Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jia's Blog

My name is Jia Garcia and I am nine and in the third grade at St. Rose of Lima. I like taking pictures because it is fun. I do not own a camera, so I use my itouch which was given to me by my grandpa for Christmas. I am also a IPC Visual Lab student who enjoy making pretty pictures. I want to share my visual world with the pictures that I am making while attending photo classes.

“Lady Geisha,” Miami, Florida 2010 -- Geisha is our three year-old bull terrier. She is resting after running around and chasing lizards all day at her favorite spot in our house, our living room couch. I thought Geisha was cute resting on the couch. So I got my itouch and slowly moved to make this picture. Do you think she is cute? I love Geisha because she listens and is a good girl. We adopted Geisha from the Human Society in 2010. This was made after four months of Geisha’s arrival.

“Nosy Geisha,” Miami, Florida 2011 - Geisha places her nose inside a hole while searching for lizards. My mother sometimes yells at Geisha because she misbehaves. It makes me feel sad for
her because I know that she is a good girl.

“Shapes and Circles,” Miami, Florida 2011 - This the last picture taken of my grandpa’s outdoor table. I was looking for shapes around my house to photograph and notice the squares, rectangle, and two circles formed by the tiles. I am happy that we have this picture because it was destroyed by workers removing tree. Part of the tree fell on the table splitting it in half.

“Antique Times,” Miami, Florida 2011 - This my mother’s favorite picture because her best friend gave her this antique
phone as a gift before I was born. I was walking around our house looking for shapes and numbers. The phone caught my eye, but I did not like where it was. So, I move it to clean the background so that the phone can stand out.

“Mr. Blue,” Miami, Florida 2011 - My pet peacock is named “Mr. Peter.” I love his colorful feathers. I was asked to make a photo of him. I saw his blue and green colored feathers so I walked close to him and zoomed in . Blue is my favorite color. What is yours?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

St. Agnes and La Via Crucis

Every Good Friday, the day Catholics observe the death of Jesus, St. Agnes Parish in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood walks the way of the cross, or La Via Crucis. It's a live journey that explores the Passion of Christ. A group of volunteer actors from the church act out the Stations of the Cross as they walk through a neighborhood that is torn by gang violence.

Faith is one of the aspects that unites the community and it's very apparent on religious holidays. La Via Crucis in Little Village is a journey into a neighborhood that has roots for many Hispanics. It's one of the communities that we call home and this exhibition of faith and religion is important to many of us. Even on a cold and rainy day La Fey, the faith, drives hundreds to witness a yearly tradition.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Moment of Pause

I never met Tim Hetherington and knew Chris Hondros only in passing covering assignments in Haiti and Iraq. However, the work of both photojournalists speaks volumes to the passion and the intelligence in which they approached visual reportage. In industry filled with gadgets and the 'the-next-new-thing," Hetherington and Hondros exemplified the importance of visual story-telling and have paid an enormous price in keeping us informed.

Not driven by fame, nor sustained by glory, but governed and seduced by the need only to bring truth and light to many strangers' story. Their cameras have fallen but their voices have not been silenced for the images they have left are a reminder to us all of the value and purpose of their calling.

So as we try to move forward, photojournalists from around the world share in the news of the passing of our two brethren. Let us mourn our collective loss, and pause for the truth and light that we have been given.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In Memory of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My House, My Life : Jia Garcia

My name is Jia Garcia and I am nine and in the third grade at St. Rose of Lima. I like taking pictures because it is fun. I do not own a camera, so I use my itouch which was given to me by my grandpa for Christmas. I am also a IPC Visual Lab student who enjoy making pretty pictures. I want to share my visual world with the pictures that I am making while attending photo classes. My first picture is entitled "Feather." I wanted to take a photo of the shadow of my pet peacock's feather. My instructor wanted me to make a picture that has shadows and light.


I took this picture in my kitchen in the afternoon. The reason I took this picture is because I saw the feather and I wanted to take a picture of it.

Shadow Hand

I took this picture in my kitchen in the afternoon. The reason I took it is because I saw my sisters hand as a shadow and I thought it looked cool.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Inner Vision

As part of the independent study curriculum for the Iris PhotoCollective Visual Lab, instructor Carl Juste asked me to shoot one frame every day for the 10 weeks of the course.

Day7: Lost Time

It didn't take me long to miss a day. I was sick and wheezing and trying to focus on anything, much less focus a camera lens on something interesting, required more energy than I had. So, I made a decision to take the day, rest up, and make a strong image the next day to make up for it.

Day8: Weeds

When: 29 March, 2011 2:44 p.m.
Where: abandoned parking garage off 6th and West, South Beach
Exposure: F6.3, 1/800, ISO80

Inner Thoughts:
This corner is on my way to Publix. Every time I pass by, I look up at the weeds growing from the abandoned planters. On this day, I was interested in their silhouettes against the concrete, and in how the weeds were perpendicular to the horizontal lines of the garage.

I was drawn to the symmetry in this parking garage, the strong horizontal and vertical lines and alternating planes of light and dark. The weeds growing from the abandoned planters struggle to break free from these confined spaces, casting some disordered shadows onto the pattern in the concrete. It's a futile struggle, though: nature is too weak to overtake the man-structure.

Day9: The Pan

When: 30 March,2011 6:54 p.m.
Where: 9th and West, South Beach
Exposure: F4.1, 1/60, ISO400

Inner Thoughts: I made a point of taking photos of all the bicycles that passed me on my walk to the gym, to see if I could intentionally get the bikes in focus but the background blurred. (There's a technical term for that, right?) This was the cleanest frame, showing the motion of the bicycle from left to right.

The bicycle in motion is a reaction to the immobility of the parking garage the day before. Humanity enters the frame, with speed.

Day10: Tethered

When: 31 March,2011 6:39 p.m.
Where: boat slips, 8th and West, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/500, ISO80

Inner Thoughts: Of all the boats, vessels and buoys lined up in a row, this dock and this boat immediately appeared to me as a pair. A pair of mismatched objects, tenuously tethered together while sunlight wedges between them.

Carl's response: "I really like this, but I don't know why." Neither do I. The boat was drifting away from the dock, as far away as it could be in the narrow boat slip, but I still saw the two objects as a pair. I considered cropping the image from the bottom, but that would have eliminated the rope that clearly ties the boat and dock together.

Day11: Four Guys

When: 1 April,2011 7:17 p.m.
Where: 9th and Washington, South Beach
Exposure: F5.0, 1/500, ISO500

Inner Thoughts: So, I've realized that with the digital camera, I tend to stop and over-analyze the shot I've just taken. It's not very productive. To get myself out of this habit, I thought I'd try out the high-burst option on my camera and shoot from the hip on my walks to and from the gym, aiming for groups of people standing or walking together. This isn't the best idea I've ever had. I ended up with 1.5 usable frames. So, I learned something: I really need to stop and focus.

Carl may have liked the boat picture, but what he really wanted to see was people. So, I found people. I like this shot of these four guys standing around on Washington Ave. in South Beach, but I'm not sure why exactly I like it. There's something about the rhythm of their four white shirts and shadowed forms. In the other frames I shot of this group, at least two of the guys would be standing with his back to me, arms straight down at their sides. In this frame, they're all shifting somewhat.

Day12: Michael Silhouetted

When: 2 April,2011 5:29 p.m.
Where: North Shore beach park, 80th and Collins, Miami Beach
Exposure: F4.0, 1/1300, IS080

Michael Travis does a sun salutation after a run.

Inner Thoughts: Here I go shooting into the sun again. I wanted to capture his silhouette, arms outstretched toward the sun, sort of like a tree.

Michael has great tattoos on his back and arms, and I started shooting with my back to the sun, but the images all looked flat in the bright sunlight. I moved to shoot into the sun and silhouette Michael mid-pose. If I had been standing slighty lower down the hill, I could have eliminated the palm trees from the frame, or set Michael cleanly against the sky.

Day13: Jan Mapou

When: 3 April,2011 3:28 p.m.
Where: Libreri Mapou, Little Haiti
Exposure: F4.5, 1/50, IS01600

Inner Thoughts:
I'm asking Jan Mapou, well-known Haitian writer and bookstore owner, about Baby Doc, and somewhere in the middle of his thoughts about Fort Dimanche he stops looking at me and starts looking through me.

I wasn't happy with anything I shot at his book store today, and the head-in-a-box seemed like the only way to make something out of nothing interesting. Everything distracted from his face, especially the vertical lines of all the books lined up behind him. I'll have to figure out how to resolve that distraction, since Mapou will be one subject in the next portrait assignment.

Day 4: Birds

When: 25 March, 2011, 2:46 p.m.
Where: the beach off Lincoln Road, South Beach
Exposure: F6.3, 1/1300, ISO80

Inner Thoughts: I was furious with this woman for tossing Cheetos to the seagulls, luring more seagulls to the patch of beach where I was laying out. Then I pulled out my camera to see if I could capture the Cheetos in mid-air. I didn't see that the second woman had the same reaction I did and had pulled a T-shirt over her head until I looked at what I had in my camera.

Carl and I talked about cropping this photo down, making the frame more narrow to focus more quickly on the two women reacting so differently to the birds flocking overhead. I thought it was important to keep the wide shot, though, to keep a sense of scale in the photo. This one small scene on a wide beach under a big blue sky. The wider frame also preserves a sense of motion, of birds flying across the frame to get to this woman tossing Cheetos into the air.

Day 5: Pool

When: 26 March, 2011 6:52 p.m.
Where: My building's pool, South Beach
Exposure: F6.3, 1/2000, ISO1600

Inner Thoughts: Today was the first day I felt lazy about making a frame. I wanted to be where this girl was instead, just floating in the pool. I knew I was shooting into the sun, but the light in the water didn't look right when I walked to the other side of the pool.

I know the rules against shooting into the light, but I did it anyway with this image. I had walked around the pool's edge to put the sun behind me, but the light on the water didn't look the same. It just looked flat and solid, no reflections bounced off the bottom of the pool and the way the girl broke the surface of the water wasn't as remarkable as it was when the sun was in the wrong place. I shot into the sun to make the light work for me.

Day 6: Orchids

When: 27 March, 2011 7:03 p.m.
Where: Poolside, South Beach
Exposure: F4.8, 1/100, ISO80
Inner Thoughts: It's a flower picture but at least there are three flowers -- odd number rule.

Where light had worked for me the previous day, it worked against me in this frame. The white petals of the orchids would have popped so much more against a uniformly dark background, which I might have achieved if I had noticed the square of light bouncing off the building in the lower left corner of the frame. I thought an open aperture would have blurred the background enough to counteract the light, but the light still shines through.

For the first few days, I felt a panic that I wouldn't find anything interesting to shoot. My days feel like routines played over and over, home to work to home to gym to errands to home. Having to carry a camera around, though, made me more aware of the scenes I was walking through. I started seeing shapes all around me, and how light could change, highlight or distract from those shapes. By the end of the week, I knew I could find something to shoot every day. I just needed to find the light.

Day 1: Skateboards

When: 22 March, 3:59 p.m.

Why: I saw these three skateboards against the wall and thought, "Hey, that looks like the conversation I had with Carl yesterday." An odd number with a pair.

How: In a rush to get onto the treadmill, I knelt down and focused but didn't take the time to get the exposure exactly right. And now that I look closer, I see the wall tiles are in better focus than the skateboards, which is not what I intended.
Exposure: F3.3, 1/6, ISO400 on the Program setting.

Where: Crunch Gym, 13th and Washington, Miami Beach, Florida

The previous day, Carl and I had discussed how the eye naturally wants to pair elements in photos, and how odd numbers of elements can make a photograph more interesting. I saw these skateboards leaning against the wall in the gym and immediately thought, "That's the perfect illustration for that conversation." It looks like the two skateboards on the right are having a conversation while the third leans, lonely, off to the left. The problem with this image was the glare of light in the right third of the frame. Even cropped, there's too much temptation for the eye to travel there instead of focusing on the relationship of the skateboards. Shifting the composition would have solved this problem.

Day 2: Light Bowl

When: 23 March, 2011 5:02 p.m.

Where: Spa, 9th and West, South Beach

Exposure: F4, 1/1300, ISO400

Inner Thoughts: I felt like I had very limited time to take a picture today, and I was in full panic mode when I sat down in the spa and saw how the light came through the window and the glass bowl and cast shadows on the table. It was immediately soothing and I thought the contrasting shadows would work as an image. I was happy with the way it turned out in black and white.

This is a purely an abstract image. I was interested in how sunlight cast shadows through a bowl onto a white table, and then how the white table contrasted with the shadows around it. I shot an additional frame in color, but the contrast between light and dark was clearer in black and white.

Day 3: Lines Play

24 March, 2011 3:48 p.m.

Where: Stadium Court, Tennis Center at Crandon Park, Miami, Florida

Exposure: F4.9, 1/800, ISO80

Cutline: Bethanie Mattek-Sands, in foreground, prepares to volley a return struck by Caroline Wozniaki in the first round of women's tennis at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida.

Inner Thoughts: I thought it would be easy to find interesting photos at the tennis tournament, but I found it difficult to deal with the bright sunlight. I settled for testing out the zoom ability on my camera. What I really wanted was to get both players in the frame, so I zoomed and focused on the net and short court early in the point and waited for both to enter the frame before I clicked the shutter.

This image is all about lines: the intersecting lines of the court, the line of the net bisecting the frame and the diagonal line the players are traveling as they play out the point.

Inner Vision: In My View

AP writer and aspiring photographer, Jennifer Kay, took the time to reflect on two different books devoted to the art of documentary portraiture. Iris is encouraging photographers to compare styles,approaches,and to deconstruct how, why, and to whom images are made. Here are some of her thoughts.

Both books are examples of black and white documentary portraiture, but the photographers’ have different philosophies about what that means. Each definition suits the assignment before each photographer. The images freeze the subjects at specific moments in time (in the athletes’ cases, at the height of their physical powers) but there’s a timeless quality in both projects.

Griffin was tasked with shooting 50 portraits to accompany interviews with various members of the Miami community, who were asked to reflect on some aspect of the city’s history or culture. So, there is a soft, reflective quality to these deceptively simple pictures. The subjects are quiet, at ease, and Griffin finds the light for each face. Each composition clearly informs the viewer about some aspect of the subject’s personality or profession or niche. It’s as if each subject just paused -- not posed -- in the midst of some routine in a familiar landscape. Turning each page, the reader turns a corner and finds each person as they likely would be had a camera not been present.

Leibovitz’s images are explicitly posed and directed. Tension pulses in each image, as each image is designed to display the build-up before the action, that moment before the muscles flex. The sharp lines of the sports equipment and in the athletes’ poses reflect the alignment and perfection that sports demand at the Olympic level. The formality of the compositions mirrors the discipline of the athletes, to whom form is so important. Each composition may not be a true “natural habitat” for the sports featured, but the images do show that each athlete’s “natural habitat” is really something internal or something found in a team.