Sunday, January 22, 2012

the crepuscular theory of light & other hooting owls...

Jim Richardson.
It is really exciting to see every one's blog sites turn on and begin to glow. I am reminded of watching and waiting for fireflies to glow in the darkness on humid Missouri summer nights spent on my grandparents' farm. It's a fond memory and at the same time a prompt for me that we are all about to begin a bit of a journey together. The anticipation and giddiness of children racing through the yard, zig-zagging in and out of the trees, as if on pause until their eyes catch a flicker. It is that charge one feels in the suspense of waiting for something that is so rousing and often underrated.

So, as I sit back and watch the flickers, I am realizing that so many of you have even actually posted something already!! Your consciousness of what you see everyday is about to go from latent glimmer to smolder and hopefully beyond. This is profoundly cool for me to watch, and not to mention a bit contagious. I guess I figured that it was probably a good time to give you a preview of the actual journal assignment and to give you a few teasers for the days when you could really use some inspiration or for forward thinking.  Consider this entity--your blog,  the evidence, of your attention to a photographic ecology of sorts.  I am asking you to look around you and notice your interaction with your visual environment...

Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.
Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.
Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.
Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.

The journal requirement for this course is an extremely important component in learning about how we see the world. Everything that we see or are exposed to effects us, sometimes noticed, other times it is more subconscious. Making photographs is directly fed by what we like & dislike, what we do, where we go, what we see, etc. and our ability to be open and expressive. The journal will become a process book for your life/photography and will guide us into becoming more aware of what we think about everyday--VISUALLY. By the end of the semester when we look back on this record we will be able to see how much growth has taken place as well as have some technical notes and ideas to hang-on to for further pursuits. Ideally it is a place in which you can document your thoughts, observations, etc. however, the purposes it can serve are unlimited. To name a few:  

•photographs (serious ones)
•photographs (more personal)
•tear sheets (other folks photographs)
•internet searches
•breadcrumb trails... 
•observe/document the world around you
•record visual or cultural experiences
•notes on exposures & light conditions
•notes from the darkroom
•notes from class
•notes from critiques
•notes from technical demonstrations
•make a scrapbook
•talk to your professor
•get things off your mind that you might not want to say out loud
•collect postcards, magazine clippings, tickets, anything you are interested in.
•do research on further ideas about the the world of photography
•collect current events and the photographs we live through every day in the media.
•pretty much anything goes...!

One expectation that I have for your journal/blogs it that I want you to examine one new artist that you didn’t previously know about prior to now each week as a minimum. You should have 16 artists by the end of the semester.

When in doubt or if you are at a loss you can choose from some of my questions/ideas below...

        Stan’s Seven Deadly ?’s
Here are a few brain teasers that were presented to me by one of my professors. Feel free to expand upon these questions in your journal if you need some ideas to get the ball rolling...

•What is your personal definition of photography?
•What is the difference between a snapshot & a photograph?
•What is a cliché? Name 20.
•What is the most important thing in your life?
•What is your greatest strength/weakness?
•What is your greatest strength/weakness as a photographer?
•Where would you like to be as a photographer?
•What is keeping you from getting there?
•Complete the following sentence until you run out of things to say: 
         "If I could make a set of photographs, they would.............."

You could pick a place or a thing and photograph it once a week, once a day, once a something, for the duration of the semester.

You could also take a photo challenge to get you looking around... here two examples that were turned in by students... (authors unknown-my apologies...)

Last but not least, I will most certainly throw out some questions, links, or other little delicacies that you are more than welcome to interact with me over.  It is my hope that through this process journal you will find solace in seeing each other's attempts at being intentional with your photographic explorations and begin to crave the input that can only come from the eyeballs of others.

Most importantly, please be respectful in your interactions with one another and tell the truth. If you choose to post something deeply personal or painful you have officially been warned that the responses you receive (or even the lack thereof) may not feel great. Please only disclose what you are mature enough to receive public commentary regarding. These are REAL-LIVE!! blogs, not thoughts in a vacuum.  This makes it all the more interesting, and all the more close to home at times.    

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