Week 4

Happy Birthday to me! It’s been a busy week.

The photo reflection was a good way to start the week, because it got me thinking about my own relationship with photography.

For my superhero themed assignment, I did the one not created by me, The Life of a Superhero.

My first Visual Assignment had to be related to the superhero i created, so I did “Whats in my bag” for my character, Little Rascal. It was 2.5 points.

My second Visual Assignment was the “Poetry Art” assignment for 3.5 points.

I tackled the Superhero Photography  analysis towards the end of the week, and I focused on the CW show Supergirl.

The Photoblitz was a lot of fun, and it got pretty personal.

As for my daily creates, I took a look at my defining moment:

cast some cool shadows:

and captured confusion in an image:

I’m really feeling the workload as of right now. With my birthday on Wednesday, a paper due on Thursday, and an exam on Friday, it was a long, strenuous week. But, I’m prevailing.

 

 

 

Photoblitz

This assignment was a lot of fun. I liked how personal it was.

The list I got was:

  • Make a photo of something upside down that is never seen that way.
  • Your most prized possession.
  • Make a photo containing or suggesting fire and/or smoke
  • Take a photo of two things that do not belong together.
  • Take a picture of an object that is a metaphor for your learning style
  • Take a photograph of a spinning object, frozen motion or blurred.
  • Make an image that represents hope.

I started a 4:44

For my upside-down picture, I flipped my Eiffel Tower magnet upside-down. While the magnet was easy to flip, you’d never see the actual Eiffel Tower like that.

Photoblitz

As for my prized possession, I took a picture of the framed, pressed flower by my bed. The flower is one that my friend had put in my hair the day I met my boyfriend.

Photoblitz

For the photo containing fire, I took a picture of myself lighting the candle by my bed, to give the image some purpose and interesting perspective.

Photoblitz

For the picture of things that don’t belong together, I took a picture of Benadryl where a mug would normally be in my Keurig, to contrast something that makes you tired with something that wakes you up.

Photoblitz

For the metaphor for my learning style, I wrote the tongue twister “she sells sea shells by the sea shore” repeatedly on notebook paper and took a picture of that, because I learn best by writing things out, but I memorize best by saying things out loud.

Photoblitz

The spinning image was a challenge, because I don’t have anything that’s made to spin, so I had to get creative. I took a picture of myself spinning in the mirror.

Photoblitz

The image to represent hope was tough too, because the prompt was so vague, but I ended up staging my copy of “We Should All Be Feminists” next to a sign that reads “she thought she could and so she did”, for a nice feminist message.

Photoblitz

I finished up at 5:04

Photoblitz

 

Superhero Photography

For my superhero photography analysis, I went straight to the CW’s Supergirl. Flawed writing aside, the show is visually striking, and includes many classic superhero shots.

One of them is the image below.

A classic shot, this image shows Kara ripping away her street clothes to reveal her Supergirl costume – a clear example of a well chosen moment. The selection is powerful, clearly. The subject is Supergirl herself, depicting the line between her secret identity and her public identity. This also creates a sense of contrast between her lives. There’s a solid use of balance as well, in the sense that Kara is centered in the image, with negative space on either side of her.

I also looked at this image:

I wanted to get a shot of her flying, since that’s another classic superhero shot. This one makes bold use of color, as do many of the shots of her in costume, with the red and blue costume and red lipstick. The lighting is also significant here; the way it gives her hair a golden glow characterizes her as good, almost angelic. Another clear choice is the perspective – the close up, slightly high angle gives it the feel of an action shot.

The fun thing about superhero photography is you can play into tropes without it being overly cheesy, because they’re so appropriate. When your subject has a clearly defined morality, you have a responsibility to depict them as powerful and righteous.

Poetry Art

For my other Visual Assignment, I decided to do “Poetry Art”. I liked the idea of doing a visual assignment that wasn’t photography, and I love poetry (even though I can’t really write it).

My poem poster ended up as:

Harlem

I picked Langston Hughes’ “Harlem” because it’s one of my favorites, and it’s a very visual poem. The images conjured are very vivid, and lent themselves to the pictures I incorporated. I also enjoy the visual effect of the italics – a writing choice that makes a bold statement visually.

I tried to make it visually interesting without being too tacky, because I didn’t want to trivialize the poem. It’s still a little cheesy, and I feel kinda bad about that, but I was limited by the availability of free images.

What’s in Little Rascal’s Backpack?

I had to connect one of my visual assignments to the character I created. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that, considering the fact that she’s not real and I can’t photograph her, but then I happened across the “What’s in your bag” assignment. I realized I could document what would be in Little Rascal’s bag, so that’s what I did.

Little Rascal's Backpack

I gave her a backpack, because she needs to be able to carry her laptop around with her (for movie watching purposes). She has her headphones, to drown out other people’s thoughts. She has her wallet, because functioning adults need wallets. She has a Wonder Woman themed reusable bag for the sake of irony, and also to be environmentally friendly. She has a sweatshirt for when it gets chilly, the Silver Dagger her mother gave her, a lighter because it pisses her sister off when she smokes, and sunglasses to protect her identity. She also has a copy of the Dictator’s Handbook, because she’s fascinated by the way people can use rhetoric rather than superpowers to control the minds of others.

This was pretty fun. It was a good exercise for getting inside the head of my character. The challenge was being limited to my own belongings. For instance, I wanted to give her an iPod, but I realized I left mine at my parents’ house, so I couldn’t. You’ll notice I also had to use a kitchen knife as a dagger, because I didn’t just have a dagger lying around, but that had to be included.

The Life of a Superhero

For my superhero photography assignment, I decided to go with “The Life of a Superhero”, mainly because the only other option was the assignment I created. I figured I could handle this using a photo editor and a grocery store stock photo.

It took me a couple tries, but I wound up with:

deadpool at the grocery store

This was actually more difficult than I expected, because I didn’t anticipate the challenge that would by the physicality of superheroes.

On my first try, I pulled a stock photo of a line full of people at the store (different from this one), and tried to insert Captain America into the line. I thought it would work well, because Captain America was balling his fists, and I could make it look like he was carrying a basket. The issue was, Captain America’s physicality was so different from the tired, slouched man I was trying to replace him with, that there was no way for me to do it without the man underneath being visible.

I realized that I wasn’t equipped to make either parts of that image work, so I found a different stock photo with some empty room at the end of the line. I also found a transparent image of Deadpool where he is leaning the opposite direction of the people in line, which was advantageous for two reasons. 1) I had more freedom in positioning him, and 2) I was able to have him lean against the shelves.

The cropping job still isn’t perfect, but the software I was using, Canva, doesn’t allow me to do a non-rectangular crop, so I tried to get it as close as possible. I think it came out pretty well.

 

Thoughts on Photography

I’m not a photographer. I am trying to take more pictures – it’s actually been a recent focus of mine. I realized how glad I’ll be when I’m older to have the memories, so I’m trying to document more. This a casual endeavor though, not an artistic one.

I have some friends who are serious photographers, and I see how much energy they put into it. There’s the shot itself, the equipment, and the editing afterwards. I understand visual storytelling in a theoretical sense because I’ve taken a few film studies classes, but I don’t have a lot of technical experience. Mostly it’s a result of never pursuing photography seriously.

I got an Instax camera for my birthday, which is a great example of form over function. They’re user-friendly, convenient and cute, but the quality isn’t great. However, interestingly enough,  using it has actually pushed me to think more about my photographs. I’m used to my phone camera, which makes it really easy to take clear pictures, but when the quality isn’t as good, it takes more effort to produce a good result. I manged to get a couple nice ones of my boyfriend – I found the posed pictures came out much better than the candids.

Going forwards, I think it’ll be important for me to pay more attention to lighting, staging, and the balance of my photographs, both for the sake of this class and for my personal pictures.

Week 3

Happy Friday! It’s been a long week.

This week’s work felt somewhat overwhelming, but I think that’s because A) writing feels like more work than just about anything else and B) I wanted to make sure the content I was writing was good enough not to embarrass me, especially because these characters we created aren’t going away.

I started the week with my analysis of Ink-Stained Amazons and the Very First Superman Cartoon. I found that to be a very good foundation for the superhero theme, and almost wished we had looked at that earlier.

Before diving into the superhero writing assignments, I warmed up with one of my additional ones, which was “Monologue of  a Household Tool”, which was 4.5 stars. I wrote it about my Keurig, and I think it was pretty funny.

I then tackled the “A Day in the Life of a Superhero” assignment, which was worth 2 stars. I had fun with that one, but it was exhausting. Creative writing takes a lot out of, that’s why I don’t do it very often. I did appreciate the freedom I had with it, though.

For my last writing assignment I did the “Haiku About You” assignment for 2.5 points. That one I really liked, partially because it was less writing, and partially because I find it easy to write about myself.

I put off the Character Dossier assignment, because I wanted to talk to my boyfriend about it. He’s really into Dungeons and Dragons, so I figured he might be helpful when it comes to creating characters. His major input was that names carry a lot of power, so choose wisely. I’m pretty happy with the character I created. I wanted to go a non-traditional route and explore the concept of a hero who doesn’t really care about right v. wrong, but just happened to end up on the side of right. This manifested as a sidekick who fights for good because her sister is a superhero who cares enough for both of them.

I also almost forgot the Shape of Stories assignment, but thankfully I caught myself.  I really enjoyed Vonnegut’s speech, and the conclusions I drew when I applied it to the Very First Superman Cartoon.

As for my Daily Creates, I did:

A juxtaposition of old and new

My ideal superpower (which I realized in hindsight might be a little insensitive, but my roommate thought it was really funny)

and a celebration of International Dot Day

I’m so tired. This week took a lot out of me. Hopefully next week will be a little less exhausting.

The Shape of Stories

I came to a very interesting realization when I applied the Very First Superman Cartoon to Vonnegut’s The Shape of Stories. The cartoon fit the first model almost perfectly… if you consider Lois Lane to be the main character.

To make this parallel work, I’m excluding the introduction where they describe Superman’s origins and his powers, because that’s not essential to the plot anyways. We start out with Clark and Lois working for the newspaper. Lois’ status is above average; she’s competent and plucky and seemingly well-respected at the paper. She confidently claims the story for her own, and goes out to investigate. In the process of investigating, she gets captured, and her status falls to one of great misfortune. However, when Superman swoops in an saves her her status is positive again, and grows even higher when she writes a phenomenal article that she gets credit for.

Superman’s status only waivers slightly, if you consider him to be in real danger while fighting. It’s Lois that we’re worried about, and who dictates the emotional journey while watching the cartoon.

In conclusion? Kurt Vonnegut proves that Lois Lane is the main character of Superman.

Introducing…Little Rascal

Darla has the annoying little sister thing down to a science. It helps that her older counterpart, Eloise, is so easy to rile up. Stealing her clothes and bugging her friends would’ve been bad enough, but when you factor in that since they were kids Darla could read Ellie’s mind…it’s incredible Ellie still puts up with her.

You see, Darla and Ellie are actually demi-gods. Their mother is the Greek goddess Dike, goddess of justice and order. When Ellie found out about this, she decided to dedicate herself to the greater good, and use her innate sense of right and wrong, super-human agility, and super strength to help people.

When Darla found out, she didn’t much care. Her apathy balanced out Ellie’s passion – on a cosmic level. Besides, it was hard for her, especially as a child, to see her mind-reading ability as a way to help anyone but herself. When she discovered that with enough concentration she could also control minds, she went a little wild. She got in a lot of trouble in high school, and fought with their father almost constantly. That’s when Ellie stepped in. When Darla was 17, Ellie made her an offer – she could come stay with her sister, but only if she joined her in fighting crime. That’s how the superhero-sidekick duo of The Archer of Justice and Little Rascal was born. It worked out pretty well. Though Darla was uninterested, she was scrappy, and the silver dagger their mother gave her for her 13th birthday can only pierce the skin of someone who “deserves” it, so Ellie doesn’t have to worry about her going rogue. Plus, once discovering Darla’s allergy to Rose Gold, Ellie started sporting a Rose Gold headband that kept her sister out of her head.

Darla considered abandoning the endeavor when she reached 18, but found that she would miss the opportunity to get under Ellie’s skin too much. Someone needs to keep her self-righteousness in check, and rent in Seattle is expensive.

Darla’s sidekick identity was inspired by her love of movies. As a kid, it was a relief for her to be able to care about and follow the stories of the characters without knowing what they were thinking. Little Rascals was particularly well-loved due to the character with her same name. Growing up, Ellie would call Darla a little rascal, and Darla enjoyed it so much, it became her pseudonym.

Now she works as a movie critic by day, begrudging sidekick by night.