Thursday, April 22, 2010

Final Post!

Reflections of an Applied Learner

UPDATE - REflection

Soon to come! Keep an eye on R-net.
I'll post the link as soon as I can.

Enjoy my blog :)

Independent Project

PhotoVoiceTony Deifell
Wendy Ewald
Video Links:
1. PhotoVoice:
2. COMDIS Clinic - Jeff:
3. UCF Profiles - Speech Disorders (Start at 6:50 to 7:30):

My interest in this topic was sparked in one of our earlier classes; I was amazed by how twelve individuals could all take something different out of one single photograph. I began thinking about the power of imagery and how it could be used to intentionally convey meaning. When you think about it, we are bombarded with images and graphics of all sorts on a daily basis; ads, billboards, television, newspapers, and the list can keep going. I rationalized that humans must have some kind of mechanism much like our verbal literacy that helps us make sense of all that we see. Turns out that there is, it's called visual literacy.
For my final, independent project I wrote an 8-page paper which I entitled "Social Awareness Through Photography: Applications of Visual Literacy". The first few pages explored the concept of visual literacy; how it is defined and why it is important. I organized my discussion in a way that would make it personally relevant to the reader. I then introduced the social justice/ awareness angle by pointing out that visual literacy provides us with a means of self-identification because it allows us to communicate with others in a bold and truthful way, namely through photography. From here I discussed the work of individuals like Wendy Ewald, who empowered children by providing them cameras so that they could make their visions come to life through the photos that they produced, and Tony Deifell, who was inspired by Ewald's work and proceeded to do much the same thing except his work involved the visually impaired. I also gave some background knowledge on organizations such at the Institute for Photographic Empowerment and PhotoVoice, which provide resources for people who want to produce their own documentary-style photography or photographic training for members of communities all around the world.
My discussion finished with an in-depth reflection of the experiences that I had in this class. I was not expecting for this portion of the piece to be as long as it was (I was expecting 6 pages and I ended up writing 8), but I realized how rich my experiences were in this class and I wanted to be sure that I touched upon everything that we did. I thought about the types of things that we did in class and how it allowed us to build our visual literacy and the type of relationships we had made with the clients out at UCF. I had realized just how much they taught me over the course of the past semester; through their photographs and our conversations. However the greatest thing that I learned, and I quote this directly from my essay, "Our mission was to educate communities about aphasia and to help PWA (People with Aphasia) to achieve a greater quality of life. However, in the end, I think that our clients ended up teaching us. Despite everything, these individuals continue to live very full lives and the support that they receive from loved ones is a testament to a language far more powerful than any other, the language of human affection."

Thank you for this experience.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Assigment #1 MAKEUP ---> TOP THREE

So, as you can see, I've decided to redo Assignment #1. Going back over my old photos provided me with an interesting opportunity to see how much I've developed my "photographer's eye" over the course of this past semester. I knew that I could do so much better than my first meager attempt, so I took to it and the images above are what I have to show for it.
The order in which I would like to discuss these photos is as follows: #1 arrow on brick, #2 path to door, and #3 caution...
#1 I had taken several shots of this arrow. Yes, I know it's quite a simple image, but what caught my attention was that I noticed a significant difference in the photo when I had included my feet as opposed to when I left them out. This demonstrates the importance of framing; sometimes even the most insignificant elements can play an important part. If its in the frame then the photographer wanted it to be there, to be seen, to be incorporated.
#2 My eyes were really drawn by the sliver of pavement leading the viewer to the door in this image. Once again, it would have been a completely different photo had not for that little change. I also think that this is a very balanced piece. The lines of the stairs overhead and the railing run in parallels. The inclusion of the green, lush forestry on the left side of the field adds a little flavor to the otherwise muted color scheme. The elements work together to create an air of mystery...who knows where this door may lead?
#3 It just so happened that the camera chose to focus on the yellow strip in the foreground, blurriness aside the framing is quite brilliant in this selection, if i might say so myself. And to some degree, the haziness of the background contributes a lot to the image. We know what the yellow strip is (and for those who don't it's caution tape, hence CAUTION written across it) and we see a silhouette of some woodwork in the background. The diagonal movement created by the caution tape is a very important element of the photo, not only does it contribute to this thing called meaning that we keep bringing up but it sets a tone and did I mention, creates mystery? and who doesn't like a little bit of mystery in their lives...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reflection- Narrative

My client J did not come in this past Wednesday, so for class I was paired with another group to work with their client, JG. When it was my turn to present her with my narrative, I laid all three images in front of her and waited for some sort of reaction. I sat in anticipation, hoping that she would like my work, until finally she said "This is you?". She then proceeded to tell me that she didn't think it was me in the black-and-white photos because the baby seat was much too old fashioned. I was very impressed by her eye for detail. However, I did inform her afterward that it was, in fact, me in the photos; the antiquated furniture was from Russia where I grew up. The story (or narrative) that I was trying to convey with my photos was personal moments of significance in my life. By pairing text and visual stimuli I was hoping to create a deeper meaning behind each photo. Some of my classmates pointed out the possibility of the events being in chronological order due to the way that I organized them when I presented them to the class. This was not my intention, but I could see where they were getting this from and I thought that it was interesting to note how much of an impact sequencing has on the perception of an image. JG did not instantly pick up on this suggestion, however she did very well to connect the various elements within each individual image when she was formulating her interpretations. She was most drawn to the photo with the image of a young man in juxtaposition to a plane ticket. She pointed out that it was probably my cousin and we went on a trip to Mexico. She also mentioned that these items were probably very important to me. Which was the main point that I was trying to deliver. Through these images I was hoping to let the viewers see another side of me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Assignment #4

(These are the photos that I chose PRE-editing)
These photos were not intended to work in a sequence. Instead, I chose these images because each possesses a self-contained narrative of significant events in my life. The first photo is a compilation of photos taken during my childhood (hence, why they are black and white). This was during the initial years of my parents marriage.

This image pairs text with visual imagery. The words serve to compliment the people within the photo strip bringing them to life by giving them personality.

This final photo was probably my favorite. I went to Mexico a few years ago; it was probably one of the best experiences in my life. The man in the photo is a really good friend of mine who came along with me on the trip. I really like the juxtaposition of the plane ticket with his portrait. It shows that there must be some significance behind this deliberate positioning and it also creates a relationship between the elements.

To give you a little bit of background, I am one of the biggest pack-rats EVER. I like to keep little trinkets or papers and then I store them in boxes according to significance of that event. For this assignment I delved into my boxes and pulled apart written as well as visual components, ultimately leading me to the idea behind this project: pairing words with visual images to create meaning and depth of interpretation. I initially wanted to write across the first photo, but I decided that the image was strong enough as it was so I left it as is. So I guess if I was to define a general unifying theme it would be an autobiography of significant events in my life.