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!