First, I want to thank those who have visited Wei Chen Photo. The old man was thrilled. It probably will take him a while to figure out how to visit/follow your blog ;-(
My Experience for Lesson 4
Lesson 4 is about making engaging photos. The first assignment, to my surprise, is to take self-portrait. It’s easier to ask someone to take a photo of me, but, hey, I am supposed to be the photographer, am I not? Setting the camera on tripod, and on remote release, I guessed where I should be stand and started shooting. I missed a half of my head on the first try, but the second one was okay and I started having fun.
Writers are performers (sort of). We know (I think we do) how to bring a certain emotion out. But I only wanted my true emotion. To make sure I didn’t take a photo of not-me, I decided to pose with one of my mom’s Chinese dresses. My mom passed away on 2001, and I haven’t been able to look at her dresses yet. It was an emotional experience, to say the least. Anyway, the first photo I took was focused well, but my hands were not in it. The second was slightly out of focus, but you can see my hands holding the dress. By then, I was emotionally exhausted. I had to select one of two, but which one?
I always critique my own work. The interesting thing is I now not only critique my own work, but also hearing Otto’s voice and I critique “a little bit” like Otto (Ha!) I almost knew what he was going to say about these two photos. But I really didn’t want to take another one, so I decided to submit the one that my hands were holding the dress. Here is the photo that I didn’t submit.
The second assignment is to make a mini photo-essay about something important to us. I listed many things that are important to me: peace, hope, family, love, kindness, friendship… etc. I stared at my list for a long time and it finally dunned on me that what interested me the most is life itself. My life and other people’s lives. And guess what? That means I could take photo of anything, doesn’t it? I was happy when I figured this one out 😉
I wanted to make this assignment a little more difficult. Otto has told us from the beginning that we should engage with our subject and, to this date, I had never done that. At the most, I managed to ask for permission before shooting, but after the person said yes, I usually quickly took a photo and leave. This time I determined that I would engage.
I saw a man standing there listening to the music (a lady was playing the piano and one other lady was singing). I waited. When he finally turned to look at me, I asked, “Can I take a picture of you?”
He looked surprised. I saw a big question mark on his face. I continued, “I am taking a photography class and I have to take photos for my assignments.”
He smiled and said, “Sure.” He posed.
“But, my teacher said we should engage with the person before taking his photos. (It’s easier to use someone else as an excuse! Sorry. But it’s my first try!) So… do you live in town?”
He laughed, and we had a “short” nice conversation. When I finally started taking photos, my camera didn’t work – it wouldn’t click. Speaking of embarrassment! I reset ISO, reset this and that, the camera still wouldn’t click. The man’s wife came; I explained to her what I was doing. She was ok with it, but I just couldn’t fix the camera. Disappointedly, I let the nice couple go.
I called my husband telling him something was wrong with the camera. He calmly said, “Let’s see… the last picture you took was self-portrait. Did you reset the release mode dial?”
Okay, back to business, but where did that couple go? Giving it up, I walked toward the parking lot. While I was passing a restaurant, I spotted them! We talked more, and I took several photos of them.
At the end, the guy asked me, “Why are you afraid of asking people?”
“I don’t want people get mad at me,” I said.
“No, no one would get mad when someone wants to take a photo of him,” he said.
They gave me their address and invited me to visit them. 😉
Now you all know the story. Don’t be afraid! (It’s easy to say. Ha.)
The third assignment is to do something our way, something out of the box. I have seen some people purposely moving camera up and down or left to right to create an abstract image. I always wanted to give it a try, so I did. Here is one example.
Do you like those abstract images? Do they speak to you?
In my case, I like some of them, not all of them. Some do put me into a certain mode. But, I haven’t figured out how to make an abstract image speak yet. What’s the essential elements?