Posted by: photochika42 | December 6, 2010

“When one door closes, another one opens…” Summary

My original idea for my final project apparently did not have enough of a consistent thread to it, so I switched my focus from my hometown to doors. I chose to have a theme of doors, whether they are church doors, doors to a home, or to a public building.  I felt that the theme of churches, which were another possible idea, was a very common theme. I also felt that there were not as many projects and not as much focus on doors as there is on churches and the different parts of the church.  All of my photos are from the DuPont Circle area of Washington D.C. unless otherwise stated.

My first photo is from the Public Citizen building.  The texture of the grate that covered the window on the door caught my attention.  I also thought that the door had a nice contrast to the pillars that were located on either side of it.

My second photo is from the Jamaican Embassy. The lines on the door encourage movement of the viewer.  There is a pattern that trims the door, which I also found intriguing. This doorway is not framed in the same way as the doorway from the Public Citizen building, but the details on the door made up for the lack of bold framing.

My third photo is from the Church of Scientology.  There were two main points that I focused on with this shot.  I felt that the pillars that help frame the door of this building were an important emphasis of the architecture.  I also thought that the idea of symmetry within this entrance way was another point to focus on.  Everything is balanced in just the right way and it appears that nothing is out of order.

My fourth photo is from a council building. The architecture that is located above this door helps draw the viewer to the top of the photo. There is a lot of detail that is located in the overhang, and that makes up for the simplicity of the door. The door does have a simple design, but that design does not make this photo overwhelming to the viewer.

My fifth photo is from the store called “Beadazzled”. The door is very, very simple, but the print that is located within the frame of the door made this photo intriguing. Unfortunately, there is a glare on the glass of the door, which does take away from the appeal of the print on the door. Even with the glare, the color of the print does draw the viewer in.

My sixth photo is from Wayne Presbyterian Church, located in Wayne, Pennsylvania.  The archway that frames this door is simplistic yet a bit elegant.  The doors are red, which is what drew me in to take photos of these doors. The glass design located above the door is also interesting to the viewer, but it does not take away from the photo overall.

My seventh and final photo is from the Washington Club. The pattern on the door itself was interesting, and I also felt that including a picture of an open door would make the viewer think more about the photo. What is going on inside this building? Was the door left open on purpose, or is the open door encouraging people to come inside?

Posted by: photochika42 | December 6, 2010

When one door closes, another one opens…

Public Citizen Building - Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

Jamaican Embassy - Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

Church of Scientology - Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

Council Building - Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

Beadazzled door - Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

Wayne Presbyterian Church, Wayne, PA

Washington Club - Dupont Circle, Washington D.C.

Posted by: photochika42 | December 6, 2010

Production Journal


Originally, I wanted to have more of a theme for my photo essay than my previous photo essay did.  I felt that since I was going to be working on this project over Thanksgiving break, I would have more flexibility with my selection of photos.  Since the break was for Thanksgiving, I thought that I should focus on the holiday that we were celebrating.  I felt that taking pictures of a plate throughout the course of a Thanksgiving dinner would be a good idea.  When I presented this idea to the class, I felt that the project would not work out as I was hoping it would.  I also would have to worry about lighting if I was taking a direct shot of a dinner plate, and there is only so much you can do with a plate full of food.

I had the idea of taking pictures around my town of interesting buildings or different architecture.  I felt that my town was a theme by itself, but I realized that it was not specific enough after I arrived back at American University.  Obviously, it was difficult for me to go back to my hometown to take more pictures that had more of a consistent theme, such as church arches, so I went out and took pictures around DuPont Circle.  Instead of focusing on arches, I felt that focusing on doors would be a more interesting topic to a viewer.

The reason I changed my topic to architecture was because of my passion for taking photos of architecture.  I also chose to take on the idea of architecture because of Polly Chandler.  Polly Chandler is a photographer that has some phenomenal pictures of architecture on her website.  Some of the angles that she used to capture the right picture inspired me to try and mimic what angles she shot from.

Before production, I did not have any difficulties.  Before I went to actually take a picture, the most preparation I had to do was to make sure that my camera was straight, the picture was not fuzzy, and to make sure that I was able to capture what I wanted to capture.

I walked around my town, which is a standard suburb, and stopped by buildings that I felt had some historical value.  Many of the buildings have been around for a long period of time, so I felt that I had a variety of shots to work with.  I never timed myself when I went out to shoot, but I felt that I spent a good amount of time setting up the right shot and taking the picture that I wanted to capture.

The only day that I was able to go out and originally shoot photos for this photo essay had an overcast sky.  This made it difficult for me to play around with the sun’s rays or play around with shadows from trees or from different buildings.  I felt that I could enhance some of the photos using Adobe Photoshop on the computer, but I know that my experience with Photoshop would not be able to re-create a sunny day.

The location was my town for when I originally shot these photos, but then I went into DuPont Circle to add more pictures to this project.  The time was midday when I shot pictures in my town, as well as when I took pictures in DuPont Circle.  I used a digital camera to take the pictures for my photo essay, and I used iPhoto to enhance my pictures.  I felt that I accomplished my goal originally when I was around my town, but that was not the case when I realized that my town was apparently not a consistent theme.

I used iPhoto to help make my photos more dynamic and vivid.  There was not a whole lot I could do about going back to my town after I was back in Washington, D.C. when I realized that my town was not a strong enough theme.

I learned that having my hometown as a theme for this photo essay is apparently too broad of a theme.  I was very disappointed about that, and wish I knew that back over Thanksgiving break.  I would have gone around to more churches and have taken pictures of arches or of church doors, or of any doors that I felt were interesting.  I feel that I was not able to visually convey the original theme that I wanted too, but that my door idea is a nice replacement.  I felt that the theme of church arches was overdone, and that a theme of doors would be a nice replacement for that.

My final result now is nowhere near my original idea.  Doors and plates full of Thanksgiving food do not have anything in common.  I wish that I had more time at home to take more pictures of my hometown to be able to have more of a theme.  It would be easier for me to have a wider selection of photographs to work with to compose my photo essay.

I feel that this project is not my strongest work.  I kept bouncing around from one idea to another, and with that, my work suffered a little bit.  I know that my door idea might not be as interesting as my hometown idea, but I feel that it is my only option now.  I feel that I would be able to have more of a variety of photos if I did not jump around from idea to idea.

I also learned that I should wait to buy supplies in case plans change, as they did for our final. I bought foam board and cut it up while I was at home.  When I got back and went over my rough draft of my final project, the photo essay no longer needed to be printed out or backed on I also bought double-sided tape to mount the pictures onto the foam board.  When I found out that the materials were no longer needed, I was a bit disappointed.  I do understand that with the lack of time to critique every person’s project, it makes more sense to have everything posted on our blogs.

I felt that since I had so much difficulty sticking to one theme or idea with this project, I would not do it again.  I know that a lot of my pictures are decent, but I guess the way I had them relate to each other within the theme was not how the audience for this project would see it.  If I go out and work on another project, I feel like I would be restricted to that theme. I feel that I can be more creative by going out and taking pictures of anything that I find intriguing.  If I have enough pictures to create one solid theme from the collection of pictures that I take, then I would use that theme for a future project.

Posted by: photochika42 | November 21, 2010

Plunged Outta Luck – Comedy Film

Plunged Outta Luck:

(there was difficulty embedding the video on WordPress)

Movie Poster:

Plunged Outta Luck Movie Poster


<object width=”400″ height=”225″><param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”movie” value=”;;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0&#8243; /><embed src=”;;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0&#8243; type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”400″ height=”225″></embed></object><p><a href=”″>Plunged Outta Luck</a> from <a href=”″>Brianna F</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>
Posted by: photochika42 | November 20, 2010

CBQM – Film Critique

The title of the documentary I went to see is “CBQM” – which is the name of a radio station. The initials CBQM are short for “Come Back Quick Mom”. The intended audience of this documentary was adults.

The purpose of the documentary was to show how the radio is the focus of this community. The message that the director wanted to get across was that the community relies upon this radio for entertainment, news, announcements, and messages from listeners to other listeners. In a way, the radio station CBQM is a lifeline for this arctic community.

Before I saw “CBQM”, I knew that it was about a radio station in a small community, and that members of this community were involved with entertaining one another through the radio. In the film, a majority of senior citizens were involved with running the station and providing entertainment through the station. I was expecting more involvement from younger community members to help draw in some of the younger community members. I was curious about this radio station, and they just allowed anyone to go on the air without any prior screening or questioning about what their timeframe will include.

The subject of the documentary is the radio station CBQM. The radio station is located in an arctic community in Canada. The documentary is about certain programs that air on CBQM. One of the main events during the documentary is when the radio station moves from one building to another building. The station had to be shut down for two days so the move could occur. One of the other main events is the radio bingo, where people who want to play bingo go to the station, pay for their bingo cards, and then go home and listen to the numbers being called over the radio. If they got bingo, then they would call into the radio station and tell the announcer that they won. The winner would have to go down to the station with the winning card in order to claim a prize, which was money.

The majority of the sound effects included in this film were sound bites from broadcasts at CBQM. The images are sharp. The images were not blurry or too dark in any way. The filming was strong, the majority of the camera angles that were used were establishing shots, medium close-ups, or close-ups. Establishing shots were mainly used to show scenery, the medium close-ups were used for conversations or when someone was broadcasting, and the close-ups were normally on a radio or a certain object before a new scene began. I liked the interviews because they informed the audience about what events were happening, or about the way the station is run. There were not any special effects to my knowledge, except for the possibility of additional lighting to the shot.

The part that I most enjoyed from this documentary was the fact that these announcers or workers for the radio station always enjoyed themselves. There was lots of laughter throughout the documentary. I learned that radio is still used as a major news source and a lifeline. I know that more people are turning to the internet or to the daily news on television in order to get the news, and I normally do not hear of many people turning to the radio for their news. What surprised me in this film was that there was one police officer (or the equivalent in Canada) for this whole town, and he did announce some messages and warning to the CBQM community. One of the drawbacks to this documentary was that it was very dry, and that there was not a whole lot of excitement throughout the film. I also felt that another drawback to this documentary was that the radio station was community focused, which could be confusing to an outsider who might be visiting the town. I would not recommend this documentary to my friends because I feel that they are not interested in how radio affects a small town in Canada. My friends and I have similar taste, and since I was not a huge fan of this documentary, I do not feel that they would enjoy it either.

Posted by: photochika42 | November 13, 2010

DCFotoWeek Exhibit Critique

The photographer who I went to see was Peter van Agtmael. The theme of his exhibit was the effects of war both in Iraq and Afghanistan and at home. Van Agtmael created the theme of the effects of war in Iraq and home. There were many pictures of life within the bases around Iraq and Afghanistan, and pictures of veterans who made it home without an arm or leg that are shocking and inspiring. He would spend between three and nine weeks at a time overseas taking pictures of what he saw over there.

Graffiti Van Agtmael found in a bathroom

The lighting that he used was either natural (from the sun) or from a headlight and LEDs. Van Agtmael wouldn’t always use flash. With these photos, the lack of flash and use of a headlight or LEDs made the composition of the photo more interesting to the viewer.


Van Agtmael's photograph of a victim of violence

The slideshow did involve some friends of Van Agtmael while he was over in Iraq or Afghanistan, or when he came to visit them at home. A few pictures that Van Agtmael included in his slideshow presentation were harder to look at because they included someone who was injured, and a lot of blood was normally associated with the injury. Even with some of these photographs, there is still a sense of detachment between viewing the photograph and actually being in the moment when the photograph is taken.  Van Agtmael also felt that a still photo is more profound way to capture life.


IED Explosion that Van Agtmael witnessed

Some of the photography was more appealing to me than others. For example, photos of injured soldiers or photos that included a good amount of blood were harder for me to look at than the photos of far away explosions (like the one above) or of life within the camp. The fact that he took photos of graffiti on the bathroom was interesting, because not many people are interested in graffiti. This made me realize that you can take a photograph of anything, whether it is of a bathroom wall or of a gory scene.


Posted by: photochika42 | November 8, 2010

Movie Poster Critique

Movie Poster:

Moulin Rouge Movie Poster

Moulin Rouge Movie Poster

I chose a poster from the movie “Moulin Rouge” that was released in 2001. Moulin Rouge is a romance film, and that can be clearly seen by the couple that is kissing on the poster.  I feel that this is an effective movie poster, and that it does sell the movie because many people enjoy watching romance movies, so the couple that is kissing is the main focus of the poster.  The viewer’s eye is instantly drawn to them.  The obvious message is that this film is about romance and a location called “the Moulin rouge” and includes the ideas of truth, freedom, beauty, and love, which are listed directly on the poster.

The signifier of this poster is the kissing, and the signified is that romance can be found at the Moulin Rouge.  The dark colors that are used on this poster signify that this love story might not have a happy ending.  The couple is an organic form, but the windmill behind them to the left is a geometric building.  The angle of the Nicole Kidman’s back shows movement for the viewer, and the way it curves to direct the viewer to the windmill in the background could signify that her character has some sort of attachment to that building.  The texture of the poster is soft, because of the light and the edges of the clothing and the poster blending into the border or the background.

Image from

Posted by: photochika42 | October 31, 2010

Comedy Deconstruction

Comedy films are “make ‘em laugh” films that are used to create laughter from the audience. Comedies are used to entertain and amuse.  Comedy has two general formats: comedian-led (which includes gags, jokes, or sketches) and situation comedies that are told with a narrative. Sometimes, these formats overlap. There are many subgenres within comedy, such as romantic comedy, crime/caper comedy, sports comedy, teen comedy, social-class comedy, military comedy, fish-out-of-water comedy, and gross-out comedy.  There are many different types of comedies: slapstick, deadpan, screwball, dark/black, and parody of spoof.

Slapstick was predominant in silent films because they were effective without sound. The term slapstick was taken from the wooden sticks that clowns slapped together to promote the sound of audience applause. Slapstick comedy normally uses harmless physical action of some sort, and required having excellent timing and advanced performance skills. Some actors in slapstick comedy were Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges.

Deadpan comedy is a form of comic delivery in which humor is presented without a change in body language or emotion. Deadpan comedy is also known as dry wit humor. Buster Keaton was well known for this expression-less face when delivering deadpan humor. Verbal comedy uses a lot of puns, jokes, and innuendos or double entendres to deliver humor.

Screwball comedies are a sub-genre of romantic comedies, and were predominant from mid 1930s to the mid 1940s. The word screwball refers to craziness, ridiculousness, and erratic behavior. Screwball films combine farce, slapstick, and witty dialogue.

Black or dark comedy are dark, sarcastic, humorous and sardonic stories that help examine otherwise ignored darker serious subjects, such as death, war and illness. One of the most famous dark or black comedy films is Beetlejuice (1988), which was set in a haunted house.

Parody or spoof comedies are also known as satires, lampoons, or farce comedies. This subgenre of comedy ridicules, impersonates, or mimics the style of other films. Some of the famous parodies or spoofs that are contemporary films are the Austin Powers series (1997, 1999, 2002), which ridicules the James Bond 007 series, and the Scary Movie series, which ridicule different elements and scenes from some horror/thriller films.

“Pillow Talk” scene:

Jan Morrow (Doris Day), an interior decorator in New York City, lives well for a bachelorette. She has a nice apartment, a successful career, has nice clothing, and dates wealthy men. She shares a party line with her neighbor, Brad Allen (Rock Hudson). Brad Allen is a successful song-writing bachelor who frequently uses the party line to woo women, which drives Jan Morrow crazy.

The scene from “Pillow Talk” contributes to the feeling of amusement and making light of a situation, which is an important part of comedy. The scene shows entertainment between the two scenes and uses split screen. Split screen is used throughout the film, mostly during telephone conversations between the two main characters. The mise-en-scene of this scene has 50’s style decor. All of the props in this scene are relevant to the time period of when this movie was filmed. The lighting expresses the right mood that is relevant to this scene, which is upbeat, and this scene is set during the day time. The spacing of this scene does show that the focus is on the actors, and not a certain object or scene. The actors in this scene do use 1950’s dialogue and are in a 1950’s mindset, which helps their role.

“Anchorman” scene:

Anchorman is a parody of 70’s style news anchors. Ron Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell, is the top-rated news anchor in San Diego, but this quickly changes with the arrival of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Veronica Corningstone aspires to deliver the evening news, and she gets a job at the San Diego newsstation where Ron Burgundy reports the news.  This scene above is when they first meet at a pool party.

The mise-en-scene has 70’s style clothing, technology from the 1970s, and the actors use slang from the 1970s. The lighting demonstrates that it is night-time when this scene is taking place. The depth and proximity of where the characters are (being in the foreground of the camera, and not in the background) shows that the focus is on them, and not on something in the background that is approaching or leaving. The acting style of the actors in this scene is relevant to the 1970 time period.


Posted by: photochika42 | October 31, 2010

Lumiere Critique

Sylvia and I had different ideas for filming our lumiere, such as having someone unicycle in the quad, watching people enter and exit TDR, watching a pick-up basketball game, watching who enters and exits MGC. We ended up going out onto the quad and filming the Alpha Epsilon Pi fundraiser event, where you would pay to push a pie into one of the fraternity brothers’ face.

I was content with the end result, but I would have changed one or two things. I would have had more people being pied in the video, and I would also not have the guy who was pie-ing people face the camera directly. I also would have changed the placement of the title. I would have had the title have its own screen. I was a little nervous about showing the film to an audience, but I hoped that they enjoyed the humor of someone being pied in the face.  Some people did laugh a little bit, so I was happy with their reaction to the lumiere film.


I chose Emily and Olivia’s Lumiere, which was the video about eating the oreos. I liked the angle of how the video was taken, and I enjoyed the composition of the Lumiere. It’s a different perspective of looking at life, and it had a fun mood about it, and I felt that this video also made me want to eat a few oreos. I also liked the choice of glass/mug for the milk. The orange mug popped against the brown of the table, I felt that this film worked also because of the unexpected ending, the way the cookie crumbled.

The person eating the oreos looked like they were displaying the oreo being dipped into the milk, which does not really seem natural to me. I also felt that the video was a little shaky, so a tripod or some other surface could have supported the camera. Using a tripod would have helped improve the Lumiere, and if the person eating the oreo was more natural about eating oreos, then it would not have seemed so staged.

Posted by: photochika42 | October 24, 2010

Critique and Lumiere

After this reading week’s readings, do you agree or disagree with the Manifesto? Is it possible for film to truly be ‘realistic?’ Yes or No, explain.

No, I do not agree with the Manifesto, and I do not feel that it is possible for film to be truly realistic. I feel that if a film was truly “realistic”, then it would have to be filmed without the consent of what or whom is being filmed. The Lumiere Manifesto does state that camera movements and special effects (such as zooming, cutting from scene to scene, and other effects) are distractions, which are possible in capturing “realistic” life too. Special effects and different effects of the camera do take away from the “realism” idea of film. The line between “realism” and “real” is blurred by the use of these special effects.

I do feel, however, that certain camera movements, such as zoom, can help the viewer clearly see what is going on. Some camera movements can create more interest in the video by the viewer, so some movement is necessary. Having things (whether it be objects or people) continuously enter and exit one still frame can bore a viewer.


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