Saturday, September 10, 2011

hello F'ton, my old friend

I'll admit it: it feels so good to be back in Fredericton and the photo studio. My god--I'm a senior! I'm in my final year of art school (or at least, this art school). And I feel like I've been thrown into the semester. Whammo.

This weekend I've been brainstorming ideas for my first independent project (because I don't have class on Fridays, yesterday felt like the weekend had already started for me, and I was mixed up as to which day it was all day, even though my computer said up in the right-hand corner that it was Friday). After I post this I'm going to start writing the proposal for the project.

I can already feel myself slipping into old, familiar habits: same route to school, same computer in Photoshop class, same chair in the photo studio classroom, same way of labelling school assignments that are handed in via the college server ("assignment name - Annapurna.file type").

The college's expansion into the Soldiers' Barracks still isn't finished--they've been working on it since my FVA year. That's three years! Even worse, we Photogs aren't going to get our new lighting studio (Peter's not happy about that, and neither am I). Here's proof of how bad the situation is in the current studio:

There's a white backdrop about a foot or two to the right perpendicular to where the black one ends. The stand with the paint tray on it is used for photographing small things, like jewellery.
See the pipes? And the location of the rolled-up backdrops? And the beams? In an ideal situation, you'd have to look wayyyyyy up in order to see that junk (minus pipes, which shouldn't be visible at all if the building is to meet code)--like this or this. I'm no neat-freak, but yuck! Also, the whole studio is way too small for us, in terms of width and length.

Currently, the only students allowed in the Barracks are Graphics majors/teachers, because they have some classes over there.

Time to rehash the week. Here we go.

Sunday: Packpackpackpack pack--and then after that, more packing, including loading stuff into Mom's Highlander. By the end, I was worn out.

Monday: After a mostly-sleepless night, I was up bright and early to do last-minute packing and drive to Freddytown. I snoozed on the way up, and after getting my keys for the year (mailbox, room, house and food-locker) I unpacked everything, and somehow made all my food fit into my cupboard, spot in the fridge, bin in the freezer and food locker. Whew!

Tuesday: I spent part of the afternoon running a couple of errands downtown. I paid my tuition (though I didn't get my access card until a day or two later, and it has yet to be set up so that I can access the lighting studio), visited with Karen (who's no longer my teacher) and did some minor shopping.

Karen said that she's having her Communication for Visual Artists students set up blogs right from the start this year (we were a few weeks in before we had to start our blogs last year), and the blog is a more central part of the class now.

I also got a new student ID photo, as did everyone else. And this time, I'm happy. My previous student ID photo was taken after orientation in my FVA year, which was a very long day, and I was tired and my exhaustion shows in the photo: I want to smile, but although I'm kinda smiling, I'm too tired to put much effort into it.

Wednesday: First day of classes. That morning, I had Photoshop and in the afternoon I had a lighting class. I'm proud to say that I haven't lost much (if any) of my confidence in the lighting studio. I'm still not a full convert (as I said to Lynn, Molly and Gene at the PBSO concert in June, I'm a thrill-seeker when it comes to photography--in the studio, you're in complete control, and although it's fun, after a while I start to find it too predictable), but I know my way around. And except for the fact that on-camera timers don't exactly work when you're doing self-portraits and you're several feet away from the camera when the photo is finally taken (the camera focuses right away), I'm much happier with the results from this shoot than with anything that I shot last year. Thankfully, Photoshop Camera RAW does a pretty good sharpening job.

I've decided that this semester, I'm going to try to have as much fun as possible with my lighting assignments, and figure out how to use the lighting studio creatively.

Thursday: Advanced Digital Projects is listed as a six-hour course, but we were done with the in-class part in an hour. However, that wasn't the end of the fun: each of us had a one-on-one meeting with Peter. Mine was at 1:50, and let's just say that if I'm going to make it as a photographer, I'm going to have to confront my issues with commercial-type photography. I was thinking about it that evening, and if I were to sum up my relationship with commercial photography in a Facebook relationship status, I'd check the "it's complicated" box. In fact, if there were an "it's really complicated" box, I'd check that instead. I'm much more into artsy-type photography, and I need creativity like I need air.

That's the best I can do at trying to describe how I feel about commercial photography, because right now it's difficult to describe what's going through my head even to myself. It's more a (really strong and insanely complex) feeling than something that I can put into a cohesive sentence. Even I don't fully understand it, and right now I'm really confused about the whole thing.

So I'm hoping that I can at least start to work on confronting those issues this year because, let's face it, I'm going to need all the help I can get my hands on.

Friday: I didn't have class, so yesterday I started coming up with ideas for my first independent study project (I also did some grocery shopping and went to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery to see a show before it comes down this weekend). So far, I have four, and I'm going to have to talk with Peter about how to go about ideas two and four. Here they are as they appear in the Word document.

I'm starting with the film one because I want to make sure I do it, and I've been thinking about it since I fell in love with film photography last year, and because I want and need to learn more about film.

And if you don't know who Lois Greenfield is, you should check out her photography, which is incredibly beautiful.

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of 9/11/01, but I won't say much more than that, since the mainstream media is covering it to death right now. However, I will post a poem that I wrote around that time, and that hasn't seen the light of day since at least 2002.

I hope that one day the US will find the courage to move on from that time, which has influenced their foreign and domestic policy ever since. It's like the US put 9/11 on the "repeat one" setting and never took it off. It's time they did.

September 11, 2001

Flags lower in mourning,
as a vale of sadness descends on a city,
as many lives lie shattered;
death is everywhere.

As a nation pulls itself together,
and searches for the answer to death and evil,
people reach out, expressing
and disbelief.

As Reality wraps Herself around me
I sink deeper and deeper
into the slippery tunnel of sadness;
my music and dance the only way out.

As I realize that it affected the world,
I, too, reach out
to special friends,
to anyone who shares my view,
and to America: my heart is with you.


  1. Good on you to make having FUN your learning priority! You'll learn a lot more deeply that way; you'll learn from the inside out, not just on the surface where everything sloughs off in time.

  2. I loved the poem. I want to use it next year for my blog....

    This piece made me homesick for school. I miss it. Enjoy, enjoy your Senior year. I wish you every success.

  3. Go ahead and use it--just credit me. :-)