Photography 1

COMD 1340 | Section OL62 | Spring 2021

Reflecting on Gordon Parks by Yvan Zoniaba

For this assignment, we were tasked to recreate the works of Gordon Parks. He was a prominent photojournalist and a lot of Parks’ works captured the lives of black communities in 1970s Harlem and as such, I wanted to emulate those for this assignment. Therefore, I decided to capture black lives in 2020s New York City. While wandering the streets of SoHo on a sunny Sunday, I suddenly was disturbed by a group young predominantly black men, walking around, being loud and rowdy. It was not until I paid closer attention to them that I saw I could see joy and happiness on their faces that I realized that they would make the perfect to capture for my assignment. My goal was to capture the expressions of joy and laughter from these young men because I felt it refreshing to witness these young black men incarnating their Black Boy Joy considering the daily woes faced by black people. Just as I assume was Parks’ intention, I wanted to honor Black lives and the beauty within their happiness.

Other happenings I wanted to capture, was an Asian-American manifestation against the hate crimes they are facing. For this image, I wanted to document the current events that are happening in the country and our communities. This is a further homage to Parks’ photojournalistic craft in which we documented life. Asian- Americans hate crimes are extremely pertinent at the moment and I felt my images could serve as a contribution to providing historical evidence for future uses.

Assignment 9 for April 13

Shaped by Light

The goal for this week’s assignment is to create images that show the effect of lighting on a scene. Arrange objects and photograph them using different sorts of artificial light. Once you have created a scene, photograph it repeatedly using different lighting set-ups.

Consider using all white or all grey objects to get a clear view of how shadows change. Try using black items to see how much detail can be lost. Experiment with lighting through transparent objects. Use different lighting devices and modifiers to create different varieties of hard light and soft light.

Shoot 40-50 images, and upload to Flickr. Share your best 4-6 with the group, but share images in sets of 2-3 shots of the same scene with different lighting.

After Gordon Parks | Darius Freeman

Invisible Man

For this assignment, we had to recreate our favorite pictures from Gordon Parks. The image I chose to recreate by Gordon Park is 

“The Invisible Man”. I chose to recreate this picture because I liked how the subject sort of sinks into the ground and there is nothing else in the frame. The man truly becomes invisible as he goes into the manhole.

I recreate this picture by using a figure drawing mannequin and cutting out a circle into a piece of paper to simulate the manhole. I used the circle that was cut out as the manhole cover. I thought it would be interesting to use a mannequin to recreate this picture because it doesn’t have any physical feature but it does have a humanoid form and I think it gives new meaning to the title of “Invisible Man”

Parks- Self-Portrait-WSS

The second photo I chose to recreate is a self-portrait of Gordon Parks himself. I chose to recreate this photo because I liked the lighting of the shot and I believe every photographer must have a cool self-portrait. I wanted to see if I could take a good self-portrait like Gordon Parks. I tried to take the picture in the mirror but this ended up flipping the image and I couldn’t quite get the light to match Gordon Park’s picture.

Assignment 8 by Jayson Abreu

     For my own submission, I gravitated heavily towards these two works by Gordon Parks. I felt like they really resonated with certain thoughts I’ve had about the current state of things. I also just really enjoyed the process attempting to recreate these works. I did my best to alter the contrast and the darkness of shadows at least feel somewhat like the originals. I feel like in that regard, the second image was the most successful.

The first image I chose called “Emerging Man” features a  man rising from a manhole. His expression felt very cautious to me which peeked my interest. I chose to recreate this one because I felt it resonated with the tension and fear men of color have had to experience just stepping out side which to many still feels true to this day. Whether it’s violence on the streets or violence at the hands of of those meant to keep the peace. It’s just too often that we see this excessive violence on the news and attached to the face of a dead man of color. 

     The next image I picked was of a preacher with his hands raised in silent prayer. It was especially fitting of a pick to me due to current events. This year has not been kind to us with no shortage of stressors. On top of that, the many fatalities at the hands of covid have destroyed many families. My family was not unscathed in all this as I lost my grandfather months ago to covid when he was already in a bad state. I wanted to pick an image that embodied slowing down and taking the time to collect ourselves and reflect. A chance to cherish the ones we have with us now and those we lost along the way.

Lab – Week 9 – Artificial Light

Required Tools: Camera, clamp light, modifiers
Location: Inside, workspace with table
Duration: 60 minutes

The goal for this week is to explore some of the ways that artificial light can be used in a studio setting. We will use very simple tools to examine the way that the arrangement of light sources can affect the quality of light in an image.

Take a number of photographs using various configurations of a single light source.

You should arrange a number of objects on a tabletop or flat surface, away from any natural light. Find a stable place for your camera, with an interesting vantage point toward the arranged objects. Position your clamp light in different places to alter the appearance of the image. Try shooting with the light directly in front of, or directly above the objects. Try to set it behind or below. Use paper or fabric to diffuse the light. Use white or black flags to bounce or restrict light.

Shoot at least 20-30 images and upload them to Flickr. Share your best 3-4 with our group. Create a new post in our OpenLab course with your best images.

Assignment 8 Reflecting On Gordon Parks

    Gordon Parks witnessed a prisoner named Thomas Johnson who became obsessed with collecting sharp knives. He was convicted of the 1956 murder of seven-year old Ronald Wendorf in the restroom of a Sacramento movie theater, who Johnston decided to attack at random to experience a ‘thrill killing’.

     They got him strapped in a gas chamber and executed him. I chose the prisoners’ photo because it had a strong impact to what it was like at San Quentin prison in 1957. The public should appreciate the photos of the park because American popular culture was overwhelmed by the romantic notions behind American criminals at the time, and it produced a seductive appeal. A cultural meaning can be found in this work it is the relationship between the photographer and the warden and the relationship between the warden and the prisoner. My best guess is that his camera’s shutter speed and aperture settings come directly from the light source. From the angle of the policeman on the same floor, the light is directed toward the camera lens to the subject.

Untitled, San Quentin, California, 1957 image via MOMA collections that I took

So, the most important element of my creation is the space between two independent groups of people.  I took liberties and added my own voice at the MOMA museum of modern art I believe about Parks’ image that he took facing the windows at the aisle where only sun comes in. Some are fades some are only shadows. The end of the light source is somewhat clear. From the worm’s eyes view to crossover the lines that employ for the shot I chose to create a low or high perspective.

Assignment 8 Reflecting Gordon Parks

One of the Gordon Parks pictures I decided to recreate was this one of Muhammed Ali which was taken back in 1960-1970’s. I choose to do this picture of Muhammed Ali because it seemed really interesting to me that Gordon Parks and Muhammed Ali got to work together to see what goes on backstage when he’s not in the ring. This image was then used in the maganize of Issue of Life back in 1966. What can be found cultural in his work with this that Gordon Parks has influenced a lot of people especially Muhammed Ali this created an image that americans haven’t seen before. This is what got to basically show people how the boxer works in and out of the ring. I think the public should understand the photo I choose as an interesting photo I guess because it makes you wonder how did that day actually go was it easy, hard, was he happy while taking the photo, did they developed a friendship etc. You know stuff like that.

These particular images matter today because us as humans It feels like we get a glimpse of what life/cameras was back like back then. Capturing something with a camera and putting it out for people to see can also have people like your work but maybe get them to think like wow I should book him or her for my next shoot or I wonder if I can get a shoot from him. The most important elements to preserve in this recreation is to at least capture the image that altough there not in the same environment at least you can tell where the picture is about. There both doing the same thing and I guess it was to also prove that anyone can do that same pose as in the picture I guess.

I don’t know what his shutter speed was for the original photo i’m guessing a 0.6 shutter speed i’m not sure to be honest. Maybe it was less or higher. The light source was black and white it looks like the light was coming in from the window and the light around seems to capture a good lighting to take the picture. The picture I took wasn’t like that there is a mixture of light and dark because this was taken under the train station. In the original picture the angle was basically right in front of him like fully just straight. I don’t know what type of photographic composition for the shots I know I only know that it was straight regular photo.

Assignment 8, Reflecting Gordon Parks

This recreation of one of Gordon Parks’ photographs, ‘Red Jackson’ is of a Harlem gang leader looking out into the streets. I chose this picture because it can have more than one meaning to it. In todays world everyone is stuck looking out into the world instead of being in it, and like the true story of this photo, the gang leader looks out to the violence and oppression going on, much like today. I also was struck by the use of light and shadow, the light from the sun on the outside shines in on the leaders face, leaving the rest of the photo dark and black, the contrast adds layers to the composition. In my recreation I used a statue of Christ the Redeemer, it was coincidental that it was in my house. There was light coming from a street lamp shining on the surface of the statue. Like the original I tried to make the contrast of the outside light and darkness of the room.

Second recreation of on of Gordon Parks’ photograph is ‘The Atmosphere of Crime’ where he illustrates the scene of crime in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. This picture caught my attention because of the framing and angle; the first thing that you notice is the border of the frame, it looks like the photo was taken out of a small crack or peephole, but the contents of the composition stands out more. The use of diagonals in the photo lead the eyes down the photo. The use of color makes the viewer focus on the content, as well as the blur and vignette around the edges brings the eyes to focus on what is being showcased. My recreation has similar angles, I wanted to recreate the angle of cars and the sidewalk, the use of lines and diagonals is seen a lot in my photo. The bike lanes lengthens and messes with the proportion, therefore making the photo appear long.

Assignment 8 – Reflecting Gordon Parks

The original photo that’s Gordon Parks took is the Mohammed Ali behind the ring in 1966 in London, England. This photo caught my attention because there has a very interesting negative space produced by the lights and shadows. The human shape could be anyone because the facial expressions or details can’t be distinguished. Also, the pose of the human seems that he is preparing for something or praying to God. So, I did some research and I realized that the photo is Mohammed Ali the most famous fighter in the history of boxing. Then, I took two empty cardboard boxes to try to recreate the scene, a dark hallway with the door and the room with light. After that, I used a small Pokémon figure called Pancham that’s coincidentally a fighting type of Pokémon as Muhammed Ali. As a lighting source, I used my iPad because is light, thin, and fits very well into the small box that represents the room that the fighter was in the photo. And to keep out other extra lights that can interfere with the photo I cover the scenery under my sheets, and I waited until night. Then I start to shoot a bunch of photos trying to capture the essence that Gordon Parks made with the original photo.

This photo is a self-portrait of Gordon Parks. In the photo Parks was holding his camera on the left side, covering their face. So, I tried to imitate his facial expressions and hold an imaginary camera, because I don’t have one, and simulate that I was taking a self-portrait with the imaginary camera. So, I used the front camera of my iPhone in order to recreate the Parks photo.

The last photograph that I choose was one that Parks took in Harlem, New York, in 1948. In there we can see a type of grid that makes a negative space, 3 vertical lines that divide the photography, 2 people on each side, and one in the middle. Between the lines have a positive space composed of two windows and two people separated by the middle vertical line. So, I trying to recreate this photo into the subway station. I went to the 59th Street Station in Brooklyn because it is the closest station to my house that has this type of structure similar to the photograph, vertical columns are clearly seen from the opposite platform. Also, it’s an underground station, so the lights are good enough in order to take the photo. I waited for the moment that two random people are on the different side of the column, and then I took the photograph.

Anzila / Assignment 8

The first photo is of a Monk praying in the church. I got inspired from this photo of Gordon Parks and thought to re-create it.  First of all I thought it is easy to re-create that’s why I chose this photo. I like how the hand of the Monk is focused and the background is blur. Also I tried my best to copy him, the angle and the way he have his fingers together. I couldn’t find a big ring  in my jewellery because I do not like big rings, to be honest while taking this photo I was not able to find any ring which can match may be a little like the one he is wearing so I thought I should not wear it at all.  I thought to re-create this photo because I believe that prayer can change anything. And in this hard time where everyone is affected by covid, we should all be thankful to God that we have food to eat and have shelter. However, covid has destroyed the world and it’s been a long time since we have lived our lives normally. So we should keep praying to have our lives back to normal. Re-creating photos was fun. I scrolled through the site of Gordon parks, at first I was so anxious of how I am going to re-create his photos because I am a shy person I really did’t want any picture where I have to be part of it. It took me a week to decide which picture I should choose for this assignment. and re-create. I saved ten photos the ones that I thought are easy for me to re-create and also I did’t wanted to go out and click any photos so I chose the ones which I can click at home.  The second photo of Gordon Parks is of a black guy with closed eyes I don’t know what he is doing with his hands in the air but from my perspective I think he is giving blessings to his audience. I decided to re-create this because I gained some confidence from fellow students posts and thought that it’s fine it’s just for an assignment. Again, I chose this picture because it was easy to re-create it.  The background is simple, white so I just stood next to the wall and clicked it. This picture is from the times of black history. I connected this picture and the first one together as they both convey the message of praying and blessings. As this photo is from black history so may be this guy was giving speech to his audience and after that  they had a little prayer together and that is when this photo was clicked may be. All the photos of Gordon Parks are so perfectly clicked that it’s impossible for a person like me who is not good at clicking photos to click a perfect photo.    

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