Reality Hovers High
I and my partner decided to base our photography project on a school year book which challenges the everyday by defying the typical representation of school photographs. In order to establish this we decided to follow the typical presentation of an american high school yearbook where every student is given a label as a result of how fellow students and teachers identify them by; for example the most silliest student in the year will consequently be named as the class joker however by defying this through photography we will take two sets of photographs where one portrays the class joker as a normal student smiling at the camera like a typical school portrait and then the other set depicting the class jokern in a extreme horrific manner almost assembling the joker from the batman movie, the dark knight rises.
The everyday vs reality:
To challenge the everyday we will focus on representing how our perception of one another and labelling can conceal reality whereby a person may not live up to their given identity but become the opposite of it. Furthermore we will incorporate our work with the influences of the typography and stylizing photography techniques, which as a result when combined together, centres on cinematic lighting and reworking the photographs through, in our case photoshop. We also did some research on american commercial photographer, Dave Lachapelle as we want our photographs to look extreme and quite unsettling at the same time in order to portray the student’s extreme transformation from the everyday to ‘reality’. Moreover our website has to intertwine with our photos therefore the title of our website/ school will be called ‘Reality Hovers High’. We plan to not give much away on our homepage as we want to surprise people once they click on each student’s photograph as our website has a slight dark and mysterious feel to it thus predominantly why our webpage will consist of minimum overdetailed designs. Moreover, to add to the ambient feel of the webpage we will be adding a sinister track in the background to emphasize the mysterious feel to the website
In our third week lecture we discussed how photography shapes memories as well as studying how Marita Sturken depicts various examples in his text. She begins off by explaining how our memories are personified by objects, one of being images. From what I learnt in this week is that photographs are what help us keep our memories close to us from our childhood, memorable events in the past and people who have died. However photographs can also aid those who have no recognition of the past but whether or not memories are forgotten photographs are what keep these memories alive as they are a perminent figure of events that have occurred in the past .
Nevertheless our memories tend to change as we get older as Freud explains (p22-23) and can play up to our desires and fantasies often playing up to how we wanted that certain event to end as photographs have no dont reveal nothing but the happening of the event. Freud continues on by explaining that they way in which us as a nation view and memories many historical events are shaped by photographs used in the news, documentaries and the internet, for instance when we think about the 9/11 we associate it with people jumping to their deaths from the twin towers. This forces the nation to share a cultural memory yet they also create a ‘cultural reenactment’ in order to ‘create narratives of closure and promote a process of healing’(p24)
Through my own analysis i also believe that photography has helped depict the change that our nation has gone through for example before this moment in time civil rights Martin Luther King and black african americans were fighting for equality and integration among the two races black and white, but now things have changed undoubtedly leading us to also having a mixed raced president in the united states and all these changes have been portrayed through a collection of photographs from the past and present.
To conclude this weeks blog I’ve decided that my project will consist of one reenactment from a famous historical event for the reason being that it allows you to experiment with the way the past and present, similar to JFK’s assassination, whether it being an exact replica of the event or perhaps a parody.
I and my partner decided to base our photography project on a school yearbook portrait which defies the typical representation of each student on the portrait. We wanted to challenge the idea that every student has a title which they have gained throughout their years as a student by their persona depicted towards others surrounding at school; for example the person in the class who is identified as the joker or silliest by others will be labelled as the class clown however we wanted to exaggerate these personas through our photography with the influence of two photography techniques which were the stylizing and parody techniques.
With this in mind, we took various photographs of each student; one set presenting a perfect looking student who looks both smart but shows an era of their labelled identity through perhaps their clothing or smile. Then the other set of photographs depict an exaggerated portrayal of their identity, almost creepy looking in order to point across the idea that people in the everyday do not always succum to what they are labelled and seen by others particularly in the educational environment where it is believed that people establish their identity in the early stages of their life at school which consequently makes them who they are today. Whilst this may be the case for a lot of people, there is also a percentage of people who do not follow on with this identity which happens everyday in our mundane lives, thus why we chose to present this idea through our photography project.
We established these images through cinematic lighting, grotesque looking makeup and photoshop where we reworked and retouched the images in order to demonstrate the exaggerated look we wanted to go for. Furthermore our format for our webpage would have the images of every student looking like a normal student on a page of a school yearbook, however when you click on each image it will lead to to a page where it contains both the normal image and the overdramatized photograph with a short description of who the student it and what they are labelled as.
This image was taken from a aboriginal tourism website and i chose this image because the way the website has been constructed as well as the staging of this image can be interpreted in various ways. In this image there are two white tourist dressed casually, sitting on what seems to be a log whilst smiling at the aboriginal tourist guiders as though they are intrigued by something they have said. However on the other hand the three tourist guiders are dressed in uniformed attires with two sitting on a log with their legs half crossed whist one kneels down on the ground. Unlike the tourists these aboriginals do not portray much emotion but almost look miserable with one almost covering his whole face with his fisherman hat. This to me says that the aboriginals do not matter in this photograph but are only there for the sake of the tourist coming to visit their territory. Moreover combining my analysis with the study of photography in my lecture it is clear that aboriginals do not have much when it comes to how they are porytrayed to us not only through society but immensely through photography; ‘anthropologists who took this photograph would have subscribed to the then widely held theory that aboriginies belonged to the lowest stage of human evolution’ (p42) photographers made sure that it wasn’t revealed that these human beings were not capable of thinking and ‘feeling human being’ (42) as Edward Said explains, these people (the other) cannot represent themselves but by others who
know them better than they know themselves( Mishra, V p1), which I believe has been done in this photograph too. The fact that the aborigines depict any lack of emotion whilst the tourists do presents Edwards Said’s theory of orientalism through the portrayal of the west being presented in a derogatory manner. I continue this fact by pointing out how there is a clear seperation between the aborigines and the tourists which is evident on the background of the photograph. behind the aborigines the brown mountain which is blocking the sun may explain their sombre faces and may connote dirt, similar to how they were presented by anthologists in the early centuries. whilst on the other side behind the tourist there is a clear blue sky which in my analysis may connote purity for the superior race. The lack of positive connotations toward aboriginals tells us that there is still a stereotypical view of this culture that the anthologists created.
Reading furthermore in to the reading aboriginals were presented in low manner in the early centuries through photography as well. French anthologist Prince Bonaparte had both taken photographs and recorded a family of aboriginals stripped down naked and taken for their home. He said that they did not react to his gestures and therefore labelled them and mentally incapable and once again they were labelled as the lowest in human revolution without considering that they did not speak a word of english and moreover felt exposed because of the way they were being treated inhumanely. Furthermore to continue his studies of aboriginals Bonaparte enlisted on one of his teachers to examine there mental capacity, his verdict was similar to Bonaparte. He described these people as stupid because they were not able to count with their fingers, but he did not take in to consideration that these people may have had a different way of counting in their culture. This ideological structure was not permitted to be unchallenged and these anthologists knew this and took it to their advantage in order to keep the white race the most superior race in society.
My short film project which focused on essentialism
Change of plan:
Originally we thought of the idea of having our short video project from each student’s point of view, however we were not satisfied with the footage we filmed as it was not clear enough and the quality was not great. Thus why we decided to film some of the footage again and add some ideas to the our original idea by having the camera in each students bedroom for approx. 20mins capturing an impression of how they spend their day to day lives in their bedroom which is a representation of them and their identity, which we will cut down to probably 1min when all the footage in combined.
Essentialism is a type of identity formation which draws on a specific interpretation of history or biology. Generally this term refers to a form of identity, which is fixed over time.
Project Summary: My short film project will be a documentary focused on the idea of essentialism as our identities bases on how we are portrayed in our everyday life. To establish this me and my partner came up with the idea of creating a 2min documentary based on three students from our halls of residence and capturing how their bedrooms and everything in it relates and identifies with them. Whilst watching this a voice over of each student will be played in the background which will have them describing their room to the audience and talking a little about themselves and how their room represents who they are.
Key dates: Our aim is to start filming two weeks before the deadline which is the 11th December 2013, and to start editing a week before e the deadline.
Location: Our project will be essentially located at my partners residence of halls where each student in the documentary will be briefly introduced through the use of a voice over and then we will move on by taking a shot of the bedrooms using a panning shot as well as capturing them in their bedroom whilst they describe what and how they believe their bedroom identifies them through the use of a voice over.
- Panasonic camera
- Audio recorder
Key shots/ Ideas:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em98kgPM0OM: This video is one example of how I would like each students bedroom to be established, through the panning or dolly shot as it gives us a clear view of every detail of the room and its a easier technique to film the whole room.
http://vimeo.com/43883589: The close and extreme close up shot was another filming technique i wanted to use when we introduce each student as it helps the audience familiarise with them and give them an incline of some the student’s characteristics. Not only by their facial expressions but their body language, for example I might get a shot of one student fiddling with their hands
http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/2558217/pov-feet-walking-green-grass.html: As the short film is in the perceptive of the narrator using a POV shot would be ideal as somehow we enter the world of each student seeing everything from only their outlook.