Sequence Review: Six Feet Under Opening Theme

•February 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The sequence opens with the sharp “ping” of a piano key and a teal sky inhabited solely by the main characters name and a crow. The camera pans down to a grassy meadow with a tree in the background, and symmetrically grasped hands in the foreground. As the hands unclasp, the music chimes again and another actor’s name is shown in the middle of the screen. The body of the opening credits consists of tasks done by the caretaker between the death, and burial of a person; wheeling the body toward the morgue, washing ones hands before handling the cadaver, making up the face, putting out flowers, and carrying the casket from the hearse to the tombstone. If you didn’t know already, Six Feet Under is a show about a family who runs a funeral home, who must prepare a funeral service every episode.
There is nothing for me in this opening sequence which is unnecessary, or out of place. I think that it all works quite well. The consistently morbid tone works well for this opening sequence for obvious reasons. They achieve this tone, not only through subject matter, but also through a muted color palette, and elevator-esqe music for their theme song. I also enjoyed the way the flowers were shown dying, which kept the theme of death prominent in the shot in a very interesting way. In keeping with this theme, the sequence is finally ended with a shot of a tree, which quickly ignites and burns to a crisp, showing death yet again in unexpected way. Overall I think this sequence was masterfully filmed and thought out.

Photographer Review: Frans Lanting

•February 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Frans Lanting is a California based wildlife photographer, who just recently in 2008, won photographer of the year from the Photoimaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association. Lanting came from the Netherlands to the United States after he completed his formal education. Him and his wife Chris work closely together on Nature Photography books. Looking at Lanting’s photographs, it seems as though he has taken a picture of almost every species of animal that exists on the seven continents. Most of his work is featured in National Geographic magazine.

Lanting’s biggest strength is his ability to capture wildlife at the most opportune, intimate moments. The photograph shown above of the polar bears dancing illustrates this strength most perfectly. Browsing through his collection of stock photos, there are also many instances in which he captures dangerous animals in a very close proximity.

Although there are lots of nature photographers, Lanting’s work stands out among the rest due to his interesting use of reflection and perspective. There are numerous photographs of elephants and turtles lounging in and out of the water. Frans successfully catches their reflections in the somehow ripple-free water, making the photograph more visually dynamic and altogether interesting. As for his use of perspective, you may have seen a photograph of a water lily before, but have you ever seen it from the perspective of a crab on the ocean floor? Frans Lanting has an innate ability to peaceably photograph nature without startling it in the least.

http://www.franslanting.com/gallery/index.php

Photo Essay: Prefrat

•February 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

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This photo essay chronicles the night of a typical college girl. She exerts major effort to get ready to go out to a frat. She showers, brushes her teeth, puts on tights, slips into a skin tight dress, straps on some stilettos and makes up her face. She then proceeds to get wasted and ends up with her well-groomed face in the toilet.

Photo Review

•February 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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This famous, easily recognizable photo was taken by Steve McCurry in Afghanistan, and was subsequently used for the cover of an installment of National Geographic magazine. When this photo was taken, the woman pictured was preparing a meal for Afghani freedom fighters, while pregnant with her tenth child, which can perhaps explain the intensity in her eyes. In fact as I write this now, I find myself caught in a staring contest with the photos subject. Aside from her eyes, I believe that the color palette is the next best part. Complementary colors, red and green, are virtually the only colors in this portrait, aside from the girl’s face and hair. The basic composition of this photo is aesthetically pleasing. There is only one thing to look at in this picture, but I think that is a good thing because would anyone honestly, would anyone being looking at the action in the background of this picture if there was one. Although this photo is quite simplistic, it is extremely powerful.

Word Illustration: Perspective

•February 3, 2009 • 1 Comment
Sculpture

Sculpture

The word I had to illustrate was “perspective.” I wanted to show something from a different perspective from how it is usually seen. This is a sculpture, but from this angle it looks like some type of super industrialized windmill. I also liked the juxtaposition of the soft, fluffy clouds against the hard, presumably cold, metal structure.

Sonic Advertisement Review

•February 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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This photograph is an advertisement for Sonic, the rarely found, yet popular fast food restaurant. This particular advertisement is a photograph of your average commercial flight, presumably in coach. The focus of this photo being the man sitting in the front row sandwiched between two mothers and their crying children. With a closer look, one notices that all the passengers in the seats behind him also happen to agitated mothers with hair in disarray and baby in hand. This man’s current situation is any common flyers worst nightmare realized, but with a chocolate Sonic milkshake in hand, this man is in a state of euphoria. Maintaining the little elbow room he has left, this man has a smile stretched wide across his face as if he’s in his own little plastic bubble, completely oblivious to his unappealing surroundings.

This advertisement is aesthetically pleasing. The man, who is obviously the focus, sits front and center, taking up about a third of the shot. The photographer successfully made this advertisement all about the man in the middle. All the babies look either hysterical or discontent, whilst the mothers look haggard. Everything in this ad seems to be working. The message is clear; drink sonic milkshakes and you wont have a care in the world.

The only thing that I would add to the picture as an advertiser would be some information about the restaurant. It is clearly for Sonic, but there is no deal, discount or gimmick to pull in a potential customer. I would also turn the Sonic cup slightly in the man’s hand so that the logo is more centered and clear to any browsing a magazine.

Youtube Review

•January 27, 2009 • 2 Comments

The video is called GPS Voices. The video opens with two guys sitting in the front seats of an SUV. The boy sitting shotgun who dons a striped sweatshirt, starts off some dialog by making overly excited exclamations about the car owners new GPS system. The driver explains that the GPS comes with all these crazy voices. The camera pans down to the GPS to reveal a complicated looking system, consisting of numerous unmarked black buttons. As they drive out of the parking lot they decide to try out the crazy voices that come with the GPS. The voices include ones such as; dad, kid who swears he’s been here before, group of girls, townie, step-dad, drill sergeant, kid, horror movie car mate and drunk guy.

Overall, it’s an amusing video. Hilarity does not ensue, but I giggled a bit. The GPS looks pretty legitimate, the camera work is sound, and its edited cleanly. My favorite part of the video is when the “step-dad” voice is being used in the GPS. In a deep, manly voice, the GPS tells the driver to “turn right” and then follows it up with a reluctant, stereotypical “…son…” The closing to the short was concise, and amusing. The “drunk guy” setting steers them in the wrong direction and they end up crashing. However, after they crash the drunk guy announces that he wants to get some Wendy’s and then the film ends. Although it was abrupt, it was a cute way to bring the clip to a close.

The acting, was not so awesome. Granted, all the actors really had to do was sit there and look awkward and scream on occasion, but I don’t think they brought much to the table. If I was in control of the video I would have had the actors tune down the overacting.