The Best of Photography

Picture taken by Neal Preston, 1986

If you haven’t figured out yet, I am a big Queen fan and, it is one of the only parts of the 80s that I am familiar with. So naturally I decided to examine this picture of Freddie Mercury. Also this is an incredible picture. First off, this picture clearly selects Freddie Mercury as the focus of the picture and every other part of the picture is just background. The picture sequesters Mercury as if he is jamming out in his own world. When in reality there is a massive crowd right in front of him. The perspective of the photo is intentionally towards the crowd so you not only see Freddie Mercury but the crowd cheering him on as well. The darkness of the stadium and the crowd create contrast with the stage and the sky. And lastly, you have the shine of light coming through directly on the star, just to illuminate his focus in the photo. 

Photography Thoughts

I take a few pictures every day. Some are completely useless and I end up deleting them. Others I post on social media or save for later.

I take pictures of my food
I take pictures of places I’ve been.
I take pictures of moments I do not want to forget.
I take pictures with all my friends.

Photography is a beautiful thing. To think it was only a few decades ago that polaroids and dark red rooms were the quickest ways to get our pictures. Now with my phone I can fit in my pocket I can not only take good quality pictures but, I can even edit them in a matter of minutes. I could change the entire color scheme of a picture if I wanted to. I try to make sure all of my pictures are clear and have the best lighting possible. I know I am no photographer but ideally I strive to take every picture like I would hang it up. After reading some class materials I think I would change the perspective I take my pictures to diversify my story. Pictures are fundamental to telling a story and to learning how to tell your own story. Children learn how to read words by understanding the interactions occurring in pictures. You can infer a million things from one picture and tell your own story from somebody else’s picture. But, once you write down a story, you can no longer manipulate that or create a different version. Pictures and visual representations are the essence of the world around us. We are able to capture any moment in time and remember it forever. Words are for describing the picture, pictures are for when words are not enough. 

Week 3

Happy Friday everybody!

This week I completed digital create prompts on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday on Twitter. I read a little more about the hyperlink and how revolutionary Bandersnatch was, it took me a little bit to really grasp the concept of the hypertext but I think I am starting to understand. I watched a video about the best kinds of storytelling, which was actually pretty humorous. Then I watched another video that scared me a bit by discussing how we are training the web and we are organizing the data with tags and such. It is just so crazy to think about how the web is something that can be trained to learn things and adapt every day almost like a human. From these videos I started to analyze Stranger Things in a closer lens. I have been watching the series for some times now but these videos about storytelling and the changes created by the hyperlink let me view the show in a completely different perspective.

I completed 4 different writing assignments this week. I found the first assignment by complete accident. I was looking on our course site at other classmates posts to comment on when I found Mariam’s blog post titled The Most Important. After reading it I immediately looked up the assignment in the assignment bank and completed my blog, Superwoman. My mom means everything to me and it counts as a grade too, perfect combination. Anyways, I went on to create 3 more writing assignments. I examined the extras in an 80’s tv show and blogged about how extras interact on camera. While I completed this assignment I learned how painful it is to watch 80’s tv shows when technology has advanced so much further since that time. The next 2 assignments I completed were a lot of fun for me. I got to map out the emotional experience of listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. Then I created a cute short story about two lady bugs living in a city all around humans. Although it was cute, it is important to remember to be kind to all other animal life so they do not feel this way.

Lastly, I read a lot more blogs that my fellow students wrote which was interesting and in some instances helped me get inspiration for my blog. I commented on a few this week not about any big topics but it felt good to send some inspiration and support their way.

Story Analysis: Stranger Things

 

After watching and reading some more about the hyperlink, digital storytelling, and storytelling in general. I decided to analyze the Stranger Things series on Netflix, season 3. I analyzed the way the show fits in the theme and how the story works along with how the show relates to the readings and videos.

I am in the middle of season three of this series but I do not believe ever being explicitly told what year the show takes place in. The show does a great job setting the scene of a town in the 1980’s. The digital knowledge spans as far as Hawkins lab which is still sometimes a mystery to the lab. There are no cell phones, everybody rides bikes or drives old cars, the costuming fits the time, there are even plenty of classic examples of sexism that you would have witnessed in from the time period.

Stranger Things is not a classic story that I would think you could graph upwards or downwards based off every event in the series. I would say generally their lives go up as they gain more friends and this crazy other dimension knowledge. However, the treacherous challenges they have to face that put their friends in danger seem to me like the ‘graph’ for the story looks like this throughout the whole series:

I would say each character has their own graph, they all look the same they just fluctuate at different times. Although this does not represent a popular story it does create a pattern. Every time you watch the show you know once it gets good for the characters, something bad is about to happen. Although I do not know much about Bandersnatch or Dungeons and Dragons, it is ironic to me that a game the kids constantly play in the show is Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons is a paper version of a game that has the same storytelling paths as bandersnatch, one thing you choose depends on the other, it is interactive. Considering I spent a good portion of my day watching 80’s shows, I would not say this show is comparable to an 80’s tv show. Although the acting and costuming fits the time period, the show itself does not match the type of productions there were in the 1980’s. So many things have been updated since then it would not make sense to compare them. Also, in the show we hear a little about computer and coding language which is relative to some of the work we will create in this class. The kids in the show are very involved in the AV club. Before this semester I would not have believed any of that stuff existed before the 2000’s. The story holds your attention because it is the same story throughout the series. Lots of shows start with one mystery or one focus and then pivot to another. Stranger Things remains on the same mystery and just continues to build on it. As the mystery builds the characters develop more.

A Day in The Life…

“What took you so long? I was worried sick!” Eleanor exclaimed.

“Mother, you would not believe the day I had,” Hetta whined as she walked in dripping wet and shivering.

“What happened to you?” Eleanor ran to Hetta, “you smell like caramel” she said with a confused look.

“One of gigantors dropped something that splashed all over me,” Hetta sighed. “What is it that it’s called? That drink that is for the morning,” Hetta asked her mother.

“Coffa? I don’t remember. This is why I told you not to go out near the gigantors because this is what happens.”

“Mom, I have to live my life. All of my friends parents do not have a problem with it,” Hetta cried.

“Oh my bad!” Eleanor yelled. “I did not realize that if all of your friends flew into a burning bulb you would follow them,” Eleanor stormed out.

Hetta hated going anywhere near all the gigantors. They were big, noisy, and always swatted at her. Even when they said “aw a ladybug so cute!” Somebody was coming and trying to smush her.” Just last year Hetta had to move from her home because they decided to build a Harris Teeter where she lived. She was doing her best at trying to fit in and make more friends. But this was a city and full of danger, she had no idea about anything around her.

Eleanor did her best as to not pressure Hetta into anything but she worried about her. Especially after almost losing their home and each other, she worried about Hetta every day they were apart. She lived in a city when she was younger and the gigantors were just the same. They were noisy and they snapped her sister’s wings. Eleanor was stubborn but she knew she was nowhere near as big or as strong as them. Which is why Eleanor did her best to protect her family by moving them away from the gigantors. Every day was another struggle for Eleanor.

Mamma Mia Let Me Go …

From left to right: John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May

I decided to incorporate our theme again and find a song from the 80’s that makes me emotional. It was not long before I realized the song that always makes me feel so many emotions at once is from the 80’s. If you did not deduce from the title of this post it is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. A little bit of background; in high school I was part of a madrigal choir that travelled quite a bit to performances. Every time before getting off the bus for a show we sang this song, so it already has some personal nostalgia for me.

I have not met a single person who does not know this song. Whenever this song comes on I feel like everybody I am with just starts belting out the lyrics. Which is ironic because if you have seen the movie Bohemian Rhapsody (released last year), you would know that Queen’s original record label refused to release this song due to the length and the message. The song is about a fantasy that Freddie Mercury saw for himself, who felt he was an outcast to society- bohemian.

Since there are so many moving parts of the song I decided to describe each part and how they make me feel. As the song begins the buildup begins. You feel excitement and if it is your first time hearing it you feel curiosity. The beginning slow part makes me feel peaceful, which is odd since Queen is singing about killing a man. If you really listen to the lyrics of the song you hear how morbid and depressing some parts of the song are. At about minute three we shift into a more fast-paced intense melody. If this is you first or 100th time listening to this song you will be on the edge of your seat with excitement. By minute four we descend into a more guitar-rock style of class Queen songs. Which always make me feel motivated and nostalgic. In the last minute we wind down to the starting piano melody as the song resolves itself. If you are reading this and have not listened to the song I highly recommend!

Our TV Past: Extras Edition

I decided to study the extras in a popular 80’s tv show for this writing assignment. I simply googled 80’s tv shows when Magnum P.I caught my eye, a show they recently rebooted this year, so I wanted to see the original version. Now the assignment was just to watch 30 minutes of a show and focus on the actors. However, I was so blown away by the production and the lack of editing and digital capabilities that I watched 2 episodes before I realized I was supposed to be focusing on the extras.

Anyways, once I finally started focusing on the extras I noticed a few things. For one, I noticed many of the extras are recycled in other episodes which is still pretty common in TV shows today. I focused a lot on how the extras interact with each other in the background. They were all dressed in character as Hawaiian citizens. The only action they ever did in the background was walking, dancing, or holding light conversations. I noticed that once you start watching the extras that are talking, the conversation slowly starts to die down. If extras are remaining on the screen for more than a few seconds they just do the same thing and slowly look towards the camera.

The last thing I noticed which I thought was funny at 2 different parts of a scene the same extra was walking back and forth. I attached screenshots below, they may be a tad blurry.

Superwoman

Dear Mom,

Moms in general are all special but, you are extraordinary. We have been through quite the rough patches and, each time you have proven to be stronger than I thought. I can’t even imagine how hard it is raising 2 kids and 2 dogs on your own. You are incredible, intelligent, and strong-willed.

I apologize for every time when I was a teenager acting like a bratty teenager. People always tell you when you’re young that you will grow closer to your mom and you never believe it. This time I will swallow my pride and admit they were right. Mom, you are one of my best friends. I love that we share everything and I can always confide in you now. Your unconditional love is something I often take for granted. Despite any mistakes I have made or trouble I have caused you, you love me nonetheless.

I will admit my family is a mess and I empathize with every single person whose family drives them crazy. But, my mother makes up for it, despite being a little crazy too. Some people have huge extended families as their support system; motivating them through life and being great role models. Other people have non-blood relatives who they count as their family. I have my mother and, we may not be big in numbers but we are all we need. Some people have perfect families, others do not, I do not know where I fall in those categories. I do know that I am lucky to have a mother who would do anything for me and, I am grateful every day.

Mom, thank you for doing it all and being it all. I aspire to be just as strong and capable as you. You truly are superwoman, xo.

Week 2

This week I completed digital create templates on twitter on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It took me a little while to find some things about the 80’s to tie into our class theme that I remembered but I think I am getting the hang of it. I found a few shows and bands I know from the 80’s that I remember.

I added some pictures and tried to learn how commenting and filtering comments on WordPress works. I added some personalized pictures to customize my blog as well.

Lastly and, what I am most excited about, were my 3 assignments from the assignment bank. I completed a web, visual, and writing assignment. I decided to add a challenge to these assignments by connecting these projects to our 80’s theme. I created a finsta about an 80’s girl, photoshopped myself into a Queen concert, and transformed a writing assignment about nature into how campus has changed since the 80’s. Sort of a short blog post but it was full of lots of work! Have a great weekend!

Another Day: Writing Assignment

I am coming at this project a bit sideways. I began to think about this assignment early in the week. I spent some time walking slowly around campus and asking myself how I would take on this assignment. However, I have since created 2 other assignments that tied into my class’s 80s theme. At first I was stumped at how I was possibly going to incorporate that theme into this writing assignment until I realized it was right in front of me.

For the most part we all get up every day and follow the same routine. We drive to the same places, we get breakfast from the same coffee shop, and we go to bed in the same bed at the end of each day. So repetitive to a point that we neglect our surroundings. Today I decided to take a look at these surroundings while keeping our 80’s theme in mind.

Today I looked at UMW History and found pictures of campus in the 80’s and came back to the same place to compare. The historic buildings look similar but the amount of trees and the color of the grass differs. You can also see changes in peoples wardrobes and changes in the environment. So every day you are outside, try and look at your surroundings with a new perspective, as if you are looking back time.

Ball Hall in 1987
Ball Hall in 2019
Campus Walk 1985
Campus Walk 2019