A Major Research Project submitted to the McMaster University Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Communication and New Media.
Windshield needed replacement. There was no getting around it – I had to spend three hours walking through industrial lands surrounded by big box stores. This was where nature was left in the parts these worlds had no use to sculpt … yet. This was a place that did not expect pedestrians and surly middle aged men and women in trucks big and small challenged me with glances as they left and arrived to do their dirty and serious business. These men and women are competing to be heroes, and their enemy is people who walk instead of drive. I was hung over from my grad class end of year party. It was sunny and I have no idea where in this city I can buy a hat without a logo on it. These people see this space, our space, as a different world serving a entirely different purpose than I do. They truly live in the present and all the riches it brings and I live in a future that may never actually come to be because I won’t be there.
Another class assignment. This had some more stringent rules and regulations attached to it such as 1) using only ambient light 2) use at least five different people 3) no photoshop or editing except to turn the photos into black and white. 4) cannot use people from our class as models.
I decided to use my iphone to take the photos as booking a DSLR though the school is very restrictive and inconvenient and I was at the whim of other people’s schedules for opportunities. I also wanted to be a “straight forward” as possible with this series, and be very conventional with my approach. Get close up in most cases. I could be clever and subvert this assignment but I don’t think that’s what my Prof wants to see with this one, and I think that is a bigger challenge for me at the moment. And so here we are with a collection of photos of friends and family, and I think I would like to keep doing more.
Our friend Ted is helping us renovate our house. He was kind enough to pause briefly while I shot this and I like the ladder being part of the composition in the back. This has almost a propaganda / marketing feel to it, I think, with a dramatic slash of light over a determined looking face. The light in the folds is neat.
Jen fresh out of the shower and standing beside the window in the late morning. This is a rather rare expression for Jen – that is, looking somewhat introverted and not confronting us with her gaze. I liked the way the wet hair was captured in the light and the tilt of her head emphasizes her eyes.
My friend Joanna, who is teaching me a thing or two about photography. This was a tilted head away from the camera similar to the Jen photo, but is a good comparision to based on diffused sunlight and dry hair. Joanna and I spend a lot of time worrying about local issues, and so was glad to have this pensive, thoughtful look captured.
The rest of my portraits in this series have the eyes visible, and so I thought it was interesting to include one that did not. The viewer is forced to look for information about the subject elsewhere in the frame – such as the wind, the snow, the slightly stoic grimace.
Though I feel frustrated by the terms of this exercise that disallow adjustments in photoshop, thus leaving this photo very grey and dim, I do think it reflect’s the mood and personality of my son who just arrived from travelling over 12 hours from Dawson City, Yukon. A dashing young traveller tired from the journey.
This captures the personality of Jen as well as a close up of her face, I think. She is always expressing herself through physical gestures because she can’t be still for very long. I like this photo for the confusing play of light – the sun was in her face but my shadow looks like her shadow. The half circle in the snow behind her reminds me a bit of Botticelli’s Birth of Aphrodite.
This scarecrow has been a fixture out of our kitchen window for the last three years. She deserves this. She needs this… this actually kinda looks like a selfie.
I used photoshop to create more contrast on this one of Joanna.
I photoshopped this. Will have to do another, cleaner version when I get my drawing tablet back… you can see the unblurred edges around his hair.