Photo Essay Final: Inspirational Tattoos

•May 4, 2009 • 2 Comments

From my perspective, getting a tattoo is a big commitment because it is something that stays with you for your entire life. It has always intrigued me to see what people have had inked on their bodies as a representation of themselves. I have seen numerous girls from my high school get a series of stars tattooed on their foot. Frustratingly enough, there is no real meaning or significance behind these cookie cutter tattoos except that the recipients think they are “cute.” I chose to photograph tattoos that were particularly inspirational to me. All of the subjects in the photos got tattoos as a means to express themselves and signify something of importance to them; none of them are meaningless.

Everyone who allowed me to photograph them explained to me the story behind their own individual tattoos. William had a stylized Keith Haring painting of a heart tattooed on his back to represent life and love, the two things he considers most important. Sarah got a tattoo of a circle on her wrist to signify the countless cycles in life as well as earth’s tendency to replenish itself. Riley had the word dandelion written in the ancient language of ruins tattooed on herself in memory of her best friend Ethan who died last year, who always scribbled it simply because he liked the way it looked. Natalie had the words dream, inspire, and create tattooed on her foot to portray an inspirational, yet straightforward message. Lydia had her family crest tattooed on her forearm, which she created in a story she wrote when she was younger, to symbolize her creativity. Kate had a Keith Haring painting of a tree on her back to symbolize all the life on planet earth, whether it be human or botanical. Joanne is a cancer survivor, so she had the inspirational phrase, “Hold your own, know your name, go your own way,” tattooed on her rib cage. Amy got a tattoo as a memorial to her father and her friend Cassie who both died in car accidents. Allee got a tattoo of an anchor on her hip to symbolize her love for her home state of Rhode Island, the ocean state. Alicia got a tattoo of the eight radial arrows to symbolize that there are many paths you can take in life, and the decision of which to choose is completely up to you.

All of these photos were taken with an Exilim Casio EX-S880 digital camera.

Various Shots

•March 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Commercial Review: Zazoo Condoms

•March 31, 2009 • 1 Comment

This is a clever commercial for the Dutch brand Zazoo condoms. This clip starts off with a child in the foreground, grabbing a bag of junk food from a shelf on the left and placing it into his father’s shopping cart, which is located behind him.  The shot then switches to the face of the young boy located in the foreground, with shelves of junk food in the background, as you see just the father’s arm take the bag form the cart and place it back on the shelf. The camera stays on the child’s now agitated face as he grabs the bag from the shelf yet again, and places it back into the cart for a second time. It then switches angles to show the father, clearly annoyed, putting the bag back on the shelf. The camera then goes for an extreme close-up of the child’s face as he begins to scream, cry and yell for his “sweeties.” The camera then shows three separate shots of the child screaming with different inflections and then moves to the father who sighs helplessly. The child then proceeds to throw a temper tantrum, tearing various food items from the shelves and kicking and screaming on the ground as customers look on disapprovingly. It then moves to the father’s frustrated face and displays in white text at the bottom of the screen, “Use Condoms.”

The tagline is the best part of this commercial. There are not many visual techniques utilized in this commercial, but there is a lot of close up camera shots of the child’s face, father’s face and onlooker’s faces. This is done to show the characters various emotions of frustration, helplessness, anger and disapproval. There are also a lot of short clips of the child’s tantrum put together in a montage, which works to intensify the temper tantrum.

Music Video Review: Gojira-Love

•March 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Gojira is a French, death metal band formerly known as Godzilla. The majority of Gojira’s videos are dark and ominous. They did not break this trend with their video for the song “love.” It is entirely in black and white and quite grainy throughout with very shaky cinematography. Gojira uses elapsed time techniques with many shots of a stationary person or object, where only the clouds and shadows are shown rapidly moving in the background.

Gojira also utilizes close up perspectives of the lead singers face throughout the video. The elapsed time techniques create a strobe light effect on his features, which makes it look like he is changing expressions ridiculously fast. This video is also marked by very frantic scene changes. At first the individual scenes last longer, but as the video progresses the scenes change more frantically. Within the last thirty seconds of this video, one sees about twenty location changes. The undeniably dark and morbid theme of this video reflects Gojira’s song content and style.

Lumiere Video: Thief!

•March 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

One issue we encountered during filming was getting the metal detector to go off when exiting the store with the stolen merchandise. We taped a metal sensor to the box and also put one in the thief’s pocket and still, we found ourselves to be unsuccessful. Take 1 is our best clip because it is the only clip in which the metal detectors actually worked; which is quite an interesting fact about the security of the American University bookstore. (Forgive the watermark, it is there becuase i had to convert the file)

Movie Review: Harold and Maude

•March 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Harold and Maude is a love story between nineteen-year-old Harold and seventy nine year old Maude. Harold, completely fixated on death, spends his time going to funerals, acting out fake suicides and going to the junkyard. Maude is a free spirit with an undeniable zest for life who likes to surround herself with nature and art. Maude is quite talkative and outrageous where as Harold is quiet and reserved; it is indeed a case of opposites attract.

In the opening scene, the director had an interesting use of perspective and shadows, which combined to create a gloomy tone. A close up of two set of feet, Harold’s to be exact, are shown walking down a dark staircase. The camera avoids any glimpse of the his head as Harold writes walks to a desk and then writes out a nametag. The camera pans to a candelabra in the foreground and then zooms out to reveal Harold’s silhouetted face in the shadows in the background. The camera moves away from the Harold’s face and the candles and pans to his feet. For a minute or so you can’t see much of anything because of all the shadowy darkness. Then you see Harold’s feet step on a stool and quickly step off into midair. Only after zooming out do you see Harold’s entire body, hanging loosely from a noose.  The director makes Harold’s face very unimportant in this scene, which reflects the neglect that Harold feels from his mother in the movie. This neglect is illustrated effectively when his mother enters the room and upon seeing her son hanging from a noose, calmly sits down and starts dialing on the telephone. This use of shadows and perspective also do well to reflect the undeniable theme of death in the movie.

In one scene in which Harold visits his psychologist, the director utilizes symmetry. Harold and his doctor sit in two identical, black, leather chairs; situated in a perfectly symmetrical situation. They both wear the same pants, tie, shoes, socks, shirt and sports jacket (at least I think they do, I watched it online and it was ridiculously pixilated). For some reason, their matching outfits combined with Harold’s cynicism and the psychologist’s overly smiley demeanor seem to illegitimate the psychologists legitimacy; as is Harold is mocking him by intentionally matching him.

Poster Review: Sin City

•March 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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This is a poster for the movie Sin City. The main design feature you notice is the contrast between the red lettering of the title and the black and white tones of the chracters. The design utilizes the majority of its space with the characters, rotating them to make them come at you. This poster reflects the in your face attitude of the movie.