All Good Things Must Come To An End…(Until next semester)

Hey Precollegers!

Sadly, this will be my last blog post for the semester :(. Today I’m going to focus on my final project and portfolio review! For my photography class last week we had to submit our portfolios with 5 darkroom images, 4 aperture, 4 studio, and 5 images for our final on the theme of our choice. We had to submit prints of these in our portfolios, and also as .jpegs on a flashdrive as well.  My favorite images were definitely my studio shots and my final. This week, we got our portfolios back, and had to hang and display our finals on the walls around the classroom. We then spent the class each presenting our final, talking about our technique, theme, message we wanted to convey, style, lighting, and any other side notes or specifications. It was very cool to see everyone’s work because throughout the past 11(ish) weeks, we have all worked together, yet we really haven’t seen anyone’s images, unless you got to glance at their prints in the darkroom. It was exciting to see how everyone’s subject matter and styles varied, and I was blown away by how talented some of my classmates are! I have definitely grasped onto some inspiration after watching everyone present their finals. The concept of my final was to focus on the the pains that humans (specifically women) go through in order to be deemed acceptable and beautiful by society. This isn’t the most unique concept, but I believe that my way of approaching the subject was creative. Instead of using mirrors, makeup, and measuring tapes, I used glitter. Silver glitter. Silver glitter masking my model’s face in a public coffee shop and in a bathtub. She was not wearing any makeup or had anything done to her hair in order to not distract my audience from anything but the glitter. I chose glitter because it is a texture that catches people’s’ eyes, and glitter is a pretty thing. I wanted a pretty thing to represent an ugly subject. On the surface, glitter is beautiful and glamorous, but in reality, the glitter was making my model uncomfortable and even unhappy at times from how long she had to be plastered with it. In the 2 images of her in public, she looks uncomfortable and upset–even though in these images she is stereotypically the ‘most’ beautiful. She averts eye contact with the camera, either looking down or to the side, showing the  humiliation and insecurities that she possesses as she feels vulnerable, even though she is the most covered in these images. My next 2 are of my model in a bathtub in only lingerie, removing the glitter from her face and rinsing off in the shower. In my third image, she is making direct eye contact with the camera, defying her insecurities and finally taking hold of herself and taking charge of her body and beauty. I loved the colors and lighting in these two images, and someone in my class even commented that the one of her in the shower looks like a movie still (a huge compliment to me!). My last image is of my model in a glass room, still in her lingerie, but with her glitter cleaned and her face bare. She is at her most vulnerable state here–half naked in a room with a towel on her head and no glitter mask to hide her flaws and face. But if you look at her body language and facial expression, it is clear to see that she is her most comfortable here. Although her eyes are closed and she can’t make eye contact with the camera, I wanted her eyes closed to show that she is finally in touch with herself, alone in her head and in her body, and comfortable. At the end of the day, we as humans, expose ourselves and our flaws, and we need to learn to accept ourselves. Even without glitter on her face, my model is still beautiful, even more so than with the mask. True comfort should be seeked from within ourselves, and we cannot rely on outside factors to help radiate our internal beauty to our outside.

Overall I am extremely satisfied with my final, and I received nothing but good vibes and comments from my classmates and professor. Looking at my portfolio, it is amazing to see how much my art and technique have changed and improved in under three months. I am so grateful for my experience in this Precollege FIT course, and I am already looking forward to next semester.

Have a wonderful summer, and I hope to write again soon!

-Francesca

My final exhibition in my classroom

My final exhibition in my classroom

Final 1

Final 1

Final 2

Final 2

Final 3

Final 3

Final 4

Final 4

Final 5

Final 5

 

A Glimpse at a Photographer’s Final

Hey Precollegers!

 

The end of the semester is right around the corner–2 weeks left of classes, and finals are due this week! I am currently drowning in prints, negatives, and .jpeg files to organize and hand in. After class on Saturday, I rushed to the FIT Barnes and Noble to pick up a portfolio for my final before I grabbed lunch, and ran to catch my train.Today, I shot with my model for my final project, and we completed the last part of my 3 part series!

I’m freaking out currently, because I will be In Los Angeles from Wednesday to Friday night, and our final is due Saturday morning. I have very limited time to get my digitals printed. I need to narrow down to 2 photos from over 200 taken today to add to my final. My model and good friend Anna agreed to let me cover her entire face in glitter one last time (bless her). I then took a few shots in my backyard due to the silver glitter reflecting beautifully against the deep green color scheme of the budding foliage because of the recent cloudy and drizzly days. She posed on various rocks in a field of lilies of the valley, and the colors really came out breathtaking. After about 20 minutes, we drove to a town next to mine to take photos of her in public, specifically one of my favorite coffee shops. Anna posing in a public location with a face of glitter is meant to represent the face you have to put on for society, even if it is not something that you personally enjoy. In my shots, Anna did a great job of portraying a girl that is uncomfortable in her skin due to the mask that she has to hide behind in order to be deemed “beautiful”. A few odd looks and funny remarks were made regarding her appearance, but overall people were more amused than anything. A few people asked about her face, and once you tell them that it’s for art and you have a camera around your neck, people generally stop with the questions. It was actually satisfying to see some peoples’ faces brighten up when they saw a dazzling glittery girl enter the same room as them. Of course,  few toddlers were afraid on our walk, but that’s not too surprising. After posing with her cafe mocha for about a half an hour in a beautifully lit and aesthetically pleasing environment, we grabbed a quick dinner and ended my final shoot. I’m looking through my pictures right now, and I can easily say that it is going to be hard to choose just 2 to make my 5 photos-based-on-a-theme final for my Introduction to Traditional & Digital Photography    class. I’ll leave a few sneak peaks below of what I shot today, and some of my darkroom rough-draft prints from past classes. How are your guy’s final projects coming along? Let me know in the comments below!

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See you guys next week!

-Francesca

A Photography Student’s Point of View on VSCO Cam

Hey guys!

VSCO cam–one of the most popular photo editing apps of our teenage generation…but not for a reason that I am very proud of. We are the generation of photo editing, Instagram and an overwhelming overflow of social media. I fully support the convenience of being able to take and edit photos on a whim, however, I am not the biggest fan of people thinking that a bad photo can be fixed with a nice filter. Obviously this app is not the reason for this plague of poor quality editing, but I have noticed that the popularity of filtering photos has skyrocketed since the app became more popular about two years ago. I follow my fair share of friends/family, celebrities, photographers, and companies on Instagram, and other than photographers and companies, pretty much everyone else is guilty of this. Even looking back on my old photos, I cringe seeing the amount of times I used the P5 filter on VSCO to edit a photo. Now, I focus on using the lowest concentration of a filter on a photo for the gram, and I use filters that accentuate the best parts of the photo. In fact, taking a photography course at FIT has made me focus more on certain aspects of a photo that cannot be fixed with a simple filter. In the studio I have learned how to control the lighting, and shadows, and angles present in my shot, and using the darkroom for printing has exposed me to the rawest form of editing, because I can only control the exposure and contrast when printing film in black and white. I have even had conversations with other Precollege students, both in and out of the photography department, agreeing that cell phone photo editing can almost be annoying because of how everyone suddenly thinks they are a professional photographer by slapping a pretty filter on a poorly constructed photo. I have a lot of respect for people that don’t even edit their photos (#nofilter), and most of my peers at FIT follow that trend. A trend that has been dying out is having an attractive Instagram “theme”–having the same filter and color scheme throughout their photos. I feel that along with the trend of unedited models and people with more ‘realistic’ body types being showcased in the media has had an effect on this. While people’s Instagram feeds may not be as aesthetically pleasing, each individual photo is now a lot more quality and just overall gives off better vibes because you are looking at what actually happened. In my opinion, I would rather look at a raw and maybe not 100% perfect photo, rather than an over edited and unnaturally posed picture. Abusing filters and being able to skew people’s perception of you and your life via social media is something that I am very against and I honestly just lose some respect for someone when they are too in over their head about themselves and their feed. Another quick complaint I have about VSCO is how people use this platform to showcase the parts of their life that they want people to know about, but don’t want to completely publicize. This totally differs depending on where you live. I’ve noticed that people that I follow from NYC, and more specifically FIT,  have tasteful and artistic photos posted up to their VSCO page–perfect! And then there’s people in my town. Selfies, parties, vaping, vandalism, selfies, screenshots of text messages with their significant others (what filter are you even going to put on a text message???), oh, and more selfies. I personally rarely update my VSCO profile, but when I do it’s usually pictures from shoots with my friends or vacation pics taken on my camera. Again, I feel very strongly about this due to my involvement with photography and the arts, especially now that I have some experience in a more professional photography environment thanks to the Precollege program. Below I’ll post some screenshots of Instagram profiles to showcase examples of what I have been ranting about this entire time. 

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An aesthetically pleasing Instagram theme that highlights golds and pale accents

IMG_6675

Filter options on this popular editing app–VSCO

My good friend and also a pre college student that has adapted the 'no filter' theme for his Instagram profile

My good friend and also a pre college student that has adapted the ‘no filter’ theme for his Instagram profile

 

Do any of you guys have social media pet peeves? How do you feel about modern photo editing? 

Until next week,

-Francesca

First Studio Shoot Experience and Final Project Progress

Hi Precollegers!

Over this past weekend I had the opportunity of conducting two photoshoots for my class at FIT. One was in the studio here at school, and my second one was the next day, to show progress on my final project. This post will be divided into two my two shoots, and to describe my experience with both–obviously I will include some photos for you all, too.

On Saturday I participated in my first studio shoot, and while some parts were obviously hectic, it was a very rewarding experience. After setting up lights, reflectors, backdrops, and props, the half of my class that was shooting this class spent the rest of our time shooting each other. At one point we borrowed mannequins that were just chilling in the hallway and used them for comical photos that actually came out pretty well. It was overwhelming at times when having to quickly switch from a digital to film camera, and having to balance modeling one second, to helping someone reflect lighting correctly the next. The only major issue I had while shooting was how warm I became after a while due to my jacket and hat that I kept on because people wanted to use me as a model because of my interesting outfit. Hopefully the final pictures will prove that me overheating will have been worth it–I have a pretty good feeling that it was. Personally, the easiest things to shoot were the headshots, just because the only focus of the photo was the upper body and they could be the most simplistic photos, style wise. I had a great time taking headshots of one girl in my class because she has insanely beautiful curly red hair and porcelain skin, which highlights her bright blue eyes even more. I loved using the reflectors to correct the lighting of the shots; I never realized how much of a difference good lighting could make. Here are a few of my favorite shots from Saturday–both serious and joke photos:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.33.39 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.33.33 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.33.09 PM

On Sunday I was determined to start my final project, which is a series of photos surrounding a theme of your choosing. I have decided to center mine around societal beauty standards—cliche, I know, but I will go more in depth about my concept and execution of my idea in my final blog post of the semester, dedicated to final projects. My close friend Anna agreed to be my model for this shoot, and she was the perfect choice. This shoot could be slightly controversial, due to minor nudity (don’t worry she is in nude underwear and bra), so I’m only going to post photos here that don’t show too much skin. The shoot didn’t take long to set up, being that it was mostly taken in my bathtub, but it took FOREVER to clean up. Glitter will go everywhere and anywhere and I owe Anna big time for doing everything that she did for me. Only the most genuine friends will agree to let you strip them down and smear glitter on their face and stick it on her tongue for aesthetic purposes. I wouldn’t be surprised if she still was finding glitter in her underwear a week later. I still have to shoot part 1 of this project with Anna (parts 2 and 3 are what I shot Sunday)–I’m sure she’ll be ecstatic to know that now I have to take pictures of her with a glittery face in PUBLIC!! Here are some of my favorite and audience appropriate photos from this shoot:

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Let me know your opinions on both shoots in the comments below–have any of you ever created controversial art?

See you next week!

-Francesca

FIT Photography Class Trends 2016

Hey Precollegers!
Unlike most of the courses offered at FIT, photography is one of the subjects that isn’t fashion oriented. Walking around campus on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll see a majority of precollege students donning the newest trends and designer clothing and accessories. However, in the photography department, things run a little differently. Not to say that photographers don’t dress well and are clueless on style, but most of my classmates and I possess a style that is practical, yet artistic. I have noticed some reoccurring trends that are present in the classroom, and I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to photography class trends. I like to think of a simple description of a photographer’s style this way: photographer’s can’t care as much about how they look compared to other people—they’re too busy making sure that everyone else looks good.

1. Dark colors
Especially when working in the darkroom, darker colors are important to wear to hide chemical stains. Wearing black when shooting in the studio is also helpful to not distract from the shoot, and it’s easier to tell who the photographers are when they’re in all dark colors. The only downside to dark clothing in the studio is that you’ll be a little warmer due to dark colors attracting heat from light. Other than that however, when in doubt, I just opt for black.

2. Stylish but comfortable footwear
I’ve noticed that a lot of people in my class wear Vans and Doc Martens—comfortable shoes that are easy to style and can really add character to an outfit. I’m a huge fan of both shoes, and they also add to the cool-artistic- alternative vibe that photographers tend to possess. Yes, we know we’re better than you. And we’re wearing dark colors and angsty footwear to prove that. (I really hope that you’ve noted my sarcasm here).
3. Fjällräven backpacks
As someone in my class once said “This is the backpack owned by every art student ever”. At my high school, maybe 3 other kids have this bag, but walking into class on the first day I found myself matching with 4 other girls! These backpacks are from Sweden and were originally designed for Swedish school children, hence their playful and childish vibe. They are a very bold and unique shape, and add a lot of personality to any casual outfit. They are also just the right size to carry a photography binder and camera, two obvious necessities for this class. To personalize their bags, some of my classmates sew on patches or attach pins to them, too.
4. Thrifted pieces
A majority of my class are second hand enthusiasts—myself included. Thrifted jeans, flannels, jackets and t-shirts are often found on the students in my class. Comfortable, practical, and probably cheaper, thrifted pieces are perfect to wear in an artistic class with a lot of moving and creating. Although our outfits are pretty simple for the most part, one of a kind pieces are sure to add character to a seemingly basic ensemble.

Layers of black textures with statement Docs

Layers of black textures with statement Docs

3 ladies rocking their Fjällrävens--original and mini sizes

3 ladies rocking their Fjällrävens–original and mini sizes

Thrifted mom jeans, various vans, and dark colors

Thrifted mom jeans, various vans, and dark colors

Thrifted layers with darker and muted tones

Thrifted layers with darker and muted tones

I hope this post gave you all some insight on typical precollege photographer styles!

See you next week!
-Francesca