Potato Shoot

Summary: Technology in agriculture has advanced to the point that genetic information is as ubiquitous as software, and can be developed as such, turning plant life from actual “life” to a commodity that happens to be derived from organic processes, rather than manufactured ones. Caught in the confines of these advancements are the actual farmers who plant their seeds, at the consequence of having to endure great economic stress to maintain a farm in the first place. Genetically modified seeds can solve a myriad of problems that can cut down the expenses of being a farmer, but a farmer is then bound by laws and policies at the mercy of the people who engineer these plants, which can be just as expensive when it becomes clear that much of what these “copyrights” cover is outside of a farmer’s direct control.


Communication Problem:  How much control does a person have over nature? Can people lay claim to a technique of modifying life, and hold others accountable when life, true to itself, behaves unpredictably and results in an effect not intended?


Image Ideas: An ad for potatoes, as with any ad, is much easier to convey than an idea. There are common tricks in existing media concerning Idaho Potatoes. I have Denise Austin to thank for the connotation Idaho Potatoes have with sunshine and open fields because of those old commercials that used to play when I was younger. Shooting the potatoes lit by warm light, just slightly yellow to be pleasing to the eye and not overly so to be taken as a photographic mistake, is my first instinct. As for the book cover, I think something more neutral and questioning is in order, as the author does not rally against GMO foods, but he does leave a sense of foreboding at the end with the idea of corporate handling of the future of food production. Corporate to me brings up clinical lighting that’s pale and cool with some deep shadows, which means I will be going after some uneven lighting ratios.

Results:  The stations this week were very interesting exercises in how to use light and reflections and color to create interesting effects, let alone compelling compositions and moods. While I feel I only have one example of my original idea that I can’t really use because it does not fit the criteria of the website specifications, there are many unintended but pleasant photographs that I can use for this week’s project. There was also an interesting after effect of using a green filter over a green table, in which the table itself turned blue in photographs, which was very surprising and something to keep in mind in the future. 

2 thoughts on “Potato Shoot

  1. rmichals

    Your summary of the Pollan excerpt is good. And I agree that the piece is not over the top apocalyptically negative about food production but is somewhat foreboding. So it surprises me that you went with the sweet photo of the potato with a heart for the book cover. You were able to accurately describe the tone of the article but somehow picked a photo that does not match that tone.

    1. JArjune Post author

      I chose that image because it seemed deceptive to me. Much like how a beautiful rose is bound to have its painful thorns, the potato with a black heart against an otherwise alluring background spoke to me about the subtext of the article. In another way, it also says something about the nature of agriculture; this industry meant to feed people in the most noble endeavor is so regulated and controlled with all the odds seemed stacked against the farmers. While growing food seems like a great thing to devote one’s life to, the shifting balance of things isn’t promising.


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