Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Behind the Cardboard

How do you get someone to not only tell you one of their biggest secrets but agree to let you show it to the whole world?  The answer to that question is very carefully.  This was the idea behind my project, Behind the Cardboard.  Last term I had a project where I photographed people playing “nerdy” games but was very careful not to show there face because the people did not want to be associated with these games.  It was this juxtaposition of loving to play the game but at the same time being embarrassed by it that I wanted to explore in this project.  However, because the people were embarrassed by the fact that they play Magic most people I talked to about sitting for the project flat out refused.  The six who you see in the set here are the only people I could get to agree to do it.  It took a week of discussion but I was able to persuade them in the end.  Finally, I decided to use a simple one light set up for this shoot, because I always use a huge light set up for my projects, so I wanted to mix it up this time.

Stevie 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

McDermott & McGough

Not only is that art of McDermott & McGough a simulation but so was their lives for a long time.  They very much took the words of Baudrillard very seriously.  From the early 80’s to 1995 all parts of their lives were a simulation of a bygone era.  During this time there work focused mainly on the creation of period photographic pieces.  They would use an old form of photography but also have their subject dressed in period clothing and posed as they would have been from that period.  And beyond there work, they lived their lives as a period piece.  They would dress as turn of the century “men about town” and even converted there house to be completely turn of the century.

However, in 1995 they stopped living in this manner, and that is when there work became very interesting.  They continued in the same manner that they had before only now their work also took on new implications.  Once they stopped living in the past they let the present begin to influence their images.  While still period pieces they let used them as a mirror against the modern world to show just what little progress we have really made.

Cigarette Break, 1958
McDermott & McGough

Monday, April 29, 2013

Simulation, Reality does it really matter?

To say that I was lost for this part of the project is an understatement.  Figuring out a video to make from the images and ideas I had already was not easy, nor was filming.  In fact, I filmed and refilmed multiple times and was never truly happy with the outcome.  I also found my idea changing quite a bit.  When I started the idea I had was to really show the original idea that I had, which was to just walk around and find the extraordinary in the everyday world around us.  So originally the video was of me walking the route I took when I was taking the pictures, with me focusing on the subjects on the pictures.  However, I felt that this did not come out well at all so I completely changed my idea.  One of the things that I realized as I was going over my material was that things looked very different because the images were shot with a 20mm lens whereas the video was shot with a 50mm one.  So I decided that in my video I should really highlight the differences between the two.  So then the video became a back and forth between the images and the clips of the subjects from the video I took.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Can We Really Change Our Future

What struck me most from Bill Viola’s convocation lecture was in the beginning when he talked about how blessed we as young people are to be born into a world that is falling apart so we can try to fix it.  This really struck me as interesting because of many conversations that I have had with my own parents on this exact topic.  It was an interesting take on something that many in my generation see as our doom.  When talking with my parents about this topic what both interests them, and scares them, is how forlorn my generation is about their future.  Individuals from my generation look at the future and see nothing there.  The environment is being destroyed, every day the news tells us that we are one step closer to one war or another, there is constantly more violence, and the economy is just terrifying.  So for us who are just entering into the world for real it is not something we really look forward to.  That is why Bill’s idea really stuck out to me.  He wants us to look at the world and all that is going wrong with it and not see our impending doom, but see a way to prevent that doom that is staring us right in the face.  While this seems like such a simple thing to do, it is in fact an incredible undertaking for us to make, me especially.  It requires us to overcome the fear of what may happen and look onto what can happen instead, and for someone like me who for so long wanted to enter into a profession that profits from the short coming of our own government, it is quite a jump to make.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What is Real

When going over the pages of Simulations for this project the idea that really stuck out was that of hyper-reality.  I was thinking about this one night on the way back from the Bar’s when the idea hit me that even the real world around us can be quite surreal.  Therefore in this project I wanted to try and pull that surreality out and put it on display.  I did this by walking around town looking for things that just seem like they should not exist in the way they do.  Then from there I took these images and over saturated the colors in order to make it seem that much more hyper-real.  I really enjoyed this project and think that I was able to make my vision a reality.

Sonja Thomsen

I had extremely mixed feelings about Sonja Thomsen work.  I found a lot of her ideas to be very interesting but her execution of them to be lacking.  Many times I found myself extremely intrigued with an idea or theory that she was presenting but then I saw the actual piece I was let down.  As well, the exhibit that was show here at Lawrence I also had very mixed feelings about.  As usual I found her idea to be extremely interesting but execution somewhat lacking.  The biggest issue I had with it was the images themselves.  I loved the presentation of the images and the way the whole gallery worked but I thought that work its self was lacking.  I felt that the images where quite bland.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

What is Crazy

For this project I wanted to look at the ideas of insanity and violence that are prevalent throughout the book Wisconsin Death Trip.  Many of the newspaper articles that Michael Lesy uses in the book have that theme running through out them.  There is a lot about people going crazy and committing murders or strange seemingly random acts of violence.  So from the book I got a feeling of insanity.  So I wanted my movie to evoke the mind of a crazy person.  From that jumping off point I came up with a few idea of things that I thought would be weird and crazy and would promote this feeling.  From there I had the idea of making each of the “episodes” happen out of order, so that the viewer got the feeling that the person was not able to process what is going on correctly.  In general I loved this project because I felt that it gave me a lot of freedom creatively and allowed me to really develop this vision I had for the project, which is something that I feel I have not been able to do the rest of the term.  Finally, I would like to apologize for not having a youtube video of my project.  One of my models did not want it on the internet since the movie had images of her naked, as well due to the nudity it violated youtube’s terms of service.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Evan Baden

I had very mixed feelings about Evan Baden’s work.  His first series Illuminati I thought was incredible.  It had a great Idea behind it, and was executed beautifully.  However, I felt that the same cannot be said for the rest of his work.  His second body of work, Technically Intimate, I greatly disliked.  The biggest issue I had with the project was that after I heard him talking about it I felt that his impotence for the project was his own obsession with porn that he refused to admit to, a thought that others in attendance had as well.  This changed my view of the project from it being artistic to porn.  In addition to that I felt that the motifs in the images were quite basic and did not really push the idea beyond a very obvious level.  Finally I felt that in many ways his third project was just an extension of his second project, however I felt that it was even more exploitative than the second.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Has it become stronger in death?

I Found Working on this project to be very interesting.  Friedrich Nietzsche is not someone that one would normally think about having to do anything with art, but strangely enough it turns out that he does in fact have quite an influence on art, and theories on art.  However, because he is someone that is not commonly associated with art, there is not a lot of reference to him in journals or articles.  This was not as much of a detriment to my research as one might think, because it lead me down a very interesting path.  What I found was that Nietzsche’s ideas have invaded our popular culture, and that culture has in many ways watered down and perverted the ideas.  However, it is thought this dissemination though popular culture that Nietzsche has entered into art directly.  Because his ideas are part of the common lexicon much of his work has ended up in many movies and music by accident.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


This Project was way way out of my comfort zone.  While I love music and it has always been a big part of my life I have never been one to make it.  I am for all intents and purposes tone deaf so I have always stayed away from making music.  So when I was presented with this project I became quite worried.  I did not think I would be able to do the project because I have never been able to make anything that sounded in any way decent in the past.  However, after a couple of hours of working on the project when everything started to come together my feelings on the matter completely changed, to the point that by the end I became much more confident in what I was creating.  I also have a bit of trouble uploading the files to youtube.  It took me a very long time to figure out how to get them up there.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do I have Friends?

The main issue I found with this project was repetition.  I am used to doing projects with 12 images in them max, and it is very hard to become repetitious with so few images.  So when I was thinking about the project the thought that the images may start to become repetitive never entered my mind.  However, once I started shooting and editing I felt a bit of repetitiveness start, so I found myself having to really work on the photos to remove this feeling.  Another feeling that I kept having during the project was frustration.  While it was much faster and easier to work with and edit the photos on the computer as opposed to in a dark room I still found myself hating it.  Coming from a film background I have my way of looking at, working with, and arranging photos.  However, none of that works in digital.  For this reason I found it very hard to choose an order for the photos, and in general became quite frustrated with the whole process.



Monday, January 28, 2013

Lynda Barry

I felt that Lynda Barry was the best convo speaker in my time so far at Lawrence.  She was able to be thought provoking and funny and all around interesting.  This is something that I have not seen another convo speaker do.  But enough of that what did I like about her speech.  I found her way of connecting things incredibly interesting and enjoyable.  I really liked how she used familys and art and technology together.  Her discussion of how parents relate to there children is changing because of new technology was incredibly interesting.  However, what I found the most amazing, was the story she told about phantom pain.  I had to agree with her about it, it was strange that what was most definitively a medical process was not considered one because it used an image overlay.  To me there was something very wrong about that.  With that being said however, I still thought that the story was incredible.  The fact that the experiment worked was so fascinating, it really makes you wonder about the human brain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My First

For this movie I really wanted to capture the idea of space being present in all times.  I tried to capture this through the use of extremely long shots.  What I was trying to capture was the permanence of spaces and objects throughout time.  I wanted to show that while things change that space that I saw there never will because at that point in time it existed.  I wanted to put the song Time is On My Side by the Rolling Stones in the video, but I had trouble getting it to the program.  It is for that reason that I left the video silent.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Under the Influence

There have been a number of artists who have really shaped me as an artist.  Of all of these artists there are three who stand above the rest, they are Chuck Close, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Ian Ruhter.  The images of these three men have inspired me in incredible ways.

The first to have a real impact on me was Henri Cartier-Bresson.  While looking at his images of street photography, I was filled with a sense of aw due to his ability to capture the magnificence on the every day.  As I have discussed before this ability to turn even the most mundane days into something special is something that I have tried to recreate on my own.

Chuck Close and Ian Ruhter have inspired me in similar ways.  They have both effected the way I create portraiture as well push me to try and create Daguerreotype's.  They both create these incredibly detailed and complex portraits that have greatly influenced my own portraits.  There is something about the beauty subtle intangible beauty to there portraits which can not be expressed, which I have tried to recreate in my own portraits.

                                     SILVER & LIGHT from Ian Ruhter : Alchemist on Vimeo.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Yet Another Blog Post

Most of my art comes from two somewhat cliche places.  The first is how I view the world, and the second is how I view myself in the world.  These two ideas have greatly shaped the way I look at and create art.  This is most evident in my final projects in Intro and Intermediate Photo.

The first Image is from the final project for Intro to Photo.  The idea behind the project was to take the everyday world and make it beautiful and aw inspiring through abstraction.  The idea for this project came quite simply from the way in which I see the world.  Which is the first place from which my art originates.  My final project from Intermediate Photo exemplify's the world as I see it through myself.  For this project I made a series of portraits of Jewish students who attend Lawrence.  I then used these portraits to exemplify the community feel of Judaism.  The series showed that while we all come from different walks of life, look different, and may even come from very different racial backgrounds we are all connected by our Judaism and the community we gain from it.  This was conclusion that I had come to after much thinking on the matter.

The image above exemplify's who I am better than anything else I can think of.  There is very much two sides to my personality, and they come out in the choice of majors I have made.  The first is ordered and reasonable.  This then is my Government major.  Whereas the other side is creative and much more free, that would be my studio art major.  Now, the Image above has brought both of those worlds together.  It is an image with great political significance.  I took this image while working with the artist Wing Young Huie on his Chalk Talk project.  The image is of a ex-army chemical engineer who was part of the teams that looked for WMDs in Iraq.  After returning home and realizing that he has been lied to by his government and that his purpose in life was pretty much a lie he was broken.  While he has a wife and kids he could not support them and ended up homeless.  However, by the time I met him and took this picture he had found a new purpose in life, being the best father he could be and finding a way to provide for his family.

Finally, I leave you all with the below image, to reflect on the world, and the tremendous beauty contained within it and the road you take through it.

My website can be found at the following link. http://frankliebermanphotography.artworkfolio.com/