I took this picture when I was shooting for the person at work assignment. Henry Wagner was his name and he would not let you forget it. He is about 5 and all his mom wanted to do was quickly get her 4 boys through their final suit fittings for Easter. He would not sit still. Finally she said that if you are bad the Easter Bunny will not come. Being the ever present baby sitter I decided to help the mom out and talk to her son. I asked him about Easter and what kind of candy he likes, just things to get him to stand still. His face lit up when I asked him about candy and everything he said made me laugh. His best line was, “Every year my mommy eats my chocolate bunny, but I don’t care because I like jelly beans and the yellow Peeps better”. He was just so funny. I know the shot is not as close as it could be, but the way the light hit his face was really great. He was so happy and you can see that in his expression. The reason he is hanging on the door was because he was trying to bribe his mom with good behavior to get her to bring them to the toy store next door. I took some pictures this weekend while I was out and about, but something kept bringing me back to this little boy. I dont know why really but I had fun with this.
I was really excited about this assignment. It honestly seemed right up my alley. I am kind of a nerd with any form of editorial photography, especially when it comes to fashion. I honestly did not think it would be all that difficult to find inspiration for this assignment. It seemed really easy. I was wrong… Everything I attempted was way too conceptual or just too out there. Then I remembered reading something about Pintrest, a couple months ago there was a creepy influx of really extreme ways to lose weight and be thin. Many of the images actually supported anorexia and bulimia as healthy ways of life. Pintrest got a lot of flack for allowing this to happen and when they were made aware of it, the website promptly changed their mission statement and had the images removed. The images are negative and do not promote self worth at all, that thought alone prompted me to start playing with a fabric tape measure, a scale, some almonds, and a couple of insanely thin actresses on the covers of Elle and Cosmopolitan. It is stark, but then again aren’t most incredibly thin people relatively stark?
I really enjoyed this assignment. I decided to do it in two ways because I was unsure of what I wanted my direction to be. I went to a store that my aunt and her friend manage in Ladue and I went to the bean about 40 minutes ago. I was glad that I did it in this way because I had more to choose from photo wise and I was able to actually talk to two people I see on a daily basis. Debra and Sharia are the two women I see on everyday when I make one of my trips to the Bean. I took a few photos and just talked to them for a while. It was a really calm experience because of 2 things, 1. I was the only one in there with them and 2. for the first time in a while I was not awkwardly “stalking” people with a camera. It felt oddly natural to be shooting the breeze and taking pictures while they worked. The reason I went to the store my Aunt Rita manages is because she seems so bored with her life, she updates facebook constantly. I wanted to capture that, but I was unable to do so because it was busy. There were children running around the store while they were being fitted for suits and picking up Easter and First Communion outfits.
This is a picture of Debra from the Bean. She is always smiling, happy, and is always has an almost serene calmness that emanates from her all the time.
I wanted to go to an actual sporting event and take pictures, but I was working all weekend. I decided to go to the rec center and take pictures. Let’s just say that I felt like a major creep taking pictures of people playing basketball and racket-ball. I found out that the swim team was practicing and decided to go to the upper deck and snap some shots. I had issues with lighting and obviously did not have the telephoto lens. It could have been a really fun assignment, but my own awkwardness got in the way of it. And such is life..
There have been times in my life where St Louis felt like a relatively big city, but that was not the case when I was attempting to find news… I learned something very quickly: you cannot plan for news… I tried that and failed so I was forced to adapt. I ended up going to forest park to check out the exhibits at the Art Museum and the History Museum. I figured that because I had “advance notice” of the event that it counted as news (yes I justified it). They were very picky about where I was allowed to take pictures. I focused on signs about the exhibitions that were inside the museums and outside on the gorgeous grounds of Forest Park. The first picture was an experiment of sorts, the sunlight was almost unnatural it was so bright. This is a sign for the Civil War exhibit at the History Museum. The next one is a shot of the outside of the exhibit at the Art Museum. I do not know if they are particularly good, but I like them.
I came to the realization that there is not a lot of activity going on right now besides Lent. I decided to stick with an area of St Louis that I know very well. My mom grew up on the Hill and though I myself did not, I have a lot of memories of the area. I walked around for about 2 hours and there were not a lot of people. I tried to get into the church, but apparently they lock the doors now. I went to John Viviano and Sons grocery store and started taking pictures. It was clear that even though they agreed to let me shoot, I was not very welcomed company. I looked up and saw this lovely picture of Budweiser that is of course accompanied by a very nice cheese spread. Like it or not, this image describes the Hill. They love their gourmet, authentic Italian cuisine, but in the spring and summer all you see are old men outside on their porches drinking Budweiser and eating. They can also be found doing the same thing while playing Bocci Ball.
I really enjoyed this assignment. I thought it was going to be very awkward to pose someone. My only experience with portraits is having them taken for my mother mainly and senior pictures in high school. They were awkward and the photographer was kind of weird. I took my friend Jane to the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. We took pictures for a little while and then noticed a couple sitting on a ledge enjoying the weather. I asked them if I could take their picture. They reluctantly obliged. I told them to be themselves but to stay cuddled together. This was one of the first shots I took of them. My goal was to make it look like an engagement photo that you would see in a local paper. This was a really relaxed assignment and I think it was because there was so much freedom.
Aside from the recent bouts of rain and snow, I have realized that St Louis does not have a lot of weather. As explicit as the assignment was… I was not inspired at all. People coping with weather literally means people wearing coats and what not. It was really hard to find interesting shots.
I took this photo of a homeless man standing in The Loop on Valentine’s Day. He was just shaking his cup, begging for money as most homeless people do. It was drizzling and the poor man looked cold, hungry, lonely, and yet he had a surprisingly good attitude. I realize that it is hard to actually see the man. I figured that on a holiday that celebrates love, he felt somewhat akin to the wet darkness of such an evening. No one was stopping to give him any money. I asked him if I could take his picture and all he wanted in return was someone to talk to while I took some shots. I do not remember much of the conversation because what he was saying was nonsensical. I gave him money because I felt bad for him and he probably needed my cash for Starbucks a lot more than I did.
This was an interesting assignment. I found it hard to figure out what exactly I wanted to shoot. The assignment was focused, but in a very unstructured way. I did not really know where to begin. I made the conscious decision to keep the camera with me every time I left campus because I was so unaware of how I wanted to go about this. On my last attempt I pulled over in the Loop to photograph a homeless man to which I paid him for his time. Oddly enough I did not like any of those shots.
The majority of my photos for this were taken at my parents’ house in University City. I ran home before work and just put the dog outside and started shooting in my yard around 4:45 PM. This was the shot I chose for color. I have seen this stop sign almost everyday of my life and for some reason I realized how jarring it is because of its surroundings.
This next photo was the one I chose for mood. Yep, this is my dog and for some reason every time there is a camera around she poses for it. There is something about her expression here that really captures the emotions that animals possess. I realize that it is close and that I cut off her body. I honestly did not care because I do not think I would have been able to capture the look in her eyes from farther away.
The photo I chose for light was literally luck. I was driving back from work on Tuesday night and saw this garden shop basically bleeding this amber/ gold light in the midst of a completely pitch black street. I quickly drove like an idiot and pulled into the parking lot. The horizon seems off but I was standing on the edge of a planter grabbing a light post while trying not to fall over into oncoming traffic. It just seemed really pretty. I tried taking shots that were closer to the building itself, but the effect was not nearly as nice. I was determined to shoot all four of the lights framing the windows.
This was the first usable picture I took. The previous pictures were trial and error with aperture, shutter speed, and all of the other multitudes that go into taking a picture. It is not very straight and I think it was clear that my body position was at an angle. This was the moment that I decided to really focus on Mollie’s hands. She is Italian and I never realized how so much of her expression comes through from her hands.
This photo was the last one I took for this assignment. My main goal with this shot was to show the as much of the space I was shooting, but still keep the majority of the light around the subject. Mollie was a really good sport and let me as she said, “stalk her” with a camera. The main issue that I have with the photograph is the way that I framed it. I like the overall effect, but I wish I would have shut the door to the bedroom and moved closer to the kitchen table to center the shot a bit more.
This picture is the one that I chose to end the photo story with because it was a culmination of the time I spend shooting Mollie. Both of us were ready to drink our tea and eat our cupcakes without the sound of the shutter interrupting our conversation. As I stood on her couch to get a high angle, I used the zoom because without it I would lose the concentration in my subject. Every part of her is individually focused on something. I really liked the way the chair opens up in a way to frame her and point the eye towards the coffee table, which is where so much of the action is occurring. But I have the same problem here as I did with the previous shot, I should have shut the bedroom door because it detracts from the overall look of the picture.
She just decided to make us tea and serve the two of us some cupcakes while I followed her around her apartment with a camera. Had she been sitting the entire time, I think I would have been very nervous. I hate stiff photographs and even though these may not be particularly beautiful, I like them because her personality is in the shots. I may be able to see that because we are close friends, but does that really matter?