“What’s On Your Mind?”

As annoyed as I get by that question when I see it on my Newsfeed, it’s been a reminder this week in terms of the work I’m doing for this class. In particular, I just can’t get remediation project out of my head. I think it’s because a lot of the people I’ve been photographing have such interesting opinions on higher education and why or why not people should go to college that it makes me wonder a lot about my own personal decisions to attend school. Granted, I don’t think it’s a mistake that I decided to attend U of M, but I do think it’s fascinating that so many of my friends are having such dissimilar experiences in comparison. For example, one of my friends went to college for a year before dropping out and pursuing a music career. She posts videos on YouTube and plays at various venues around Chicago. When I took her photograph, she kept talking about risk. She knows the path she’s chosen is a risk, but she is taking it anyways.

Despite these questions reeling in my head, I have really been enjoying photographing people. There’s definitely been an itch to photograph that I haven’t quite been able to scratch thus far in college, so I’m glad this class–and this project in particular–has given me the opportunity to do so. I’ve loved playing around with angles and lighting to get the perfect shot. I’ve always noticed that some of my friends have become more open to being photographed, which is pretty fun to see! It’s definitely going to be a rude awakening when I have to take classes without so much creative freedom. I think I’ve gotten so used to making my own decisions that I’m interested to see what it will be like not to have this creative outlet next semester.

photo shoot

As always, with so much creativity comes numerous challenges. I’m struggling to continue taking photos of people with different experiences. I’ve noticed that the majority of the people I’ve photographed are my friends, and they have relatively similar points of view on stress and success that I do. This week, I’ll be pushing myself to ask people I don’t know if I can speak with them and potentially photograph them, just in the hopes of getting more diverse answers and experiences. This process has made me start to appreciate even more the Humans of New York account as well as other blogs interviewing and engaging with people. It’s hard work! Not only does the other person have to be in the mood to talk with you, but you have to be in the mood to listen. That’s one skill that I’ve definitely gotten better at since beginning my remediation. I can listen to people for hours on end now, with no loss of enthusiasm. If I gain nothing else from this project, that will be the most meaningful skill, I’m sure.

There’s also this aspect of not wanting to say goodbye to my remediation. This is definitely going to be a piece of work I continuously revisit and tweak because, like people, their stories will be ever changing. I’m looking forward to looking at my remediation year after year at the minimum to see how my friends opinions have changed or stayed the same. It’s a little bit of history I’m creating, which is exciting for me and I think for them as well.

Lights, Camera, Action!

It struck me while writing my proposal for my remediation project, which initially was going to be doing a TED Talk-style piece, that I miss my camera. I dabbled in photography a little bit in high school but since coming to college, I haven’t taken any real pictures–unless Game Day pictures or embarrassing pictures of my roommate on my iPhone 5 count. This remediation project seemed like the perfect way to get back into photography and push my creative limits.

Girl Behind Camera

My goal is to take photographs of students on the Michigan campus, in all black and white, and create a website around the photos. It’s sort of like Humans of New York meets art gallery meets blog. As you can see, I’m having a difficult time actually categorizing my project, since it is such a hodgepodge of so many different forms.

What I do know is that I will need to become very familiar with operating my new camera (shout out to my mom for letting me use hers!) as well as Photoshop and Squarespace (the platform I will be using to create my website). I know how to handle a Canon camera on a pretty basic level, so the hardware of actually operating the camera and creating photographs that are up to my perfectionist standards may pose the largest problem throughout this process. I also have very limited knowledge of how to use Squarespace from my job and absolutely no knowledge of how to use Photoshop except for the one time I attempted for a high school project and absolutely failed. However, over the last few days I’ve been spending a lot of time tinkering with photos I’ve taken previously just to see how they turn out. So far, I’m liking the direction that I’m taking but I have a feeling that it is going to get a lot harder when I actually start taking the photos and compiling them in a meaningful way.

Speaking of difficulty, creating my website for this project is something that I am looking forward to the most but am most afraid to begin the process of creating it. Even as I have begun to do my mock-up, there are so many templates to choose from and adjust to fit my needs that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I guess it’s better to have too many options than not enough? Also, I’m starting to discover certain things about websites, like getting a domain name and inserting alt code, which are things that I am not familiar with but will become more familiar as I work with the platform *she said with unwavering hope*.

If you can’t already tell by my rambling and delirious organization of this blog post, I’m both terrified and thrilled with the prospect of creating a collage/gallery/website/blog/thingy for my remediation project. Stay tuned for an update on my mental state as I attempt to edit yet another photo on Photoshop (this one is of my dog…yes, I’ve hit a new low).

Jimmy Fallon Puppy

Humans of New York

I really don’t follow one particular blog — or any blog for that matter — so when I sat down to write this post I felt a bit lost. Soo should I google “cool blogs”… or…? I decided against that one. Anything appearing under a “cool blog” search is probably not a cool blog. I racked my brain for a couple more minutes and finally remembered a link I’d seen on Facebook a while back: Humans of New York

From my non-blog-following-perspective, Humans of New York is everything an awesome blog should be. It started in 2010 when University of Georgia graduate Brandon Stanton began photographing people on the streets of New York in the hopes of creating a photographic census. But as he explains in the “About” section, “somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character.” Now, his blog consists not just of photos, but of quotes and stories to give a glimpse into the lives of each human.

Humans of New York is simple, inspiring, sad, beautiful, funny, and often quite surprising. It compiles the lives of children, teenagers, men, and women at all different stages of life. There are businessmen, immigrants, artists, students, friends, and couples to name a few. It makes you realize that nobody is average, normal, or unimportant. It makes you think, smile, laugh, appreciate, and learn from surprising sources. It leaves you with a sense of community and connectivity to people you have never met and most likely will never meet. It is an awesome blog.

Plus, Brandon looks like a pretty fun guy.