Monday, October 8, 2012

NSCAD: fun/awesome things happen here

This weekend was my first time celebrating Thanksgiving away from home. But it wasn't too bad.

Monday: I spent most of the day in the darkroom, reprinting yet again for Intro Photo.

That evening, SUNSCAD held a general assembly (GA), which I went to. The main topic was the Framework for Sustainability and voting no confidence on the Framework (which FUNSCAD 1, the teachers' union, has already done. FUNSCAD 2 is the studio technicians' union, by the way.). It involved a lot of debate, several amendments and amendments-to-amendments of the "be it resolved" part of the motion, but the GA and participating in democracy without the unfairness that is prevalent in the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system that Canada uses (it's also used in most American elections) gave me a rush. This is what democracy looks and feels like.

Tuesday: We all reread this week's handout in class, making notes on things that we wanted to talk about, and then discussing them. We then watched a movie about the Nazi concentration camps and discussed that.

Since starting classes at NSCAD, I've been thinking about running for SUNSCAD, as I've been very inspired by what they do. The Student Union of NSCAD isn't afraid to get their hands dirty: they will fight for their school and the rights of their fellow students. Since I got my first taste of SUNSCAD on Orientation Day, I've been thinking about getting involved in the union--of actually running in the election, which is something that I've never done before. Prior to this year, I've never taken much of an interest in school politics (NBCCD's Student Representative Council, while they did an excellent job of representing their fellow students, wasn't exactly interested in challenging the status quo, which I understand because NBCCD is doing very well--they haven't had to deal with people not doing their jobs or a lack of money), so it's been a surprise to me as well.

So that day I told one of the executives that I was interested in running, and she gave me a nomination form. There are a bunch of positions that I could run for, including Media Arts rep (the division that the Photography Dept. is in) and Mature Students rep, so I chose randomly: Students Living in Residence rep.

Wednesday: We finished the perfect binding books. Mine didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, binding-wise, but they could've been worse: getting the width of the spine of the cover just right is a pain. Too loose and the book will fall apart (everything's just held together with PVC glue), too tight and the pages won't fit.

After class, I walked back to my place, as I hadn't packed my SLR and I wanted to shoot a roll of film. I shot the roll on my way back to school.

That evening was the first meeting of the NSCAD Dance and Movement Club where we actually danced. This meeting was more about exploring and experimenting with different ways of movement.

Thursday: Bob had planned to take us to the Dalhousie Arts Centre (home to Symphony Nova Scotia, FYI) last week, but we ran out of time. This week, we were able to make the trip. The show (which is a group show) blew me away, and I felt that if I were to truly appreciate it, I'd have to stay there much longer than I did. It was very avant-garde, modern and cool, and was comprised of many different media: photography, fluorescent bulbs, sound, glass, video...

Friday: That day was a working class, and I'm finally getting the hang of NSCAD's Saunders/LPL enlargers. After three years of working with NBCCD's Durst enlargers, I'm used to working with that brand and know what settings to use in order to get the results that I want, and I've had to transfer those three years of experience with one brand to another brand that works in a completely different way. I've learned that I have to use a higher-contrast filter than I did with the Dursts (I generally used either a 2.5 or a 3; with the Saunders/LPLs it's more along the lines of a 3 or a 4) in order to get the same results.

Due to all that work, I was late to the SUNSCAD election meeting. The meeting was mandatory, but only a handful of people bothered to show up, so the fact that I showed up was good enough. We were given the rundown of what's going to happen over the next few weeks and what we need to do.

Saturday: I spent most of the day migrating all my data from my old, orange-juice-filled computer to my new one with Tom's help.

Late in the afternoon, I started to feel the early signs of a cold. Me being me, I tried to deny that I was getting sick.

Sunday: Okay, yeah, it's a cold. Thankfully, I was still well enough to do homework.

I spent much of the afternoon shooting the final roll for Intro Photo and developing it and roll #2. I plan to print the photos on Wednesday afternoon.

That afternoon was also the Bangor Symphony's first concert of the 117th season. As a result, I had An American in Paris (which was on the program) going through my head for several hours. Here are some (more like three hundred and eighty-nine) photos that were taken during rehearsal and the concert. Most of them are good, especially given the fact that stage lighting is extremely high-contrast, and therefore very difficult to photograph in, but a handful of the photos left me wondering, "why did that photo make it into the final batch?" For some, it was the technical aspect that was missing (metering issues/blowout, motion blur that didn't look deliberate, occasional incorrect-looking white balance), but for others, it was more the artistic side that was lacking. Yes, it's documentary-style photography, but there's still an art to it.

But as a proud New Brunswicker, I love the fact that the BSO uses Sabian cymbals. Sabian is based in Meductic, NB, and they make some of the best cymbals you can get. Unfortunately, since there isn't anything written on the BSO's cymbals aside from the Sabian logo, I can't tell which model they are.

And because it's Thanksgiving here in Canada (happy Columbus Day to my American readers), here's this year's list of what I'm thankful for:
  • The fact that SUNSCAD is very political and not afraid to get it's hands dirty
  • The cool things that NSCAD students and supporters do (e.g., ANNAmotion LOGOmotion)
  • The liberalness of Halifax
  • The Bangor Symphony (and their awesome violin section)
  • The Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony
  • My three years at NBCCD, what I learned there and the experiences that I had
  • The NBCCD faculty, especially the photo faculty
  • My knowledge of B&W film photography
  • The fact that film photography is still taught (alongside digital) in art colleges and universities even as digital takes over more and more of the world
  • My desire to learn
  • The high quality of my artistic education
  • My interest in Canadian politics

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