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Senior Art Seminar
1 Nov. 2007
State of Digital Photography
Art is a tree of truth. Photography is one of the newer branches on this aged and weathered tree. Each branch of the tree is an interpretation of the truth, but photography is the closest humans can get to replicating a scene accurately. These replications can be modified into something completely altered from the original scene. Digital photography is believable, but it loses credibility when people find out an image that they thought an artist captured was actually a compilation of different images. Photographers these days also have to face security issues. If a photographer is capturing an important building, they are viewed as a security risk for that building. However, photographers are also facing a lack of job security. Why hire a professional photographer when one can just use their own point and
shoot camera to get the photos? Photography is quite relevant in the art world because it is used everywhere, and it is useful to almost everyone. With everyone using photography though, many people do not know what a quality photo is. A quality photo has the technical aspects right, good composition, good lighting and is captured at the right moment.
There is not much argument as to how to capture a good photo. But there is a lot of argument how photos should be edited. Photographers will take a mediocre photo and try to make it good in editing software like Photoshop.
Since the invention of digital photography, people are less apt to believe that a photo is true because it is much easier to manipulate digital photos than film photos. The veracity of photography, or how truthful
photography is, comes into question. A photo can be edited and made to look better than the
original photo; that is the purpose of editing. But one can also edit a photo to alter it completely. To edit is to revise or correct, to omit or to
eliminate, to arrange, to duplicate, and to change. Editing can be like cutting and
pasting an airplane into a picture of a beautiful sunset. This would be an example of altering the image to digital graphic art. However, editing can be as minimal as boosting the
color in a picture of a sunset to make it represent the original scene more accurately. It is different but not greatly modified. Once the content has been altered from reality, it is digital graphic art.
Christopher Burkett has photographed landscapes for twenty-eight years. His 8x10 inch prints are displayed in many galleries
around the world. Speaking about his role in photography he said, “My task is to simply present this reality in the clearest, most luminous and direct way, with the least amount of interference, distraction or distortion from myself or the photographic process” (Burkett, 177). This is a clear definition of the role of photography: giving the viewer the truth, without changing it. This is evident in Burkett’s work
(below) because his takes a beautiful scene and makes it more vibrant.
Once a photo’s subject matter has been changed, it has become fictional, unreal, untrue, and imaginary, or in other words, digital graphic art. But until that point, the photo may be edited to improve the quality of the image. “The artist, like the child, is a good believer. The depth and strength of the belief is reflected in the work; if the artist does not believe, then no one else will; no amount of technique will make the responder see truth in something the artist knows to be phony” (L’Engle, 149). Digital graphic art photos are fictional; the photographer cannot actually believe that is the original image they captured. If an artist adds an airplane to sunset photo, it is deceitful because it is not how they originally captured the scene. It may have begun as photography but it is no longer. It is now digital graphic art.
Without the use of Photoshop, a photographer can lie about a photo by composing it in a way that does not show the true scene. The photographer composed the image at the right in a way to hide scuff marks from shoes, yet still leave a beautiful composition. Editing basic things like contrast and brightness, color balance, sharpness, etcetera is okay; it does not actually change the intent of the photo (all these things have been applied to the photo
below to make it look like the original scene). Anything done in camera is not digital graphic art. The camera cannot change the subject matter of the photo, it just takes the photo as it sees it. Steve Bedell is an award-winning photographer who has written piece in Shutterbug about how to improve one’s digital photography. “Don’t let Photoshop turn you into a poor shooter – only use it to enhance your already good images” (Bedell, 128). A photographer should just take a terrific photo to begin with rather than spend hours hunched at a computer trifling with the levels and saturation to find the exact touch of contrast needed.
Many photographers do not edit their photos, they just take them, and this can be seen as a security risk because taking a photo is a quick and accurate way to replicate a scene. It is a security risk because these photos could be used by terrorists to find vulnerability in security. One example of this is Adrian Stretton: “Adrian Stretton recounted how anti-terrorist officers had stopped him outside Canary Wharf tube station, under the Terrorism Act 2000, after he tried to take photos of the [Canary Wharf].” (Sturcke, 1). By photographing potential terrorist targets photographers are suddenly suspected as terrorist spies, even if they are just taking tourist snap-shots. Potential terrorist targets are practically everywhere: government buildings, airports, transportation centers, malls, and normal tourist sites. Photographers are confronted in these places in the name of security. “Security is rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act” (Krages, 1). Even if it is not a legitimate reason or a terrorist act, if the photographer is on private property, security officers have the right to tell photographers to stop shooting. On public property, photographers have the right to shoot about anything they want. But photographers are still confronted on a regular basis in public because they are seen as a security threat. Adrian Stretton was confronted because of this even though he was just another tourist with a camera. The security risk of photography is more prevalent these days because more and more people have cameras.
Almost everyone has a digital camera they pull out to take snap-shots of their friends hanging out. The problem that challenges photography is that people like these snap-shooters are not willing to pay for photography when they can just do it themselves. They do not want to pay money for photography because they do not care about the quality of the photos. Instead of hiring a photographer, a newspaper will decide to send their inexperienced reporter with a point and shoot camera to capture an event. Why pay a professional photographer money to shoot an event when a reporter can use their point and shoot camera? Instead of reporters getting a boring snap-shot of an event, professional photographers will get high quality photos that bring visual interest and quality in a photo. The problem is that in effort to save a few bucks, people are willing to settle for mediocrity in photography.
Photography is one of the fastest growing forms of art today because of the amount of people that take snap-shots. Photographs are everywhere: inside books, on book covers, magazines, posters, advertisements, CD albums, photo albums, museums, galleries, and a multitude of images online. One popular photography website called Flickr (flickr.com seen below) receives about 3000 photos a minute. Lots of people take photos and share them with others through websites like Flickr. Photography is the one of the newest branches of the art world tree. It only goes back about 175 years, which is almost nothing compared to drawing, painting and sculpture. That being said, photography has become one of the most visible art forms today. That is because lots of people are utilizing digital photography. Photography has become the way to remember events, trips and friends. People use their point and shoot cameras and replicate scenes in the quickest and most accurate way they know how: taking photos. All photography cannot be trusted though; some photos play on the assumption that photography is truthful and get people to believe photos that are untrue. These kinds of photos make photography less credible to the rest of the art world.
One can see photographs practically everywhere, but not all of these are quality photos. Quality photos come with composition, technical perfection, capturing the right moment and light. Photography, more than all other forms of art needs light. “Good photographers know light” (Beamon, 2). Without light, a photograph can only be made as a solid black image. Even with good light, a photographer has to know where to point and when to shoot. Composition is the where to shoot, or how the image is composed. A good photograph should visually interest the viewer. However, even with good lighting and a good composition a photographer needs to have a solid grasp on the technical aspects of the photo: a sharp focus so that it is not blurry, a correct exposure so that the photo is not to bright and not too dark, and the right ISO so that the image is not too noisy or grainy. With good lighting, a good composition, and all the technical elements correct, a good photograph still needs to be shot at the right moment. Sometimes this can be a simple matter of capturing the key moment of a sunset when the lighting is just right. But it could be as complex as capturing that same sunset at its best color but at the key moment when a seagull flies in front of the sun (like in the image at right). Still, the quality of light in an image determines the quality of the image once a photographer has perfected the composition, technical aspects and key moment.
There is not a lot of quality in photos, but there is a high quantity of photos. Photography has become one of the most visible forms of art today because individuals see photos practically everywhere. As one of the fastest growing forms of art, photography is relevant to the art world because so many people utilize it. This is a problem as well though. People do not want to hire a photographer because they do not really care about the quality of the photos. Instead of hiring a professional, people can just use their own point and shoot cameras. With the proliferation of point and shoot cameras, almost everybody has a camera. Lots of cameras creates an increased security risk. Photographers could use take pictures with the intent of using them to find vulnerability in potential terrorist targets. Another problem facing photographers today is how truthful it is. Digital photography is an interpretation of reality, and is one of the least deceptive forms of art known to man. Editing is like watering a tree, used to make the tree more beautiful and vibrant then before. Editing should be used to improve the quality of the image, not change the content. A photo is a photo until the subject matter and content of the image is altered from the truth. Photography is one of the quickest growing branches on the tree of art, and it is facing arguments and challenges, but photography is also blossoming into one on most common forms of art today.
Beamon, Kelly. “Photo Finish.” Hospitality Design 24.1 (Jan. 2002): 28. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. 31 October 2007. <http://search.ebscohost.com/
Bedell, Steve. “10 Rules for Top Digital Quality.” Shutterbug Mar. 2004:124, 126, 128.
Burkett, Christopher. Imitations of Paradise . Vernonia , OR : West Wind Arts, 1999.
Krages, Bert P.. "The Photographer's Right". 31 October 2007 <http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf>.
L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art. New York : North Point Press, 1980.
Sturcke, James. "My Terrorism Act". Guardian Unlimited. 31 October 2007 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1763729,00.html>.
Burkett, Christopher. “Black Mountain Aspen Forest, Utah”. 31 October 2007. <http://www.christopherburkett.com/
Flickr.com. (Flickr.com Screenshot). 31 October 2007. <www.flickr.com>.
Robinson, Thomas. “Ephemeral Jet”. 18 October 2007.
Robinson, Thomas. “Larus”. 4 August 2006.
Robinson, Thomas. “Number Six in the Desert”. 20 July 2007.
21 March 2007
Black and white flits across the page like a melody from the hand of a painter. Black ink and white ink mix together in pools of gray, spread across the page like an infestation. It eats away at the white of the page, shooting forth its arms in wide embrace in that which would have been. The notes that would have played stayed silent as the monotone persuaded its own existence. Yet after the paint has dried, the music begins again as black and white flit across the page.
13 May 2005 and 2007
• Special Relativity states that speed of light is a constant. The source of it departure and arrival does not matter to the speed it is traveling. It is a constant regardless of the frame of reference (though the perspective of time may be bent from the frame of reference). Also according to this theory, time can move at different speeds at different frames of reference. This also says that if two twins were born and one of them left earth to travel at the speed of light for a year, he would come back, and the other twin would be much older then him. This is because the frame of reference for the two twins changes because one is traveling at the speed of light.
28 February 2006
Reflections of Streetlamps
3:30am, and it’s raining. Yet, through the rain there shines a beauty. Rain creates a mist around objects, a slightly foggy appearance. Rain glistens on tree branches and twinkle with shimmering light. Rain falls upon the pavement, and turns black to white. Reflections of streetlamps cascade across the asphalt. In quiet voices you talk; you and someone you love. You talk about whatever, life, pants smeared with paint, about the beauty in the mundane. The reflected light shimmers with each footprint of the drizzle that treads across its path. Aye the world, tis never perfect. Still decay, still affliction, still fallen. We must move on, the cold of the night reaches at the spirit, but the reflections in the rain; they shimmer, aye, they shine to the glory of God.
28 Oct. 2005
They drove along the valleys and beside the hills through the day. Watching the millions of white lines blink under their tiers, like raindrops. Like raindrops that meandered down outside the windows, raindrops that reflected the trees blurring by, raindrops that dried up for the sun that glimmered off the hood ornament of the Mercedes Benz. It was a blue 85’ driven by a guy named Chris. He wore a pink Enterprise Cross Country shirt that he got his senior year of high school. The shadows of the Benz stretch across the road till it reached the guide rail on the other side. The light in the clouds faded down and dusk descended like a blanket upon the Columbia River. Chris sipped upon Mt. Dew while an apple air freshener swayed back and forth like a clock counting the hours to P-town. He thought about the fish, the wild and free that charge up the Columbia every year. His stomach grumbled. Dark navy clouds reflected upon the quieter areas of the Columbia and lights turned on and dotted the hillside across the river. As he pulled into the concrete driveway he thought about all the miles that had shimmered past. He was grateful for his mom at the door, homemade bow-tie pasta, and a batch of fresh chocolate chip cookies. After such a long day, he finally smiled.
15 March 2004
Manifesto: the mad photographer
Remember the rule of thirds.
Strategic lighting, composition, balance, triangulation, and exposure: find out what these mean. Focal length, apertures, ISO, and shutter speeds are priorities.
Stay on topic. Photograph cats and dogs, sunsets and flowers, rivers and beaches, people, and the sky.
Edit to perfection, correct every detail, and rub it to the bone. Then go to the next.
Aye, but I tell you this. Shoot something upside down, sideways, diagonal. Try photography mid-air.
Creativity, Originality, Imagination: do not conform. Put spiders on wine glasses, snails on beaches and cats with pumpkins. Have a tilted horizon. Make the world purple, green or orange, but please don’t make it white.
Find interest in the mundane.
Let a child use the camera, listen to crows. Plant and water a sequoia. Take a solo trip to an isolated spot. Stop, and think. Live life with patience, peace and thoughtfulness. Ruminate about love, joy and hope. Hug a forest. Be alive with laughter.
Enjoy life with a passion and remember your Creator.
3 August 2004
The blue door shut behind him as he prowed into the closing night sky. Running his warm up on familiar back roads that lead to his secluded beach. The fog belt had settled on Haystack Rock like a father’s hand on a child’s shoulder. The dry sand was shelled by a layer of rainfall and each footstep brought new sand to the surface. Sand stuck to the soles of his feet. Finally, hard packed sand came and he picked up his pace speculating over the considerable low tide, the abundance of murres congealed on their rocks and footprints in the sand left by those who had come before. Sweat, bird guano, and salt air. He threaded through the rock gate that lead him to Crescent Beach. Along he ran, the sole soul meandering out into the night. He ran past caves that scowled their black mouths at him, past the quiet waves kneading the dark shore, and past rocks jutting into the blue fog. Until the beach stopped: wave against rock. Turning to look for another way, a different path. Steep embankments faced him one side and the open sea on the other. He picked up one rock as a token. A black stone rounded by the ocean that fit his hand and fit his heart. A memory of this night. The night enveloped him as he returned back the way he came. Mountains of trees reflected off the wet sand as he left his wave of footprints behind. Unzipping the beach as he went. He ran towards that unseen goal: Haystack Rock, hidden below the fog and between the gates he had already passed through. After the water, and sand, and rocks of eternity, his short time had passed as he returned home again.
16 Nov. 2005
Poem by Laura Rogers
"Developer of Images"
Thank you, Thomas, thank you!
You've done an old heart good
with images drawn from the sea,
of sand and stone and wood.
The beach at daybreak, noon and night,
with sunset flash and cool starlight --
glad beauty, borne on wing and wave:
dear memories I long to save.
You've done it, Thomas. Lucky me!
my eyes and heart again may see
the blessings of my gracious God,
who knows each footstep where I've trod,
and knows how long the life of each
that left their footprints on this beach,
where waves washed o'er and cleared the sand,
while time moved on within His hand.
I'm glad now, Thomas, thanks to you,
for picturing this place I knew,
and prayers I'll lift that you might know
God's blessings everywhere you go,
and that One Image will take form
within your heart that's Spirit born,
One Image that no lens can hold,
worth more than all the world's pure gold.
2 Dec. 2004
Let’s drill for oil
Let’s bring in the dozers
Let’s save the economy
Let’s drill for oil
Let’s put an oil pipeline around the world
Let’s make gas free
Let’s save the pipeline
Let’s doze around the world
Let’s drill a pipeline
Let’s bring in the economy
Let’s pipe the drill line around the world
Let’s drill the world around the pipeline
Photography – Sharing God’s Glory With
The wise elders of our faith teach us
that the chief end of Man is “to glorify God, and to enjoy him
forever.” As a photographer, I strive to glorify God by sharing
God’s splendor in creation. Photography is a visual form of
communication that reveals the glory of God in a scene. My passion
in nature and landscape photography is rooted in my faith in Jesus
Christ and my love for the deeper glory found in every corner of
creation. When God gives me a magnificent view, I capture that
view and give it to others so they may see what God has given.
My love for the visual art of nature
photography began when my family was hiking in the mountains, I
borrowed my mom’s camera and began shooting flowers, mountain
tops, and other beautiful scenes. I discovered the pleasure of the
Lord in enjoying God’s beautiful creation. That delight was the
spark that ignited my search for praising God on the secluded
beaches, the quiet forests, and the radiant sunsets. The Psalms
remind us that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies
proclaim the work of his hands.” Now I see beauty in what others
may often overlook. I plan to pursue my love for photography at
Whitworth, and I look forward to finding a career in this field in
order to share my love for it with others.
At college, I will be taking intensive
photography courses to deepen my understanding and knowledge of
the art. I will also be studying a variety of other courses, but
my focus will be on improving my photography so that I may be the
best photographer I can be.
Photographers see the deeper glory in
every detail, in a grain of sand, in a decomposing leaf, in a
fading cloud at sunset. Nature photography is about noticing the
balance in creation and creatively capturing it for all to see. It
is looking at white clouds and seeing the potential of a vibrant
sunset, looking at a tree and seeing depth in the texture of its
bark; it is about seeing truths of God’s creative artistry that
are clear to us if only we had the eyes to see it. I will continue
seeking truth and glory throughout my life.
Some people walk through life never
noticing the beauty that surrounds them. As for me, I will keep
opening my eyes to see God’s deeper glory in every corner of
creation. I will help others to recognize the reason and purpose
we are here on earth, to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
16 Dec. 2005
Across the Gorge
The lights travel down the rail, leaving shadows and darkness behind. The tires spin endlessly; the lit license plate from Arizona. But Washington is right over there, across the river, on the other side of the gorge. There are lights of cars in the distance, on the other side of the bend. Soon they will be approaching quickly, until they blink by and are forgotten in a trail of red. Then comes the next, each making its debut, and then disappearing into the shadow left behind. There are also lights across the river, reflecting faintly off the water, but they never come closer, the just stay edging along the bottom of the hills.
Lights drive quickly than fade away, driving through the darkness. From the darkness, and into it again. Brief memories, and forgotten again.
6 December 2004
Raining Numbers – Taking the SAT
Registration number 7249839. Name, address, city, state, zip, telephone, date of birth, gender, social security number. One check on the list. Fill in the bubbles and watch the time. Fry your brain, turn it through the reason and the rain. A B C D E, take one. Test Form 412150. If
s is the number of students and m is the number of microscopes; each student gets one, but 6 don’t. Form Code NL160. No opinion, fill in the bubble. Double the amount of microscopes, there are 6 extra. Serial Number 183317. A B C D E, take two, scratch one. Fill in the blank, analogize, critical reading. Time is running. Solve for
s. What is the author’s intentions in this piece? s
+ m = - 6, s + 2m = 6. Fill in the bubble. A B C D E, take three, guess. How much time is left? High School Code 381070. Less then 1 minute per question! Photo ID, 2 number 2s, an optional calculator, your admission ticket, and don’t forget your brain. Finish the test, a walk through the rain. Free
8 Mar. 2004
Life Filled Air
A flapping noise rushed near his feet. He jolted, it was just
two sparrows scared off by the rustling of the glowing reeds. Pausing again as
his rubber boot suctioned the mud, he gazed into the budding emerald forest. A
creek trickled past auburn mud banks eroded from years of flow. Light shone
through the ferns sprouting from old fallen alders. Skunk cabbage yielded their
yellow shells. The woods smelled of bright green. He came upon the bubbling
stream. The sun glinted off the water like off a warped mirror. Chickadees
chirped and elderberry were just booming.
It was spring.
31 May 2004
Ocean waves that sooth
Ocean waves that crash
That surround and wash over
Waves of change
Constant with the tide, yet
unpredictable, sometimes big, sometimes small
but always something.
Constant with the tide turn, in and out.
Steadfast rocks enduring waves of time:
waves of change.
Change that looks so big,
yet so small when it breezes in.
Wrong: the only thing that's constant is change.
God is constant, unchanging like the rocks.
Unlike the sand of humanity,
ever shifting, ever moving.
But the rock of God is steadfast
in the sand, wind, and waves of time.
5 Apr. 2004
Simplicity is a walk in the rain
Cold wet and fun
Simplicity is a beautiful sunset
Full with radiant color
Simplicity is the taste of a strawberry smoothie
Made in the middle of summer
Simplicity is fresh cut grass
Stuck upon some soccer cleats
Simplicity is a rainbow
Raising into the white heavens
Simplicity is a gourmet dinner
Steaming on a candlelit table
Simplicity is in everything
But nothing is so simple
Bus: Late Night
sounds of laughter
13 Apr. 2004
The trunks we had lifted and backed to each other to hold out the light rain
we had felt upon our cheeks. The rain increased and felt more cozy, eating brie
cheese and Vinta crackers that smelled of wheat on the French coast with friends
from home. It was a French cheese packed in circular cases: yellow and red were
the flavors there. The adults drank foreign beer they’d opened with the silver
leatherman from my Jan Sport bag. I had received that tool from a young friend
who had left it at my house. I had found it with a piece of twine that held
together red beads that glittered like morning rain. A gentle shower that fell
on sailing boats, and lifted car trunks and friends eating cheese in the rain.
19 Apr. 2004
Last 100 Meters
I want focus on is the finish line but it keeps moving around like a
roulette ball looking for a winner. My universe becomes a blur of frozen faces.
Expectant, clenched, worried, and joyful faces. I smell cut grass wasting away
on a torn football field, buttered popcorn whiffing from the concession stand,
and burnt rubber smoking from my singed running shoes. I travel so slowly. Each
step, an effort, each muscle straining for that golden tape, each exasperation
sinew tightened, waiting for that final time, that daze spinning world, and the
wonderful accomplishment and completion. Finish line.
3 May 2004
You ask me of chickadees and finches flitting through a golden wood. Of
luminescent ferns and new sprung pines branching from a fallen alder. Of
talkative creeks and steadfast rocks under the turmoil of time. Where we were,
once, among these soliloquies of beauty.
Do you remember? Remember these times? Or is it only reminisce.
Snarling they came, loud in two ways. Big voices and silver sparkles, unjust
chains, ruthless as hungry bears.
Foul oil surrounds us. Heavy feet surround us. Black clouds surround us.
They kill us, the dry-eyed children, knocking us down like weeds. They drag
off our elders and there we lie, naked and forsaken, drying up in the clearing
of time. Turning brown, and forgotten. And you ask.
Come and see the trees lie fallen.
Come and see. The trees lie fallen.
Come and see,
the trees, lie fallen!
3 June 2004
Strolling Washington Square
Smell of fresh tropical aloe, sound of soothing music resonating off high
vaulted ceilings, tile floors with red circular patterns, soft mattresses, hard
wooden benches, orphan teddy bears, bright color fashions on perfect plastic
models, fake orange flowers, fluorescent lights refracting off a shifting silver
Nordstrom box, mp3 players upon metallic stands, chocolate smoothies, neon signs
blinking insidious statements, too much glass, no rocks, none steadfast, big
sunglasses, new shoes smell, over-large advertisements, curved trash can lids,
cool air flow, echoing voices, blinking lights, exclamation points. JC Penny,
Meier & Frank, Radio Shack.
Stores floating, drifting, draining by.
Quantities, qualities, prices.
7 Exquisite Corpses - By Otto Sloof Ninegious b.1979
of great importance
an old man
like a Mexican jumping bean.
On the lonely beach
flowers grow wild
as great men
as moldy rotten sandwiches.
At the graveyard near Skyler's house
of slimy lamps
read the warning labels on
their lips red as a nose.
Inside my locker,
like a bat out of hell.
In Austin Texas
like a piece of gum that you get stuck to your shoe, then you try to get
it off with a stick, but it just gets all over the stick too, and
eventually you get gum on everything.
Near a flowing waterfall,
ten thousand pounds
of scary rooms
like vultures ringing doorbells.
In San Francisco, California,
in one minute,
the virtuoso pianist
will make love
like the moon.
8 Mar. 2004
She lived in a suburban neighborhood, surrounded by monochromatic houses that
all had the same Victorian style windows. They must have all been created from
the same Princeton Press blueprint design book. There was a yellow sign that
read "Slow, children at play," but I did not see any. Nor did I see
anyone else in this place. Most of the windows were dark but there existed an
occasional one that contained dull life edged around opaque blinds. Chewing on
my breath freshening gum, I found that some gardens had dead chrysanthemum
plants in the front yard and others had none. To think, this had once bragged a
flourishing forest. I wondered how this town could be improved, how to turn this
ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. A gleaming white swan floating alone in a
golden lake, surrounded by green reeds and water lilies. That was my vision.
I glanced at the map of repetitive roads and blocks cubed in a tedious
checkerboard pattern. It was a monotonous labyrinth with every block the same as
the last and every neighborhood the same as the next. Stopping for directions
would be impossible. Finally, I located it, and pulled my oversized SUV into a
cement driveway that had "507" numbered in pale gold lettering next to
the rusted metallic garage door. I stepped out, strolled to the front door, and
buttoned the illuminated orange doorbell. Peeking into the window, I saw an old
lady in a blue-splotched dress hobbling to the door. I cracked my fingers and
adjusted my navy tie. The door creaked opened a notch.
"Who is it?" muttered the old lady. I flicked out my new printed
business card and she undid the chain and ushered me in. The air was musty and
the avocado colored carpet seemed to absorb my new polished loafers. She led me
aside to a cramped room, a fan hung dead on the low ceiling. The TV blared. She
fumbled with the grey remote, the television blinked then slowly faded to black.
I declined her offer of a muffin; I saw chunks of raisins and coconut in them.
Then she turned to me with an aged look of regret on her face.
"I wanted to leave this dreadful neighborhood," she admitted, "I
wanted to move to a humble cottage by the coast and watch the marvelous ships go
I quoted James Fletcher, "I have seen white ships like swans asleep."
It's the middle of the season.
You love to run.
You love to run on the beach.
You love to taste the salt air and smell the driftwood logs and rotting kelp.
You love to the pound the sand under your feet.
You love the sun and you love the rain.
You love to plunge against the wind and be pelted by hail.
You love to smile at people walking in the rain.
You do not like to get wet, but you still love the rain.
You love to meditate while you run.
You love to run fast.
You love to strike the sub-thirty on a four miler.
You love the adrenaline, you love the delirium.
You love the speed and love the exhaustion.
You love the blur of the landscape, and you love the blur of the ground
You love to run swiftly but you don't like the pain thereafter.
You love to think while you run.
You love to race.
You love to surpass your PR.
You love the starting gunshot but you don't love the butterflies.
You love the shrieks of fans and the encouragement of the coaches, parents and
You love to start your kick with eight hundred meters left.
You love giving it your all for the last two hundred.
You love the last fifteen meters, but you don't love how it seems like an
You love the finish line, but not the panting and swaying afterwards.
You love to be congratulated.
You love to ruminate while you run.
You are ending the season.
You are a long distance runner.
Go the distance.
run to love
15 Mar. 2004
Gesture in the Hall
Walking, strolling, strutting, gliding, dodging, jogging, running.
Students, moving to chemistry, Greeks and Romans, or the library. Swinging
wooden doors opening, twists of locks.
The "cunk" of the successful combination.
Smell of sweat, hints of perfume, mild odors of mildew and today's greasy pizza.
Slams of small metallic doors and shuffling of papers.
Moving feet and moving mouths.
Black jackets and baseball caps with skating logos. Motocross t-shirts and
babbling voices, with binders, books, and backpacks, weighed down by biology
packets, Trig textbooks and portable CD players.
Anticipation of the bell and escape.
The blur of humanity fit in a cramped hallway.
I say hello to a gal I know. She just simply smiles.
2 June 2004
Mud and Prose
Dark as can be
Dark like the bright noonday sun
On a dark day
Desolate as can be
Desolate like a street crowd
Surrounding a desolate beggar
Still as can be
Still like a flowing creek
Stopped due to still rain
The words do not come
Dark, Desolate, Still
They float unevenly,
Descending sewer streams
I wait patiently
But all I get is mud
Dark desolate still mud
Graceful as can be
Graceful as dark judgment
Triumphed by grace
Cheerful as can be
Cheerful as a lonely beggar
Full with cheerful life
Active as can be
Active as a serene lake
Surrounded by active people
The words come
Graceful, Cheerful, Active
They sink quickly
Through skies and clouds
I chase, determined
But all I get is prose
Graceful, Bright, Active prose
CP Jr. Eng., per. 2
30 Apr. 2004
The Vine of Truth:
Photography and Digital Graphic Art
Art is a vine of truth. A
book about gardening is nonfiction, and a story about alien spores in garden
plants is fiction. This is elementary; however, there are also books about
nonfiction subjects that are fiction. There is a border, a thinner than hair
line between these two subjects. Photography can be fiction and as an art form,
possesses a vine of truth. Each branch, an interpretation of the truth, but it
is the closest humans can get to reproducing a scene. A photo can be edited and
made to look better than the original. That is the purpose of editing. But one
can also edit a photo and alter it completely. To edit is to revise or correct,
to omit or to eliminate, to arrange, to duplicate, and to change. Editing can be
changing a photo so much like cutting and pasting an airplane into a picture of
a beautiful sunset. This would be an example of altering the image. It is now
fiction, now digital graphic art. However editing can be as small as taking a
picture of a sunset and making it even more vibrant than before by boosting the
color. It is different but not greatly modified. The line is between the quality
and quantity of the editing. Once a subject matter has been altered from the
reality, it is fictional.
Many people have different views of
where this line between fiction and nonfiction exists. Some believe that there
is no line, that as soon as a picture is taken, it is fiction. Some think that
digital graphic art still counts as photography. Digital graphic art may contain
truth in the original but it is a different piece of art than when it was a
nonfiction photo. When one edits a photo and greatly alters the original
picture, it is becomes fiction. The question is where this line subsists.
Christopher Burkett has photographed
landscapes for twenty-five years. His 8x10 prints are displayed in many
galleries around the world. Speaking about his role in photography he said,
“My task is to simply present this reality in the clearest, most luminous and
direct way, with the least amount of interference, distraction or distortion
from myself or the photographic process” (Burkett 177). This is a clear
definition of the role of photography: giving the viewer the truth, without
changing it. Kevin Ebi has also been a digital photographer for four years and
had a website (www.livingwilderness.com) that sells his stock photography. Kevin
believes that, “once an image is altered and does not reflect reality it is
fiction” (Ebi interview).
I have been a photographer for about
half a year, and interested in photography for about a year more. Since I got a
digital camera, I have taken approximately 3300 pictures. I have edited around
two percent of these into fictional photos. As a photographer, I like to capture
things as they are. I take pictures of flowers, ferns, creeks, beach scenes,
birds, pets, sunsets, etc. However, digital photography is like a vine without
much water. It can still grow, but is much more beautiful when watered
frequently. All my best photos have been edited. It is justified that I do this
editing because I don’t actually alter the subject matter of the photo. I just
edit them to a higher quality by changing the color and saturation, focus and
sharpness, sizing, rotating and cropping. None of these actually changes the
subject matter of the photos, so they are still realistic and truthful.
“Editing is okay if it is an accurate view of reality” (Ebi interview). Ebi
also says that with film photography, the saturation is already at its best, but
with digital photography, you must edit it to make it “show the viewer what it
was like to be there” (Ebi interview).
Photojournalism is different though.
Photojournalists should not change images at all. It would be terrible if
someone created a nonfiction photo, portrayed it as truth and published it
nationwide. Photojournalism should be absolute truth, except when dealing with
graphic images that shouldn’t be viewed. Speaking about the showing a gruesome
video from Iraq, Steve Capus, executive producer of NBC Nightly News
said, “Quite honestly, it doesn’t need to be seen in full in order to convey
the horrors of this despicable act” (“Media Use” 4). Many news channels
edited these gruesome videos by blurring out the graphic details that did not
need to be shown. This is allowable, because it is not actually changing the
content of the matter, just making it less visible.
George Vetter has been taking film
photos since 1971; he has his own website (www.cannon-beach.net), and has been
taking digital photos for six years. He believes that photography should be used
to “represent the scene as it was, make reality more vivid not less. Otherwise
it is not a true interpretation” (Vetter interview). Once a photo’s subject
matter has been changed, it has become fictional, unreal, illusory, untrue, and
imaginary. Digital graphic art. But until that point, the photo may be edited to
improve the quality of the image. “The artist, like the child, is a good
believer. The depth and strength of the belief is reflected in the work; if the
artist does not believe, then no one else will; no amount of technique will make
the responder see truth in something the artist knows to be phony” (L’Engle
149). Digital graphic art photos are fictional; the photographer cannot actually
believe in the editing of the photo. It makes a photo untruthful and a lie, when
the artist edits out a telephone pole, or adds an airplane, it is deceitful. It
may have begun as photography but it is no longer. It is now digital graphic
Digital graphic art is a big issue among
digital photographers such as the 1000+ paying members of www.dpchallenge.com. I
have entered many of my photos into this “digital photography challenge”
website. A member in this site spoke about photographic manipulation, “They
create their own reality. When they use levels, change contrast, apply soft
focus, adjust color balance, create sepia tones, use filters or use special
lense attachments they are not attempting an accurate capture of what is really
there” (“All Editing” 12). He insists that that any of the editing done to
an image makes it fiction. On this site, he argues that it should allow full
editing because many of the pictures on the site are already digital graphic
art. “A photographer can lie about a photo without even using Photoshop” (Ebi interview). Editing basic things like levels, contrast, sharpening, etc. is
okay; it doesn’t actually change the intent of the photo. Anything done in
camera is not digital graphic art, the camera cannot change the subject matter
of the photo it just takes the photo as it sees it.
Another website called Live Journal
has an active community that has a Photography Challenge as well. Its rules
state, “Any editing should be used to correct the image, not completely change
it” (“Photochallenge” 3). This keeps the integrity of the photo. Photos
that are over edited are either voted down or disqualified. Editing
(manipulating photos or just touching them up) is a talent, and an expert can
get away with quite a bit of editing genius. Steve Bedell is an award-winning
photographer who recently wrote a piece in Shutterbug
about how to improve digital photography. “Don’t let Photoshop turn you into
a poor shooter – only use it to enhance your already good images” (Bedell
128). I would rather just take a terrific photo to begin with than spend hours
hunched at my computer trifling with the levels of saturation and finding the
exact touch of contrast I desire.
Photography is meant to be fun, an art,
not a misinterpretation of reality. Marian Wood Kolish, a renowned photography
said after taking her first photography workshop, “I came away from there just
flying” (Row 1). Photography is fun and can make people say, “Wow, look at
that!” But it should be done honestly, giving truth for the viewer to believe.
Not make them look at a piece, love it, then later find out it was really not a
real scene, and imagined through the editing and manipulation that was done to
Art is a vine of truth, and so is
photography. But reality can be so difficult to represent. Photography is an
interpretation of reality, and is one of the least deceptive forms of art known
to man. Editing is like watering a vine, used to make the vine more beautiful
and vibrant then before. I use editing to improve the quality of the image, not
change the content. Photography is a branch of the vine of art and the line
between photography and digital graphic art is very slender, but photos are
nonfiction until the subject matter of the image is altered from the truth.
“All Editing Should
Be Allowed – Prove Me Wrong!” DPChallenge
10 Mar. 2004. Photography Discussion. 14 Mar. 2004 <http://www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php
Bedell, Steve. “10
Rules for Top Digital Quality.” Shutterbug
Mar. 2004:124, 126, 128.
Burkett, Christopher. Imitations
: West Wind Arts, 1999.
Ebi, Kevin. Personal
interview. 20 Mar. 2004.
L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking
on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art.
: North Point Press, 1980.
“Media Use of
Photos Varies.” MSNBC News. 1 Apr. 2004. International
News. 29 Apr. 2004
Community Info. 1 Apr.
Row, D.K. “An Eye
’s Icons.” The Oregonian [
] 14 Mar. 2004: D6, D8.
Personal interview. 16 Mar. 2004.