if you have simplicity

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Godthul by Peter Eastway 2015

I couldn’t find “Through A Lens, Darkly: Black Photographers and The Emergence of a People” so, instead I decided to watch Tales by Light episode five: panorama. It was the most aesthetically pleasing documentary about what it takes to photograph in wild life and what it means to the the photographer. Peter Eastway’s journey throughout this film was him shadowing, Frank Hurley’s journey through Antartica heading to South Georgia.

Before I move on, I want to say that the camera is not the one taking the picture (hypothetically speaking), the photographer is. Personally, Eastway definitely portrayed this character throughout and it was so beautiful to see watch it happen. When he said that, “photography is about composition and communicating,” it definitely emphasized the point of photography being more than just an aesthetic, it’s about lines, light and I agree one hundred percent with him, composition.

I truly enjoyed this episode of the show and the thing that I enjoyed the most is that Peter was so passionate about his work that when the sun hit his face, it illuminated every bit of him. “Photographers have a contract with society, when people see photographs many of them have an expectation that it is real. If you’re a documentary photographer you need to respect that” (Eastway) but for him it’s different because he wasn’t’ photographing for moments, he was photographing to capture the true essence of life that he was surrounded by: wild animals that weren’t afraid to get near you. Every picture he took was all about simplicity, if you have that in your images, then composition and light are easy to come by.

preferred lighting.

Hey, light it up through this tutorial!

It talks about how the different types of keys define the overall tone of the final portrait. There’s three different kind of keys: low, middle, and high. To identify the key of a portrait you can determine the average tone for the scene.

Each key has it’s way of functioning: low key is created by using a dark background and dark clothing and props-it has more dark elements than bright ones. The shoot may be shot with a higher ratio as contrast is acceptable due to the drama of a lower tone.

Middle key is the set tone that is in the middle of high and low. The way you can set this tone is by using skin tone and clothing may be used to accent the tone of the skin with contrast rather than allowing all elements to blend together.

High key is setup completely differently. It requires more lighting, power and equipment! Aside that, it also requires a great deal of light control and has the most risk of overexposure and could possibly lose details around the portrait, which is something we don’t want! So, the background of this portrait is paper because it is slightly overexposed which results in a pure white seamless background. Also, if a model is involved, it is best for them to wear bright clothing.

revolutionary work.

I love music and I love the way it changes the way you tell a story. One of the Art Professors here at, Guilford College, came up with a topic on how music has changed but yet still stay the same. Everyone in the room received a different objective through a little piece of paper. I got, “paint a picture without using paint.” I created a portrait of Nina Simone.

Years ago, way before I was born, Nina Simone came up with a song by the name of “Mississippi G–dam.” In this time period, for you to be a black woman and to even be in the music business was a huge deal! But, then she came out with this song and people started losing their minds! Speechless even. In the song, Nina was talking about all the problems that were happening from Alabama to Mississippi, to the mistreatment of black people.

Nina Simone used her success to promote the revolution and even marched from Selma to Montgomery with several well-known civil rights leaders including Martin L. King and Malcolm X. (She was also neighbors with X.) At the march she sang “Mississippi G–dam” where more people started to hear about it and caused her career to fall.

No one wanted to book her anymore because they all thought she was going to come out with her ideas on revolutionizing and resisting and that didn’t help because most of her audience were white people.

Her documentary: What happened Nina Simone? explains more in-depth on her life and her music career.

About the portrait:

Nina Simone is surrounded by brown circles with green blotches that represented black women in uniforms wanting black liberation: black-women

and behind them are lyrics to one of Nina’s most controversial songs. Her shirt says “g–dam!” and is shaded in to represent her 1971 album, “Here Comes The Sun.” Above her head are fists in all shades fighting for one thing: Liberation.

Alternatives to paint used for portrait:

  • oil pastels
  • cigarette ash
  • melted plastic
  • pencil
  • pen

digital nature.

Today, I am standing on grass. Today, I am breathing non-toxic air. Today, I realized I have lived two decades and four months. I have lived.

I was sitting in class and we were watching a short PBS documentary, “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground” and I am so thankful to be alive and to have experienced as much as have because this documentary opened my eyes to what I always tend to forget: I am privileged even during current events.

Unlike Ghana, I’m not walking on dismantled metal from used technology and I’m not mixing a large barrel of toxic chemicals to melt the metal and I’m not devaluating my experiences but instead uplifting the fact that I have a small opportunity to help what is happening around the world. As a millennial, I am what the market is looking at. My demographic is very important right now because, CAPITALISM!

The economy works for me and if I make a small shift and encourage others to do the same, everything will shift. Of course, this has to be a large number of people but if I start somewhere that means so much more than just sitting here on this green grass, typing on my computer that will be disposed somewhere in another country that has metal dumping grounds and kill several people.

Do things for impact not intent. This moment will become a movement.

blind transit.

On July of 2016, I decided to take a very spontaneous trip to my childhood home, Panorama City, California. When I arrived at LAX, I was greeted by my oldest Uncle, Celestino. Let me tell you, I left California at the age of 4 years old so, little did he know he was going to see me eleven years later. At first he didn’t recognize me but, my mother’s side has a very distinguishable nose so, it wasn’t hard to figure out who was my uncle. Short ole’ man that was full of joy when he saw me. I will never forget a warm moment of that reunion.

This trip was full of getting out of my comfort zone. I’m an introverted-extrovert. I love silence and the feeling of being comfortable in skin at all times and none of this happened for two weeks. My Uncle took me to meet family members that also haven’t seen me in years; there were godmothers that didn’t want to meet me, there were aunts who wanted to know what my parents looked like now because they also haven’t seen them in years, and cousins who wanted nothing to do with me. But, aside from the negative and some positive.

My Uncle introduced me to a young fourteen-year-old, she truly made my travels unforgettable. We walked everywhere: to El Pollo Loco, where you can find real rotisserie chicken at a fast food restaurant, El Gallo Giro, where I ate the greatest huarache that my stomach ever experienced, and then to truly experience social anxiety in another state I decided to learn how to use public transit!

And to be honest, the anxiety wasn’t even that bad! I took a risk and it helped me grow. This trip was worth every single dark moment because there was so much light to cover every bit of it.