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So this unit was basically an introduction to abstract art. Students were asked to answer the question of, “How can I use unconventional forms to express myself?”. As our first unit at freestyle, we spent a lot of it learning how to use professional equipment such as DSLR cameras, Tascam audio recorders, as well as a plethora of  digital editing software including Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro. As a design student, I learned all about color and value theory and gained knowledge on the elements and principles of art. I was challenged to express ideas through abstract imagery using metaphors and allusion in my photography and writing. This unit really pushed me to think beyond the literal sense which I think is one of the most valuable skills an artist can have. Good art is nuanced and subtle, which is something that I hope to be able to create effectively one day. Below is a showcase of the many projects that I finished during this unit.

photo haiku

Photo HaikuThis project is pretty self explanatory, we had to write a haiku poem and take an image for it, then use photoshop to creatively place the poem over the image. Finally, we had to record our poem and make a short video of the narration of our poem with the image as the backdrop. You can see my photo haiku image as well as the video below.

This project was one of my least favorites. Writing the poem was fine but I absolutely hated the execution of the task. The still image in the video, the tacky title card, and the unimpressive instrumental samples all made me hate this project. And I had very little creative freedom, I had to do what everyone else was doing, which as an artist is the absolute worst. However, I can say that I did learn some things during this project. I became slightly more acquainted with my camera, and I learned the basics of the video editing software Premiere Pro. And I guess it takes baby steps, I can’t jump straight into ambitious projects, I have to learn the basics first.

photoshop blend modes

Using layers to apply a blend modeIn digital media, we used our DSLR cameras to take photos and then learned to edit them in photoshop. We were looking specifically at how to correct exposure issues using blend modes.Blend modes are applied as layers, as can be seen on the right, usually an image is duplicated and used as an blend mode layer. Basically, they take certain pixels in your image and either brighten or darken them depending on the mode. A screen overlay for example will take the highlights in a photo and brighten them, used to correct underexposed photos. We learned about a few different modes that all have different functions. It would take me a while to explain how they all work so instead, I’ll just show you some images where I used the blend modes.

screen blend mode

Screen Blend 1

Screen Blend 2

multiply blend mode

Multiply Blend 2 Multiply Blend 1

overlay blend mode

Overlay Blend 2 Overlay Blend 1

creative blend mode

Creative Blend

design projects

In design we had a couple of projects that were in this unit. One was to use our macro lens to take an interesting picture of something up close, and the other was to use a concept statement to create a metaphorical image with two objects. Here are the pictures that I took for the two projects.

macro photograph

There is no concept statement for this photograph as it was just an exercise. Typically, with all our final unit photographs, we include a concept statement explaining why we took the photograph and the meaning behind it as well as the elements and principles used. For this picture, I just thought that the reflections on the faucet looked really nice and took the photo. The colors worked really well too with the orange reflections and background providing a warmth to the overall image. We did a class critique of our photos where we presented our image to the class and received feedback for it. The criticism for this image was fairly positive, my peers said that the colors worked and that the reflections created an interesting texture and focus in the piece. The one thing that I dislike about this image is my reflection in the faucet. Although it’s very hard to control, the image would have been better off without it.

conceptual photograph

I am exploring the feeling of desire through the experience of traveling to a new place.

The two objects in my photograph are a crumpled dollar bill and a cow’s tongue with a minor third object being the window in the background. Proportion is a principle displayed through the size of the dollar bill. Using a macro lens to get really close to the bill, I was able to make it look large compared to the tongue. Line is used in this piece to create emphasis. The lines of the window frame are strong and straight, creating a focus on the dollar bill which follows a similar shape. Value in this piece through the use of shadows, they also create a sense of balance. The left side of the composition is mostly dark from the casted shadows, while the right side is full of light from the sun. This alludes to the idea that everything good is beyond the window, (traveling).

The tongue represents desire, it relates to imagery of a primal necessity. Desire is a very primal feeling, the use of a piece of meat alludes to this primality in the emotion selected. The dollar bill represents traveling as dollar bills are objects which have travelled a lot. They are exchanged many times every day and end up far from where they originated. The bill on the tongue shows the desire created by traveling to a new place. Both objects sit on a window sill, almost like a person who is longing to leave home, creating imagery that relates to the concept statement.

The editing for this photograph was fairly simple. The four main things I changed were contrast, temperature, individual color saturation and hue, and cropping. The original photo, because it was shot in harsh sunlight, was much too yellow, so I added a slight amount of blue to balance this out and balance the white. I then added a little bit of contrast so as to add more drama to the shadows by creating a greater difference between shadows and highlights. Next, I adjusted the hues and saturation of certain colors. The tongue was very brownish orange so I made the oranges more red and boosted their saturation to get the redness in the tongue. The saturation of the greens and blues was boosted as well to make the dollar bill pop more. Finally I cropped the image to include a rule of thirds composition.