Friday, March 20, 2009

Week 6: A Big Ol' Mess

I suppose I will begin this week's photography update by saying that I am an idiot. Or, rather, that I felt like one when I realized last Saturday night that I had LEFT our camera at the Arts Center after class on Thursday. And by "I felt like an idiot," I mean I broke out into a cold sweat and started to alternate between praying for our camera's safe return and asking for forgiveness for being SO concerned about a camera (there was quite a bit of melodrama, folks). LUCKILY, I called and someone HAPPENED, by the grace of God, to be in the office to answer the phone at 8:30 pm on a Saturday, assuring me that, Yes, My camera was safely locked in the Director's office and I could come pick it up on Monday morning. My peace of mind was partially restored, but I did suffer from not being able to shoot anything over the weekend. (A small price to pay for my carelessness.)

Monday morning, with our camera safely returned to my possession, and the standard gray gloominess of DC overhead, I set out to work on this week's assignment. We had two options: (1) Emulation of a famous photographer, or (2) a Self-Portrait. I tried a little of both and was not happy with either.

In fact, I would consider my attempts at Emulation a complete failure, in part because I could not decide who to emulate. I appreciate so many photographers, particularly for photographs that I myself cannot take. I certainly do not have a steady supply of celebrities and other important folks to take photos a la Annie Leibovitz or Richard Avedon, nor am I currently surrounded by the striking natural beauty found in Ansel Adams' work (too bad I didn't take this class in Colorado!). I wandered into the National Gallery of Art, since what I do have is unrestricted access to the awesomeness that is the Smithsonian Institute. Their photography galleries are currently taken up by a full exhibition of Robert Frank's work, most notably "The Americans." He is one of those photographers who has the ability to take extraordinary photos of ordinary people and things. Which is something that I have a steady supply of. So I tried a few shots of "ordinary D.C." while strolling the Mall:

For my "selfies," I came upon the perfect tool in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and this was the result-- and also my "best shot" of the week:

The picture below was MY favorite shot, but is way too soft, focus-wise, due to my hatred of flash and the low lighting in the gallery, and didn't fall into either prong of the assignment. Once I have a tripod (or someone's back to use as one), I plan to reshoot this one.

And so I find myself preparing for the last shoot of the class. I have my assignment, and permission to complete disregard the assignment if necessary to take "great pictures." Next week we bring in the results of our last shoot, plus all of our "best" pictures from the previous weeks, and hope to find among them two pictures to be matted and framed in time for our last class on April 2nd-- an Exhibition and Celebration at our Instructor's residence.

This weekend should provide lots of opportunities to shoot- we have gorgeous (but still chilly) weather in the forecast, our friends the Whitneys in town, and tickets to the Circus tomorrow night!

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