So, for my first Media Practices: Design photoshoot, I was told to choose any theme I wanted and for this week, I chose to photograph what I saw as I walked to work in the morning. I did this using my Droid 2 cellphone with an app called Vignette. I did this simply because it was in my pocket on my way to work when I had the idea. I also decided to not use any text to describe the shots I took. So, this is what I have, for better or worse.

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I hope you enjoyed our morning stroll.

The assignment this week is to start putting together designs and framing for a website that we are going to create. As I said in my last, rather confused post, I have made websites in the past. Poorly, but still. A for effort? Anyway, the fact is, I have made them before and while I’ve always enjoyed creating them, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never planned one through. Let’s not break that pattern now! No, just kidding, I’ve been giving some thought as to what my website would be if I were to go back into my HTML ways. In the end, I decided that a jewelry business is a vague ambition for the future would be a good way to jump back into site designing. The problem is: I never gave much thought to what a jewelry business would entail. I need supplies to make inventory to sell. This is not as easy as it may sound as silver, gold, beads, findings, and tools all cost quite a bit of money. Money, which thanks to the Company-That-Must-Not-Be-Named’s meager salary, I don’t have. But even so, it’s kind of fun to come up with a place where I may one day showcase my pieces in the hopes to sell them. This business venture I was originally going to call “Myriad Designs.” Why? Because “myriad” is my favorite word and my tastes are many and varied, which is what the word denotes. Unfortunately, that seems to be a bit to on-the-nose, so I had to go back to thinking of something else. The title I ended up with was “Arsenic and Blue Lace” because blue lace agate is one of my favorite stones and because I’ve never met a pun I didn’t like. This is always subject to change as I am indecisive and not much in love with the name. But for now it works!

Anyway, when trying to come up with the color scheme for the site, I came up with three moodboards from the adobe theme site. These are:

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I thought this one was sweet and very calming. Very girly. God, what was I thinking when I chose these?

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This one works with the graphic I later made as a header graphic.

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…these are faded Superman colors. ‘Nuff said.

Along with those, I also made my header graphic, which looks something like this:
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I actually like the way this turned out. It’s from a photo that I took a few weeks ago of some flowers I saw at Bryant Park:
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Finally, I actually sketched out the vague format of my website. Shocking, I know, but it had to be done! I want a very clean layout with only the navbar at the top w/ the header image, and a couple of picture links in the body. And the rest of the site would be fairly consistent in that I don’t want to clutter my page too much. Here is an image of what, more or less I was going for:
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And this is pretty much how I want A&BL to look like if the site ever gets done. Considering I still have a ton of stuff to do BEFORE I ever get that far, we shall have to see what happens next in that regard. Until then!

There are plenty of things that a person can do to relax when times get rough. Some people like to knit, some like to go out dancing, some like to go to a firing range and shoot the hell out of stuff. And while this week I would have loved to stick hot lead into some hapless paper target, I simply couldn’t find the time. Do you know the effort it takes to find a range in the area, then actually go there, register and get familiar with the basics? Honestly, how do people fit it in their schedules? No, though this week had been frustrating, what with tons of nit-picky work to do and a raging supervisor who decides to give you a lesson on rounding numbers to the nearest decimal (I can’t make this stuff up), I didn’t go a-shooting. Instead, I turned to the next most relaxing thing I could think of: Photoshop.

Ok, so I didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter, considering that it was my assignment for Concepts, but still, I was happy to get back to a program that I neglected for so long. When I was in college I got into PS as a way to make my own desktop wallpapers. Even though I was frustrated as all hell, I was able to teach myself the relative basics, plus some extra techniques after two years. My love of Photoshop sort of fell by the wayside after I got a job (damn you work!), so it felt like coming home when I started working on this project.

The subject of my photoshop mischief was, of course, my lovely assistant, Ian. Taking the pictures I snapped last week, I was able to get back into my photo-editing groove.

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Well, boys and girls, it’s that time of week again. Time to show artistry and mastery of the course known as Media Practices: Concepts. As I am neither an artist nor am I a master, I’m going to show you some pretty pictures instead. The subject of my exploration into the world of digital photography that does not include a few martinis (just a very cheap bottle of wine, but I’ll get to that later), is Ian, my lovely boyfriend and a much more (MUCH more) experienced photographer than I am. My thanks goes out to him for being my willing test subject, a giver of equipment, and a patient teacher. What? You think I knew how to use his camera? I needed his help to find the “on” button.

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This first shot is up there as a favorite of mine. Based on a famous Magritte painting titled The Son of Man, I wanted to see if I could replicate some of the feeling of the original. Obviously, with the apple being held up instead of floating there, most of the absurdity is gone. But I still like the way the shape of the apple mimics that of his beard and the very subtle shadow it casts on his face. And of course, he has to ham it up for the camera.
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3 Things.

February 15, 2011

3 things that made me happy yesterday: the sun, honeysuckle, and hearts.

Not to get all soppy, but I honestly couldn’t imagine a better Valentine’s Day than the one we just experienced. It had not much to do with love (though I did get some very sweet texts from my honey), but the gorgeous weather. I’ve been itching for spring since summer ended. I don’t mind winter, except when it takes forever to transition back into spring, then it pisses me off. Yesterday, though, was a preview of what I hope is to come. I got to spend my lunch break with the lovely Steff, which made my day quite thoroughly. Nothing like catching up with a friend in the park to lift your spirits. But besides being absolutely glorious on Monday, I noticed something: the sun was still out at 5pm when I left the office. Utterly amazing, I could still feel the warmth on my face. I think I can deal with just about any temperature, as long as there is light. Soon, my lovelies, soon we shall have the beautiful weather again. I’m counting the seconds.

To make things even more wonderful, I found a fantastic perfume that I’ve become obsessed with. Demeter, a fragrance company, specializes in making scents that you wouldn’t normally find on the shelves. Stuff like “Laundromat” or “Grass,” this is for someone who wants to smell fresh and clean. They do have some floral and fruity scents, but to me nothing compared to their honeysuckle. It didn’t smell like artificial honeysuckle, it smelled like I was right next to the plant itself. I don’t know how long I stood in that Duane Reade just sniffing the bottle. Will definitely get it for myself ASAP, it’s a must have. I honestly think that if love had a scent, it would smell like honeysuckle.

Whether it’s Valentine’s or not, I love hearts. Very girly, I know, but it’s true. Nothing brightens me up more than seeing hearts or stars wherever I go. So, even if I’m in the middle of singledom, Valentine’s Day never bugged me. It indulged my love of hearts with no reprisal. I figured since my last blog was all gross pictures (had to be done, I make no apologies, and really, the subject was interesting), I’d post something a bit more pleasant. Sunday I went through my weekly ritual of a self-manicure. I work all week and I go to class on Saturdays, so Sunday is really the only time I can be frivolous, when I can sleep late, watch tons of crap television and, yes, pamper myself a little. Though this was not so much pampering as it was three hours of intense nail care. But the effect, in the end, was worth it, I think:

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What do you think?

Recently, I had to read a book by a very smart woman by the name of Susan Sontag. Passionate about her work as a photographer and empathetic to the people around, she felt compelled to write  Regarding the Pain of Others, a series of arguments explaining that, while photo images of war atrocities bring to life the horrors of war, they need to be coupled with compassion. Without at least some interest in humanity, these pictures are just a vague reminder of the terrible things going on in the world. With everything that has been going on in Egypt, it seems like more pictures have been coming out of that country more than ever. The question is, does any of this penetrate the fog that the United States seemed to have wrapped themselves in? We try so hard to keep apprised of the goings-on in the world, but it always looks as though there is too much being thrown at us and therefore we become too desensitized. It gets to the point when I wonder if graphic images even work the way they’re supposed to, if they ever did. The only thing I can think of is how grateful I am that not the protests in Egypt were not as violent as they could have been.

I was asked to compare two photographs, one as mentioned in Sontag’s book (someone needs to add pictures to the next edition) and one from the Egyptian protests. The following can be rather graphic, so I warn you now.

WARNING: there is a graphic image after the jump!

And so it begins again…

January 25, 2011

Just when I thought I’d be able to catch my breath from last semester, the new one starts up. Back in school and no idea just what I’m getting into. Part of me feels excited to get started, begin the learning process and see what I can pick up from professors and friends along the way. The other part…well, let’s just say I’m not all that confident. I’ve always been more of a jack of all trades and definitely a master of none. To see people with such a concrete vision of what they want to do is more than a little intimidating. When asked what we would like to do for our final project (yes, the professor did ask us this on the first day of class), I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head. And now I’m looking into the concept of innocence. Except that it’s become so overblown and crazy that I’m not sure what to do with it anymore. Ah, well. At least we have time to keep researching what we’d like to do.

My mind does keep circling around this idea of innocence in society and maybe doing an art project on child murderers, both in real life and portrayed in the media. I keep thinking about the cognitive dissonance involved in thinking of a child who commits murder. Like it’s almost something unthinkable. And yet, there are plenty of films and plenty of books that have this archetype. It would just seem interesting to explore. I would probably start off small to create an outline of what I’d like to do. Funny enough, I was looking at some pictures I took and I saw one that would actually work really well with what I want to do for my project.

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Sort of reminds you of The Warriors, right? It’s what I keep coming to when I look at it. If someone knows exactly what that’s from, let me know! I’m interested to see where the inspiration came from.

My Give-a-Damn is Busted.

January 13, 2011

Yeah so, I would love to make a blog venting my frustrations on work, but rather than court the possibility of getting fired, I’m going to post some pictures I took on my walk during lunch. Look at the pretty, don’t look at the rage.

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I love SoHo, it almost feels like a different world when I go past Leonard St.