Author Archives: hege_b

Final Project: Standing Rock

  1. The text starts by talking about the last time Native Americans were in the eyes of the media, in 1973 when occupying the town of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. The article talks about these horrible injustices towards Native Americans and compares the situation in 1973 to the current situation at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. For months, Native Americans and allies have gathered at Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline which is a pipeline that would cut through some of their sacred site and pollute their waters. The protests have brought together tribes that have been enemies in the past, to together fight the government not only for the DAPL, but for the continuous injustices towards Native Americans that includes lack of funding for tribal education and building infrastructure on Indian land without consultation or consent from the tribes. Thousands of people are protesting at Standing Rock, without weapons, but still being treated in an inhumane way by the police.
  2. The primary audience is people who are ignorant about Native Americans, and the secondary audience is people who want to stop injustices for Native American people and who are working to educate the primary audience
  3. My approach is a combination of literal and metaphorical
  4. I’m planning¬†to use still life for¬†the project as I see that as the most efficient way of illustrating the issues
  5. N/A
  6. The objects I’m looking at using are feathers, a dreamcatcher and a mix of olive oil and black paint that is supposed to look like it’s¬†petroleum oil
  7. I will use dramatic lighting, 4:1
  8. I’m planning for the photos to be dark and dramatic. One image idea is to use techniques with¬†shutter speed to freeze oil dripping into water. Another idea is for a¬†dream catcher to catch fire – assuming I can’t actually do this in the studio, the fire¬†will have to be done¬†in Photoshop. I will photograph the dream catcher hanging in the air towards a black background, maybe over the reflective black table.

Topic 9: Human Trafficking

The article talks about human trafficking as a serious social issue in our own backyard. According to the article, there are about 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the United States alone. This includes women, children and also men. Prostitution is big business and the ringleaders are often millionaires. The article mentions the trauma that victims of trafficking experience, and how most of them have been through child sexual abuse at home.

Communication Problem:
The images should communicate something very dark, serious and dramatic. According to the article,¬†victims of human trafficking doesn’t know how to trust someone – because they’ve been through hell. I think the images should communicate lack of trust, lack of security.

Image Ideas:
The lighting should be dark, and should encompass emotions such as fear, anger, self hatred, lack of self worth. I would want to try out taking photos of someone with their face buried in their hands, maybe wearing a hoodie, sitting on the floor in a dark room. Another idea is someone having their hands or neck tied. Or a close up of someone with (fake) blood on their hands. The photos should not show a face of a person.

Results: Coming


Topic 7: Poems

she being Brand by E.E. Cummings is a poem that on the surface looks like it’s¬†about¬†breaking in a new car, while it is really a metaphor for having sex with someone who is inexperienced/a virgin.

Coming Home, Detroit, 1968 by Phillip Levine talks about the bad situation in Detroit in 1968. It was a time with lots of racial tensions. The poems talks about how the city is dirty from the factories, all the pollution.

Communication Problem:
One of the challenges is making the same toy car look very different in the two different photos. she being Brand should capture something raw and sensual, while Coming Home, Detroit should capture something more gritty and dark.

Image ideas:
For she being Brand an idea could be for the car to be on an angle, it’s the first time and it’s not straight forward and symbolizing the ride not being smooth; inspiration from this line “cranked her up, slipped the clutch (and then somehow got into reverse she kicked what the hell)”. ¬†It should have a light, pink/red/warm lighting.

For Coming Home, Detroit my idea is to shoot the car from the front and for the back of the car to be in the light, while the front of the car is in the dark. You’re coming home, but coming home to a city¬†that’s¬†in a bad state. Another idea could be to show the car going up in smoke, or in a fire like the last line of the poem “we burn this¬†city every day”.

Results: I shot this at home with clamp lights and filters. It was a challenge setting up the lights right for this, but I think I got some good results in the end. I was able to follow the image ideas that I had from before, holding the car up with tape to get it on an angle. Coming Home, Detroit was more challenging Рoriginally I wanted to shoot the car from the front with the background being light and the foreground being dark but I realized that it was easier to do the opposite Рso now the car is seen from the back driving into the dark city.

she being Brand
Coming Home, Detroit

Some other tries:
Photo 1
Photo 2

Topic 6: Potatoes

The article talks about how¬†certain potatoes now are registered as a Monsanto patent, which makes it illegal to grow them for more than one cycle. The¬†craziest thing about the article is how it mentions that the potatoes are registered as a pesticide. Who would want to eat a pesticide? The author also compares this altering of plant genes to changing it’s software.

Communication Problem:
For The Botany of Desire, the images should show how these GMO potatoes (and other vegetables) are not real food. It should be symbolized that they’re fake, poisonous. For the Idaho potato, the image should show something about their quality and popularity.

Image ideas:
For The Botany of Desire: This would have to involve Photoshop, but an idea could be for a photo of a potato where parts of the skin is peeled back and underneath the skin you see that it’s not real. There’s something foreign inside of it, maybe it’s blue or it’s full of weird particles (made in Photoshop). Or the potato could be cut in two, with the same concept of showing something strange and alien inside of the potato.¬†Another more typical idea would be to show a syringe needle injecting¬†something into the potato. But I don’t know if it’s realistic to be able to get hold of this as a¬†prop. Using the author’s metaphor of the genes being like software, there could also be something computer-like, maybe an USB stick, sticking into the potato. This might be the easiest approach because it’s a ready available prop.

For The Idaho Potato, it would be fun to spell out something with potato peel, or a more traditional approach of showing a potato as very organic, healthy and appetizing.

The results doesn’t totally align¬†with my initial ideas, but looking at the photos I realized that my idea of the skin being peeled back that I had for The Botany of Desire cover instead ended up worked really well for the Idaho Potato, as¬†I came up with the idea of seeing a “stamp of approval”, the official Idaho Potato stamp, being revealed under the skin of the potato. For the Botany of Desire, I wasn’t happy with how the photos turned out with the syringe and during the shoot we were able to do some very close macro photos of the potatoes. Looking at these potatoes, it reminded me of a moon landscape and I chose to use one of these¬†images because it captured the potato looking foreign and like it doesn’t belong at earth. I wish the macro photos were technically better/less blurry, but I think it captures the concept well.

Image links:
Idaho Potato
The Botany of Desire

Topic 5: Social Media Addiction

1. Summary
The article talks about social media addiction and how people don’t even realize how much time they’re spending on social media. The author of the article points out how the social media companies tricks us to keep checking our social media accounts several times a day, one of the tools they use to do this¬†is the red notifications – making it hard to resist checking to see who liked your post or who commented on your status. Quitting social media is hard, the article mentions the site 99 Days of Freedom that encouraged people to quit Facebook for 99 days, most people only lasted a few days. According to the article, you’re addicted because of FOMO (fear of missing out).

The author suggests to only check your account once a day.

2. Communication Problem
The images should communicate addiction, information overload, multi-tasking, and how this overload of social media interferes with your day and affects your ability to concentrate and to keep your attention on one thing at a time. It should also reflect how the social media addiction affects communication between people, and how people’s phone has become something like an extension of their body – like when you see a bunch of people walking down the street, all staring at their phones like zombies.

3. Image Ideas
The image could be someone with Facebook open on their laptop, Instagram open on their phone.¬†It could also show several people being on their phones, like zombies. Another idea is going away from showing people and showing just a phone with social media icons, using the phone as a metaphor for a drug, so there could for example¬†be a needle¬†coming out of the phone – as if you’re injecting social media into your body. I think it could also be cool to make the Facebook icon¬†and/or other social media icons out of pills.

4. Results
I had an opportunity to try out my idea of doing still life and using pills to create some kind of social media icon. I tried the Facebook logo and the Twitter bird without much luck at getting a good composition, and in the end I ended up coming up with using¬†the like button which I think represents the topic¬†very well –¬†the¬†addiction to likes are at the root of social media addiction. I think the photo came out well, the red poster board as a background gives a strong contrast – it’s very vibrant and gives a clear message with a simple design.

Topic 4: Headphones and hearing loss

 1. Summary

Brand identity
Our group is using a pair of WESC headphones for our photos. WESC is short for We Are the Superlative Conspiracy and is a Stockholm-based company mainly focusing on clothes. They get inspiration from snowboard and skateboard culture and are focusing on reaching a younger audience with the style of the headphones being very hip and in bright, vibrant colors. WESC has a NYC store and teamed up with hip hop music producer Dante Ross to make a set of premium headphones, as well as teaming up with NYC skate shop owner Amy Gunther for a special pair of WESC headphones that she was featured in the ads for. (Ad 1, Ad 2.) The copy for these ads read:

WESC –¬†¬© WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy
Even a good listener is usually thinking of something else, but this time they won’t. Through the core of science and the biggest bag of love WeSC brings the freshest headphones ever. All designed to fit the individual as much as the lifestyle. Feel at home grooving with us. Your ears have never looked sexier. Weactivists РRay Barbee, Chris Pastras & Amy Gunther

Public service campaign
The ads were part of a campaign sponsored by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 2013. The ads said “Hear today. Gone tomorrow”, where the first part shows a close-up photo of an ear with¬†earplugs, and the next photo is another close-up showing an ear where the¬†earphones are¬†switched out with a hearing aid. The tagline of the campaign is “Turn down your music before you can‚Äôt hear it anymore.” It’s a powerful message, and the target audience for this ad should in my opinion¬†be teenagers and young adults, from 13-23, to establish good listening habits early. The campaign advised people to not listen to music over 85 decibel as it can damage your hearing over the long run. The article gives advice as to what signs to look for that would be an indication that your hearing is getting worse (you have to turn up the sound on the TV, you can’t follow¬†a conversation etc), and says that if you want to keep listening to music in the future, you should turn down the music now.

2. Communication Problem
Headphone ad: Inspired by the copy from their ads, I think the ads should communicate how these headphones are so great, you won’t be thinking about anything else. You’ll zone into the music. It’s also important to communicate how fresh and cool they’ll make you look.

Public service campaign: The ad should clearly communicate that one of the people in the ad is hard of hearing, the sad/frustrating emotions connected to hearing loss, and how the person is now excluded from conversations and from enjoying music the same way as before. It should communicate this in a powerful way that would inspire the target audience to change their headphone habits.

3. Image Ideas
Headphone ad – It should show someone who is completely absorbed in the music, smiling, perhaps dancing. Or it could be someone laying on the ground listening to music with a smile on their face, maybe their eyes closed, totally zoned into the music. The lighting should be bright and cheerful and wardrobe should be young and cool but not too vibrant since the headphones should stand out.

Public service campaign –¬†One idea could¬†be for two people to be talking to each other, where the hard of hearing person has to lean in to hear what the other person is saying. The hard of hearing person could be in the dark while the hearing person is in the light. It could also be a photo of just the person who can’t hear, lighted in a dark way, showing the person as sad and frustrated about the loss of hearing.

4. Results
I think the results for the headphone ad came out pretty successful and in terms with the image ideas I had of a person dancing while getting lost in the music Рsomething that connects to the copy of the WESC headphone ads.

For the hearing loss ad, we could have tried more dramatic lighting and we weren’t successful in putting the person with hearing loss in darker lighting/in the shadow, but I think the idea of the headphones being unplugged works well, although I think the plug should¬†have been more in focus and sharper.

Album with 20+ photos 
Hearing loss ad
Headphones ad

Topic 3: Health Care for All

1. Health care photography
Looking at the websites of health care companies United Healthcare, Aetna and Northwell Health, I found that there are two trends for types of photos used. The first category is¬†photos of health care professionals, such as doctors working (doctors with a stethoscope, doctors looking at x-rays etc) nurses, and EMS personell. The other, more widely used category is photos of regular people, the people who would be¬†considered patients. These photos¬†typically show people being active, out in nature, exercising, giving an idea of a healthy lifestyle. The subjects are especially older, retired couples or families.¬†There’s also photos showing happy people in nursing homes. Typically, the lightning is bright and gives you a feeling of positivity. The photos seem to usually have natural lightning.

2. Communication Problem
With the company being called Health Care for All, the images should ideally communicate diversity  Рkids, families, young adults and older people, people from different backgrounds Рeveryone needs health care.

3. Image Ideas
With the studio setting, I think it will be important to use lights to make the photos bright and vibrant. The photos should show happy, healthy people living a healthy lifestyle. Props could be work out clothes, sports equipment (such as a football) or a healthy drink. People in the photos should look happy and full of energy. An idea could be for someone to jump in the photo.

4. Results
During the photo shoot, we focused on getting images of healthy, active people. We used props to help illustrate this, and bright lights to make a vibrant, happy, energized setting. I think we were successful in following our ideas and getting good and well lighted results.

Ad here 
Album with 20 photos here

The Lower Manhattan Revival

1. Summary
The texts talks about the revival of Lower Manhattan throughout the decade and more following 9/11. It talks about the controversy surrounding the construction of a new World Trade Center and how the new One World Trade Center and other new construction of condos and offices has given the area a rebirth, Lower Manhattan is no longer just for finance and business people, it has become more urban and diverse. People now come here to live, work, eat, shop and enjoy the nightlife. The article also reflects on how we have to remember the tragic event that took place 15 years ago, before the revival happened, and how the construction has made One World Trade Center perhaps the most secure office building in America.

2. Communication Problem
The images should show how Lower Manhattan is now a blooming area in many aspects Рmore diversity among the people who live there, the new businesses and apartment buildings.

3. Image Ideas
Places that should be covered in the article is the 9/11 memorial with the reflecting pools, the One World Trade Center, the PATH Oculus station. The images should show the contrast between new and old buildings of Lower Manhattan and the diversity of different types of people going about their everyday business in the area Рoffice workers on lunch, a mom with a stroller, kids going to school, tourists, older New Yorkers chatting in the park, people on their commute. The images should be bright and encourage reflections, while giving the viewer a sense of positivity and hope.

4. Results
I think I captured a lot of the new architecture in Lower Manhattan well, but I wanted to also capture more of the diversity of people and I wasn’t as successful in creating images of people that came out well enough.

The album with my 20+ photos can be viewed here, and my 2 photos for the article is uploaded to the Flickr group: Main image, additional image.

Week 1

  1. Summary
    The article talks about the differences between Utility U and Utopia U in a college setting. Utility U focuses on getting return on your investment, and viewing college as useful. This view is looking at college from a financial viewpoint and looking at how the GDP can increase or how the society can benefit from people going to college. Utopia U, on the other side, is about a concept of perfection, an ideal of going to college for personal growth and to develop critical thinking. Utopia U focuses on college being a safe space without judgement and discrimination.

    2. Communication Problem 
    Utility U is more about developing hard skills while Utopia U is about developing a soul and soft skills and I believe this is what should be communicated in the images.

    3. Image Ideas
    Utility U – Focus on a person doing something practical that would be of financial value, usefulness
    Utopia U – Focus on a person looking fulfilled and having personal growth, looking up towards the sky. Or a person doing something they’re passionate about.

    4. Result
    I believe that the final images capture what I wanted to communicate in the photos. The Utility U photo shows a student working hard on practical, useful skills, while Utopia U portraits the student in a more dream-like state, while drawing – focusing on a passion.

    Links to photos:
    Utopia U
    Utility U