects well enough for them to trust in his vision, and to know that he is capturing them the way they see themselves.

The personal and intimate work of Jamel Shabazz is inspiring to me and my desire to immortalize the beauty and confidence of my community and my friends. Despite there being limited academic literature on Shabazz’s work, I find the work speaks for itself. The merit is in the body language of his subjects, often in public settings, that appear staged but in an organic, comfortable manner. Overall, Shabazz’s prowess has fantastically captured the pride and joy of existing in community as a form of resistance and survival. 

Citations:

Fab 5 Freddy. Back in the Days, by Jamel Shabbaz, PowerHouse Book, 2001.

Shabazz, Jamel, and Lauri Lyons. Seconds of My Life. PowerHouse Books, 2007. 

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About The Author: Aliana Ho is an Anthropology major, Visual Studies & Health Studie Minor student at Haverford College, Haverford, Pa. Class of 2022. To see additional articles by Aliana, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/aliana-ho-love-letters/

Lipi Paladugu: Lee Friedlander in Review

Photo: Lee Friedlander. New York City 1965

Text by Lipi Paladugu, Copyright 2021

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Lee Friedlander 

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 Lee Norman Friedlander was born on July 14th, 1934 in Aberdeen, WA. He gained his education at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and then moved to New York where he focused on taking pictures of the American social landscape. Friedlander is primarily a street photographer, and his images are recognized for being candid portraits of urban settings. Many of his photographs capture overlapping light and reflections in windows. Friedlander claims that his photographs aren’t premediated. Rather, he works to spontaneously capture whatever is ahead of him. His images draw out a tension between people and things in a street by making them all feel equal in the image. Friedlander’s images have been curated and published multiple times. Notably, he was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s New Documents exhibition which was curated by John Szarkowski in 1967. His most famous published work includes The American Monument (1976), America by Car (2010) and Self Portrait (2000), which was a series of self-portraits he started in the 1960’s. The image we are looking at was also published in 1978 in Lee Friedlander, Photographs. 

The image, titled New York City was created in 1965. It is a black and white gelatin silver print. It measures 17cm by 25cm. While it isn’t a super small print, the dark shadow on the right, and the dark wall at the top half of the print, in some ways makes the image feel smaller. There is a lot going on in these darker areas, but we are still drawn toward the ground, which takes less that 50% of the entire composition. The size effectively accomplishes the goal of placing things within the right proportions. 

Gelatin silver prints were extremely popular during this time, especially for artistic projects such as this because of the high level of detail that it revealed. It consists of a layer of paper, a layer of baryta, and a layer of gelatin. The gelatin layer contains the light-sensitive silver compounds. After it is exposed to the negative and developed in a chemical bath, the image is relatively permanent and has a smooth surface. Silver gelatin prints were created and popularized as an alternative to platinum prints. The silver prints were first introduced in the late 1800s and experimented with by Alfred Stieglitz. However, it wasn’t until World War I and later, when platinum papers became harder to obtain, that silver prints became more popular. 

The detail in this image is extremely interesting to the viewer- from the stains on the ground and the speckled walls to the clean lines of the stars on the flag in the store window, there is a lot to see, but it isn’t overwhelming either. The use of black and white is also very impactful here. The shadow on the right becomes even more mysterious because it conceals something within it while still staying in frame. Also, the iconography of the flag is emphasized. Even without color, the flag is easily recognizable, and muting the bright red, blue of the flag into grayscale equalizes the power balance of all the subjects in the frame. 

Of the five categories that John Szarkowski discusses in his book The Photographers Eye, the frame(s) in this image are most significant in the image’s composition as it tells us what Friedlander wanted us to see in this scene. Frame asks the photographer what they should include and what they should reject. Szarkowski also says that the frame “isolates unexpected juxtapositions… The edge of the photograph dissects familiar forms and shows their unfamiliar fragment” (70). The most striking part of the frame is that the right side of the frame is almost entirely covered by a shadow. Out of the shadow, a single foot sticks out. While the foot is extremely well lit, the rest of the body is hidden in the shadow (an unfamiliar fragment) which draws intrigue to the foot. Within the image, the shadow on the right, the wall in the top half, and the left and bottom edges of the photo frame the well-lit sidewalk. The sidewalk becomes the focus of the image despite being the least “eventful” place in the image. The foot is the only object visible on the sidewalk in this framed area, which further highlights its presence. The framing allows us to deduce that the image is about the foot walking on the sidewalk- not about the store in the back or the owner of the feet. When paired with the title of the image “New York City” and Friedlander’s background, it becomes even more apparent that we are looking at the candid movements of people through the street. Another key framing in this image is the American flag in the store window. Despite not being able to see all sides of the window, there is a framing with the border of the image. As New York City is one of the representative cities on America, this position of the flag alongside the street is very poignant. The flag is above the street, but also not framed within the center of the image. This positioning makes us know we’re in American streets, but also that this is about the people more than it is about the place. In addition, in most representations of the American flag or interactions with it, the flag is hoisted high above everyone else, and people stand still, facing the flag, in some form of patriotic performance. In this image, there is movement parallel to the flag, not toward it. The framing of the image feels purposeful in highlighting this.

On initial glance, I was drawn to this image because the way the objects in the image were placed was not something I had really seen before. The American flag stood out easily but soon after my eyes dropped to the large sidewalk. It wasn’t until after I’d noticed these things that I saw the foot on the right. It could have to do with the way people read in English- from left to right. To me, the image feels like it’s divided into three sections which is a result of the framing. First we have the sidewalk, then the storefront, and lastly the foot and shadow on the right. Friedlander loved to juxtapose people and things in this manner to comment on urban scenes, and I feel the equal importance of all different parts of the image. While I am naturally intrigued by who the foot belongs too, I also feel like it doesn’t actually matter- it’s just representative of any dweller in the city. In addition, the (mostly) empty sidewalk shows its wear and tear, and how constantly it is used by people in the city. This is a striking contrast to the flag in the storefront that is shielded from the outside air and doesn’t appear to be used- it’s just meant to be looked at. 

In many ways, this image feels timeless to me. The icons in place are easily recognizable. Most images of the city are busy and overwhelming, but this image doesn’t feel like that to me. There is mystery and it calls for intrigue, and the viewer wants to see more.

Works Cited

“Lee Friedlander.” Artnet, www.artnet.com/artists/lee-friedlander/. 

“Lee Friedlander.” Fraenkel Gallery, 29 Apr. 2021, fraenkelgallery.com/artists/lee-friedlander. 

Szarkowski, John. The Photographer’s Eye. Museum of Modern Art, 2007. 

Wagner, Sarah S. Gelatin Silver Prints, National Gallery of Art, www.nga.gov/research/online-editions/alfred-stieglitz-key-set/practices-and-processes/gelatin-silver-prints.html. 

About The Author: Lipi Paladugu is a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Class of 2021. Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. To access additional articles by Lipi Paladugu, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/lipi-paladugu-light-reflected/

 

Sharon Wang: William Wegman in Review

Photo: William Wegman

Text by Sharon Wang, Copyright 2021

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William Wegman in Review

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William Wegman, an American painter, photographer and videographer, who is primarily known for his photography and videography work featuring his dogs. Wegman was born in Holyoke, MA in 1943 and grew up with an interest in art. He pursued further involvement in the art world and attended Massachusetts College of Art in painting and received a MFA in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Wegman started off his art career as a painter and officially transitioned into photography in the 1970s. Wegman’s first muse that got him into photography was his Weimaraner called Man Ray. Man Ray “volunteered” himself into Wegman’s frame, as Wegman remembered : “he always seemed to want to be in the space that I was activating with these objects I was photographing. So I did take his picture and figured out ways to include him now and then, and he was always very happy when that happened.” Since then, it has impacted Wegman’s life and career entirely and left us with these compelling works that portray an intimate relationship between him and his dogs with a pinch of funness. Man Ray was the central figure in most of Wegman’s creations during the 70s and early 80s for multiple videotapes and photographs. After Man Ray died in the year of 1982, Wegman continued to work with some new Weimaraners and their descendants several years after. Wegman was renowned for the creations he had done in collaboration with his Weimaraners. Besides his incredible work, he devotes himself to “being fun” and the pleasure is not only reflected in his work, but made him being featured on Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live.

Handsome, a print by William Wegman at Haverford, photographs Wegman’s Weimaraner leisurely lying on the hand of someone unknown to the viewers. Compared to the size of the hand, it is not hard to conclude that the Weimaraner featured in this photograph is still a puppy. The relaxing posture and the half-sleepy eyes communicate a sense of trust from the puppy. As Wegman described his relationship with his dogs, “my dogs are happy because I engage them very fully. I don’t leave home without them.” The intimacy and mutual trust is announced in Handsome, and reinforced by the warm tone. The general theme color is toned to be more bright and yellow, producing a mellow environment that resembles the comfortableness one would often experience when being at home. The family-like color choice extends the affection between Wegman and his puppy into almost the love of family members. Additionally, Handsome was photographed in a setting that matches the color of the subject, — a light brown, camel color, with a pinch of yellow. The consistency in the color with the almost square framing of Handsome give the viewer a simple, but stable and soothing impression when appreciating this photograph. 

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About The Author:  Sharon Wang recently finished her sophomore year at Haverford College, Haverford, Pa. To see additional articles by Sharon Wang, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/sharon-wang-traveling-under-the-pandemic/

 

Anthony Colagreco: It Takes One to Know One

It Takes One to Know One. Poetry by Anthony Colagreco, Copyright 2021

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Anthony Colagreco meeting with a fellow private investigator in Paris, summer of 2014. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

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About The Author: Anthony Colagreco is a master massage therapist and private investigator who enjoys writing poetry during his spare time. He also is an assistant and advisor to Tony Ward Studio. To access additional articles by Anthony Colagreco, click here:https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/poetry/

 

The Future Of Education: How New Technologies Will Affect The Way We Learn

Professor Tony Ward Lecturing at Haverford College
 

Text by Artur Meyster, Copyright 2021

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The Future Of Education: How New Technologies Will Affect The Way We Learn

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During the coronavirus lockdown, organizations face a challenging situation. Since they needed to close their offices, most couldn’t operate. However, several leaned on tech professionals and new technologies to survive. Because remote work became the new normal, the way we live, work, and learn has changed. Tech tools like smartphones and laptops are now a must-have, and the need for technical skills has increased.

Day after day, more companies are investing in emerging tech inventions not only to improve their processes but to offer better products and services. In the education sector, e-learning is leaving traditional education behind. However, many other new technologies are reinventing teaching and learning. If you want to know how the future of education will look like, you should read this article. It will provide you with a better idea of how new technologies will affect the education sector. 

Video-based Learning

In the digital era, video-assisted teaching is playing an essential role in making students feel engaged. Several companies have implemented it to enhance their courses and provide even better services. Video-based learning enables companies to analyze offered curricula and set new strategies to improve their teaching methods. 

Video-based learning makes the learning process much more enjoyable. Everyone can have fun while playing and learning. For example, Youtube Kids is a top-rated app that almost every kid loves. Since young children can watch visually appealing videos, learn new songs, and play, learning while playing will no longer be challenging.

Other companies like Udacity offer excellent video-assisted coding courses for those who seek to break into the tech world. Its courses are very engaging and enable students to repeat every lesson as many times as they want. If a particular lesson becomes a challenge, you can watch it several times until you feel you’re able to move on. 

Video-based learning will shape the future of education because it helps companies provide more personalized services. Students can learn faster and provide even better results. Video-assisted programs also give individuals schedule flexibility. For that reason, no matter how busy your schedule is, you’ll always have time to learn. After all, who hasn’t learned how to repair something by watching a five-minute Youtube video? 

Online Classrooms

Cloud computing is taking online education to a whole new level. Years ago, if you weren’t able to attend a class, you probably needed to ask your classmates what the teacher said and taught. However, with online classrooms, education is becoming more accessible. Online classrooms enhance the interaction between students and teachers. By simplifying teaching and learning, you can set up classes in only minutes. Furthermore, communication isn’t a barrier, and you can send updates to parents or any individual in real-time.

Online classrooms also make providing feedback much more comfortable. Teachers can store frequently used comments, and, as a result, providing fast and personalized responses isn’t a struggle. Online classrooms provide organizations with data security. Hence, no matter what they need to keep protected, they can stay calm and focus on the important thing—reinventing the market. 

The increasing demand for online platforms like Google Classrooms has encouraged organizations to hunt for tech professionals with software engineering and cloud computing skills. Therefore, if you’re looking to attract employers’ attention, you should consider becoming a software engineer. According to Bootcamp Rankings, there are over 19,200 open job listings and 1,000 hiring companies.

Artificial Intelligence: the Key to Personalized Education

These days, artificial intelligence is transforming everything, from mobile applications to manufacturing procedures and learning. Personalized education is key to increase students’ engagement. Hence, many companies have invested vast amounts of money in AI and machine learning to offer more customized services. 

Personalized education wouldn’t be possible without the help of data scientists. Consequently, companies are offering exceptional salaries and perks to skilled candidates. After all, they can analyze and interpret gathered information to meet students’ needs.

AI chatbots are also playing an important role in education. By automating administrative tasks like grading, the job of teachers is now more comfortable. AI chatbots can also track student performance. Consequently, teachers and companies can adjust the curriculum provided to meet the requirements of any student.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, the need for digital tools will grow in the next decade. In that case, if you seek to stay relevant, you should get familiar with new tech inventions. Also, more companies will invest in tech to improve in-class and out-of-class experiences. As a result, education will become much more engaging and comfortable. Traditional education will probably become obsolete in the following years. Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go before that happens.

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About The Author: Artur Meyster is the founder of Career Karma.  To access additional articles by this author, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/career-karma/