Homework – Week #8 – Thursday, Feb. 27th

Project #3.F Design final cut (continued).

1) This is your last chance to color-correct your images and fine-tune your layout.

2) Commit to a final design.

3) Make sure, once again, that there aren’t any mistakes (color, grammar, resolution).

4) Export a low resolution PDF of your book and upload on the class website.

Homework – Week #8 – Tuesday, Feb. 25th

Project #3.F. Design final cut (continued).

1) Consolidate your choice of photographs, papers, fonts, book title and layout. Don’t forget to add a colophon.

2) Double-check the resolution of all the images you use, make sure they are suitable for printing (i.e., 300dpi). Double-check your syntax and grammar.

3) In addition, print what you consider to be the most successful spreads (5 max, letter-sized). Export a low resolution PDF of your most successful spreads and upload it on the class website.


Homework – Week #7 – Thursday Feb. 20th

Project #3.F. Design final cut (continued).

1) This is your last occasion to crop, color correct and sharpen your images or change the layout of your book.

2) Double-check the resolution of all the images you use, make sure it is suitable for printing (i.e., 300dpi).

3) Don’t forget to add a colophon.

4) Commit to a final selection of papers.

5) In addition, print what you consider to be the most successful spreads.

6) Export a low resolution PDF of your most successful spreads. Present the result to the next class.

Homework – Week #7 – Tuesday Feb. 18th

Project #3.E. Design final cut

1) Commit to a final sequence of pictures, text and other visual material. Remember, a total of 25-35 images is needed.

2) Bring this sequence into a flat plan. Observe how meaning is created and conveyed as you go through the pages.

3) Print the flat plan (letter-sized, 2-sided if necessary) and upload a low resolution pdf on the class website.

Homework – Week #6 – Thursday Feb. 13th

Project #3.C. Book design ideation

1) From the organic–yet curated–set you assembled in Project #3.B, pick a color palette, get a rather firm idea of the book format (i.e., vertical, horizontal, rectangular, squarish, etc.) and compose a suitable font set. If you wish to use multiple types of papers, pick a couple now but make sure they are compatible with the printers you are going to use.

2) Get inspired by contemporary photobooks and their layout. Research publishers such as Aperture (American), MACK (British) and Steidl (German). Create a PDF on your favorite design software to captures your early design directions and upload the PDF on the class website prior to Thursday class.

3) For each group of design items (i.e., color palette, format, fonts, papers) justify (i) how you came to make your creative decisions, (ii) how they relate to, inform and complement your pictures and, lastly, (iii) how they serve your project by complementing the meaning of your photographs. Include your answers in the aforementioned PDF.

Homework – Week #6 – Tuesday Feb. 11th

Project #3.B, looking for moods, patterns and relationships

1) Create a playful and creative dialogue between description and explanation with your own pictures and the visual elements you’ve been gathering thus far. To do so, curate a preliminary selection of your strongest pictures and visual material (references, graphs, statistics, historic depictions) that relate to your pictures, to your site and to the course focus. A total of 30-35 elements (text and image) maximum is a reasonable goal.

2) Within this organic set of images, start looking for patterns, moods and relationships.

3) Print them in advance all and “let it sit” for a while, in other words, let the content you printed speak to you. Observe how two pictures create a third “something”. Observe, too, how two pictures bounce off each other and create meaning.

4) In preparation of Project #3.C, ask yourself: what tone do the pictures set?

5) Bring the printed material to the class. Create a contact sheet of your preliminary selection and upload the result on the class website.

6) Students working on texts no. 7 and 8 of the course reader, prepare presenting next Thursday.

Homework – Week #5 – Thursday Feb. 6th

Homework:

1) Following your mantra, return to your site and shoot more pictures.

2) About Petrochemical America: Research when Richard Misrach produced the photographs and how he produced them. Reproductions will be uploaded on the class website (for educational purposes only).

3) Study Kate Orff’s reworks. We will purposefully call them “extensions”. Reproductions will be uploaded on the class website (for educational purposes only).

4) Compare the rich semiotic content of Misrach’s photographs and the whole host of untold stories that percolates in Orff’s designs.

5) Ponder over the power of photography–that does wonderfully describe a portion of the visible world–and the somewhat missing explanations of what happens in the frame and beyond the sharp, to-the-point captions that accompany the pictures.

6) Observe how they are “unpacked” in Orff’s designs. Consider “description” and “explanation” as complementary components.

7) Write a short essay of 200 words maximum that demonstrates you grasp the issue at play in Petrochemical America both from an ecological and an artistic/creative standpoint. Upload your text on the class website.

Homework – Week #5 – Tuesday Feb. 4th

Homework: Project #2.D

1) Based on what came out of Project #2.C, fine-tune your project’s scope and line of inquiry.

2) Focus on an idea or a short phrase that marries the images you’ve been gathering thus far. Keep it as your “mantra” or “motto” during your subsequent fieldwork outings. Consider this “mantra” or “motto” as an early version of your project’s title.

3) Set out to pursue that line of inquiry by proceeding to more on-site photoshoots looking at specifics but also moods seen through your “mantra” or “motto”. Add the strongest pictures in your existing set.

4) Upload your latest additions and inflections in low resolution (i.e., 1080 pixels on the shortest side, JPEG, compression 10/12) on the class website prior to next Tuesday’s class.

5) Students working on texts no. 5 and 6 of the course reader, prepare presenting next Thursday

Thermodynamics 101

In the previous post, we took an overview of what energy is and how it is used.

Delving deeper, energy is…

(1) A physical measure of transformation.
(2) A physical measure governed by two laws: conservation and entropy.

The first proposition means: the more energy we use, the more able we are to transform our environment. This raises a rather profound question: can we protect our environment given our energy gluttony?

The second proposition is a purely physical and pertains to thermodynamics. The first law that governs energy is conservation. In a closed vessel or system, the quantity of energy involved remains the same after a transfer or a transformation. In practical terms, the first law implies that we, humans, can only extract energy that is available in the environment (in oil, gas and coal deposits). We cannot create nor use, nor consume energy. Energy consumption is therefore a misuse of language. The only thing we can do is transfer or transform available energy. The second law introduces the concept of entropy. After a transfer or a transformation, the quantity of energy involved remains strictly the same, however, its quality is irremediably altered. Entropy essentially is a measure of degradation. That process of degradation is irreversible which means that once a transfer or transformation of primary energy occured, we can’t put things back in place. This raises yet another profound question: transforming our environment is physically irreversible. As a side note, this helped scientists in the mid-nineteenth century cement the notion of time arrow.

Below is a schematic yet accurate way to summarize those two laws.

(1) Quantity of Invested Energy = Quantity of Energy Transfered/Transformed

(2) Quality of Energy Invested > Quality of Energy Transfered/Transformed

In the late 1960s-early 1970s, land-artist Robert Smithson notoriously explored the notion of entropy. From a purely physical standpoint, it comes as no surprise. In fact, in the U.S. we were in the midst of an energy gluttony.

Homework – Week 4 – Thursday Jan. 30th

Homework: Project #2.C

1) Print your 250-word piece (from Project #2.A), the 5 keywords on individual sheets (tip: use one letter-size sheet and cut out each keyword) and assemble a series of your 10 strongest images. This time, it is important the material gets printed. Cheap laser printing is fine.

2) Confront the 250-word piece, its 5 keywords to your 10 then 5 strongest images. Our goal is to estimate the distance–if any–between what you initially set out to do and the happy encounters you made along the way working with the language of photography. This is also an opportunity to start associating photographs and words.

3) Assess the relevance of those encounters. Gauge if they have potential for further photographic explorations.

4) On your favorite design software, diagram the 5 keywords of Project #2.A and your 5 strongest images.

5) You should compile the following items in a single PDF document and upload it on the class website :

A contact sheet of your 10 strongest images.

A contact sheet of your 5 strongest images.

The 5 keywords.

Your diagram. on the class website prior to this Thursday’s class.

6) We will have an open crit this Thursday. Hang your pictures and keywords before we start.