02: Expanding the Frame(work)
This assignment will build on the understanding of the main camera controls.  For this assignment you will use your camera to explore ways of seeing.
We will focus on ways of seeing including Perspective, Point of View, Proximity, and Angle.
We will also work on understanding qualities of light as a way to describe the world in an photograph, including High and Low KEY Images.
Finally we will explore how to use our cameras to reveal texture, create shape, and explore form.
The codified language of the cinema can provide a starting vocabulary for describing these types of images.  Below you find a link to an article on Cinema Camera Angle and Shots.
----Link to Empire Online Camera Angles.------

In addition to thinking about you and your camera's position in the world I want you to start thinking about what your group of pictures can reveal or explore about the world.  For this assignment I want you to select a location that has visual, geographic, historical (personal or social), or political importance. Pick a location that you can use the camera to explore with.  What can you tell us about that place?  The people who are there?  Why is the location meaningful? What is important about this place?  YOU MAY NEED TO RESEARCH THIS PLACE BEFORE YOU GO MAKE PICTURES!!!
What can you and your pictures describe or reveal about the location you choose?  
What will you choose to photograph?
Maybe you will photograph the length of the only man-made waterway in McHenry County because you can explore notions of recreational and commercial land use. 
The VFW Hall in your town as a way to meet and photograph veterans.
Maybe you will photograph a nesting site for an endangered species of wrens, to explore notions of environmental advocacy.
What about the town council meetings in Marengo?  This could be a great way to explore your interest in local government.
Maybe you will photograph a toxic waste dump because you can explore your interest in pollution. 
Maybe you will photograph the Skate Park in Crystal Lake where you did your first kickflip, because you can find kids who look like you use to.  This is great way to talk about your own experiences without photographing yourself.
The mosque you go to with your dad, as way to explore notions of worship. 
The soup kitchen your church runs every Saturday.
Every house you have lived at, Photographed topographically because you love the way the German photographers from the 1990's see the world.
The field where you lost your high school football regional championship, and portraits of all the people who also lost that same championship dating back to the 1990's.  (your high school was never that good at football....)
A closed down big box store that your cousin use to manage because now he is out of work.
The gun club in Crystal Lake because it is a great place to understand the rights of gun owners.
The VIP of a nightclub in Schaumburg where go on Saturday because the black-light and neon will look amazing in your photographs. 
Geo-located locations of potential Grindr/Tinder meet-ups.
Maybe you will photograph McHenry County Civil War reenacters sitting in their cars.
The parking lot where all the hot-rod Hondas meet up for drag races.
The basement your neighbor has her model train set up. 
Pokemon-Go Gyms and the people who still hand out at them.
The Cruising Spot in Huntley.
The place where Bob Dole gave a speech in Fox River Grove.  (This did not happen, but it is an example)
The lookout tower at a park ranger station. 
I would like you to think about photographing objects, people, the land, details, signage, during the day, at night, in the morning, when it is closed, when it is open.... You get the idea. FIND SOMETHING INTERESTING.
You will need to make Portraits, Still Lifes, and Landscapes to successfully complete this project.
NO FOREST PRESERVES OR GENERIC PARKS FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT UNLESS YOU TALK TO STRANGERS WHO ARE THERE AND MAKE UP CLOSE PICTURES OF THEM  AND THEY DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN LOOK AT THEIR PHONES. THE LANDSCAPE MUST CONTAIN A REASON FOR YOU TO BE THERE, NATURE IS PRETTY IS NOT ENOUGH (WHEW).  ALSO Choose a Location that is NOT the Woodstock Square, if you want to do something more specific in the Woodstock Square that is fine, but it needs to be specific.  If you photograph the botanist who surveys the land or the Deadheads who dance in the middle of the ?'s at veterans acres, fine.  If you want to photograph the Chocolate Shoppe inside the Woodstock Square to understand how a small business works, fine.
List of Places That have been done to death and you may want to reconsider:
Woodstock Square
Forest Preserves
Downtown Crystal Lake

You must tell us where you are going as a proposal.
ie:  I am going to photograph at Raymond's bowling alley in Johnsburg.  I am interested in these locally owned places because they are reminders of a bygone form of social entertainment.  Bowling alley's are visually interesting, from the neon lights of game room, to the patina of grime on the rental shoes, to the smoky haze of the bar that still allows patrons to smoke indoors.  
I plan on going on Thursday nights, which is league night.  I will not only photograph the space but also ask to make portraits of the league members.  I will go twice to league nights, and plan on going during a less busy time to make images of the ball, shoes, and trophies that punctuate this place.

Assignment Breakdown:
You will need to THINK about the following types of pictures:  These images may not end up as your 10 final prints but you will need to make pictures that are not all at eye level with a straight horizon. As photographers we often make images that we end up not using for teh final project.  It is important to explore the place in a variety of ways, this will often lead to photographs we did not think of before starting the project.  MAKING PICTURES IS THINKING ABOUT PICTURES!  The more images you have the more thinking you have done.
Visual Approaches:
Perspective (1 Point, 2 Point)
Point of View (POV) From a view of a dog at the dog park, a view from a dropped ice cream cone, and rat at the hotdog stand etc.
Proximity (Extreme Close Up, Close Up, Medium Shot, 3/4 Portrait, Long Shot, Extreme Long Shot)
Angle (Dutch or canted, symmetrical, looking up, down)
High Key (Reduced Lighting Ratio, Flat, Open Light)
Low Key (High Contrast, extreme lighting ratio, "shadowy")
Surfaces with interesting Texture (Smooth, rough, etc.)
Use the framing of the Camera to make, distort, highlight new shapes made by photographic looking.
Form (An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume; includes height, width AND depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing.) Use the camera to reveal and heighten the dimension of the image.
Approaches to Subject Matter:
Photograph the Landscape, Close and Far Away
Approach someone in the space and ask to make their picture.  Schedule a time to meet-up with someone who inhabits that place you are making pictures in.
Arrange objects with your camera, or physically move them to make an interesting photograph.
You will need to make roughly 120-200 images to successfully complete this assignment.

40 Digital Files: Exported and Uploaded to the Art Share Folder (Include the Images you are Printing)
9 Inkjet Prints: Printed and ready for Group Critique
Written Proposal / Final Statement
GOAL:  To understand how moving with the camera in space can elicit understand and recognition from the viewer. How can I use the camera to manipulate the feeling and responses that I want from the photographs?

Week-by-Week Breakdown:
WK 6:  40 RAW images made and ready for in class work, Written Proposal of where you will photograph.
WK 7:  40 RAW images made and ready for in class work.  Project shaping up figure out what types of pictures need to be made to fully realize the project.
WK 8: 40 RAW images Made and ready for in class work. Begin to shape the set of 10 pictures as a group.  Edit and Sort and Rank images.  Prepare Small prints for final selection. Begin Final Printing
WK 9:  Finish Printing Prepare for Critique and Critique. 

Robert Frank: The Americans
Walker Evans: American Photographs
Deena Lawson: An Aperture Monograph
Collier Schorr: Neighbors, Wrestlers, anything she has ever done
Dawoud Bey on Photographing People and Communities
Mark Steinmetz: South
Roy DeCarava: Photographs of the Jazz Community
Paul Graham: A1: The Great North Road
Brassi: Paris by Night
Atget: Old Paris
Tod Papageorge: Passing Through Eden
Gordon Parks: Segregation in the South
Danny Lyons, Civil Rights Photographs and The Bikeriders
An Me Ly: Events Ashore
Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi

Jennifer Livingston: Paris is Burning
The Maysles Brothers: Grey Gardens
Spike Lee: Do the Right Thing
Ross McElwee: Sherman's March

Back to Top