Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano Images

I am sure you have all seen images of this already, but thought I'd share a link to the incredible photographs of the recent volcano eruption in Iceland...a good example of the strong connection between art and science:


Visual Journalism We Can All Take Part In...

This morning I read an article that reminded me a lot of class and I thought it could be fun for us to participate in A Timely Global Mosaic, Created by All of Us.

The basic idea is that everyone is invited to join in taking a photo on May 2 at the exact same moment to create a mosaic of one single moment in the life of our planet. Then you're supposed to send your photo to Lens, the photography blog of the New York Times.

The photograph can be of anything, but you may want to think ahead a little to show how you can best represent yourself, your community, your culture or whatever it is you decide to take a picture of.

The timing of this is complicated, but basically, on the East Coast you will need to take a picture at 11 am on Sunday, May 2. Starting on May 2 and ending on May 7, there will be a form available on the New York Times Website so that you can submit your best image. For more information, check out the blog here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I was at a dinner party last night for a friend who has joined a photography book on facebook. She was sharing the above image as one that has lately been discussed within the group. This is a picture that I have seen before (one taken in 1994), but I didn't know the story behind it. My friend told me that the photographer shot it quickly and left before finding out what happened to the little boy. It was known that the little boy was trying to make his way to a United Nations station for food while the vulture waited in the distance for the boy to die. The conversation at the dinner table seemed to settle on the horror of this image, the image as documentation of the Sudan famine for those people in the world who might not believe it, but also the outrage that the photographer could then just walk away. While my friend pulled up the image on the computer, everyone seemed to be mesmerized staring at the image, myself included. It's an image many of us have seen before and I don't feel the need to see it again, but when it is put before me, I can't even look away. As the conversation continued, I found myself thinking about our class discussions over the traumatic images of 9/11 and the degree to which exposure to images can almost make people numb. After sharing this with other dinner guests, there seemed to be consensus amongst the guests that the image of this little boy was more horrifying than images of 9/11.

Although the conversation moved on, I was left wondering why this was so. Could it be that images of 9/11 were so abundant that people have become numb to some degree? Is it because the majority of dinner guests were living in the NYC-Long Island area when it happened versus the photo in discussion was taken in Sudan? Is it because 9/11 was an act of terrorism - humans against humans, whereas the image of the vulture and the boy is nature at its worst? It is amazing to think that over 15 years after this image was taken, people on Facebook are still discussing the image, and it is coming up at dinner parties amongst friends. It also leaves me wondering if photographing events is enough. I can't help but get the idea out of my mind that this photographer saw the little boy struggling, took the photograph and left. The photographer committed suicide a few years later. Some images you can't shake.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trauma of Images- Haiti

I was thinking about our conversation regarding the trauma of images. We discussed those images that are frozen in our minds and some shared that traumatic experiences are more of a movie they replay over and over. I'm sure we all have some combination of these experiences regarding trauma. It prompted me to consider the images coming from the earthquake in Haiti. I had been feeling like the images were increasingly shocking as compared to images from other disasters/wars. I found this Washington Post article asking about our responsibility in these situations. Elikins talked about the images we censor or are forbidden to see. How do you think this has shifted over the years?

Another question to ask- recently my friend witnessed the man who jumped off of the empire state building. She described this to me in great detail and I made an image in my mind that I can't shake. This image or one like it, from a New Yorker, traumatically dead would never be shared, yet images of twisted bodies from other countries are. I think this is interesting. Is it o.k for us to exploit and view the mangled dead elsewhere?

Here's the link for the Washington Post article:


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Article-People getting hired from their Flickr images

I thought that this article would be interesting for the class from "The New York Times". It tells a terrific story about a woman who uploaded her Hawaii vacation pictures onto Flickr, only to be hired by stock image company Getty Images. She now makes a monthly income from license fees of her photos.

Here is the link....


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Change Blindness

On the topic of blindness, this is an interesting database of almost identical pictures with one difference.

A change could be the deletion of an element from the original picture, a color or location change, a size change, etc. You are also able to control the flicker rate of the two images, as well as the interval during which the changes are masked.



You can watch the full eight-minute animation about the "Inner Life of a Cell" on the link below.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lab visit with Dan Stettler - Neuroscience

Photos from the UN

Here is a link to the photos of presidents by Platon- at the UN conference this fall...


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The object stares back: on the nature of seeing By James Elkins

Elkins argued in regard to notion that seeing is a simple action. "Seeing is metamorphosis, not mechanism." (12). Elkins' "Blindness" discussed the blindness as the opposite of seeing and examines the complexity that follow the concept itself. Vision is described as the act originated from the early hunting. He argued that all goes through a process and observation. “Vision runs back and forth from objects to eyes, and whatever is seen also sees...seeing is self-definition. Objects look back, and their incoming gaze tells me what I am.” (86) Vision is an incomplete process, for we cannot truly see everything. Elkins references Georges Bataille, who claims three objects cannot be seen: the sun, genitals, and death. (103). A series of questions follow his argument of vision such as Why are these objects problematic for vision? How do we bridge this shortcoming of vision? What is the connection between visual comprehension, linguistic reference, and anatomical reference?
Elkins argue that if blindness exist in old age it also exist on the infants. He poses questions "How did I see as an infant and what did I see?" (p. 202). In connection with the memory he argued that blindness and memory go together and in early infancy this link has not linked yet.
Elkins touches upon collective memory: "Since seeing can be dependent on memory, and blindness on forgetfulness, it is not extravagant to find the same relations in collective memory-in history-as there are in individual memory. Entire cultures have disappeared into blindness because they let themselves be forgotten..." (203)

Monday, March 15, 2010

McLuhan "The medium is the message"

McLuhan "The Medium is the Message" is a very interesting piece. His argument is a guide to understanding environments, especially new ones as they enter and pervade society and how the world wide web is threatening to liberate the old information monopolies from governments and big corporations. In connection with my early post and other blogs in regard to the movies...(The locker...) in the connection with our culture "long accustomed to splitting and dividing all the things as a means of control,...the medium is the message. Now more relevant than ever, the impact of new media illustrates how our senses and perceptions are altered as these devices become integral parts of our lives.

Gombrich's The Story of Art

There was a publication referring to the Gombrich's The Story of the Art in the British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 36, No. 3, July 1996.
Woodlield, R. (1996), argued that according to Gombrich the entire history of art may be matched against an illusionist ideal. At this point the term of the word "relative" was used as the aversion to the doctrine of the absolute relativism. The answer is given to the first sentence in the introduction of the book "There really in no such a things as Art. There are only Artists" (Gombrich, 1995, p. i). At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York he said that aeverything implies to the theoretical position of art. He also proposed to back to the early usage of the word "Art" that signified any skill or mastery. (September 1995, Phadon Press).

Adolf Loos's "Ornament and Crime".

Just read Adolf Loos's "Ornament and Crime". A very intrested piece.What he wrote was based on some key principals such as: The embryo passes through the stages of the development of animals and the child through the stages of development of mankind, at which point he becomes aware of the color violet which wasn’t known before the 18th century as some of today’s colors will not be recognized until the future. The child, is amoral but not criminal, whereas a modern man who ate his enemies would be. The urge to ornament one’s face and other things is the origin of fine art. All art is erotic. The first artwork was to rid the artist of natural excesses. Horizontal and vertical lines represented male penetration, and the creative joy was the same as that of Beethoven. Objects without ornament in the past were carelessly thrown away, and any rubbish with the smallest ornament was collected and displayed. Every period had a style, which meant ornament. Our period however does not: it is important because it cannot produce new ornament, has out-grown ornament. The streets will now glow like white walls.

Image and Culture

I went to see the movie The Hurt Locker of Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. In my opinion the entire movie was based on image emotion effect on a realistic documentarry type of style. Very heavy, emotional, and some realistic (unfortunately this hapend in the world).
According to the NYtimes “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by Mark Boal, "is the best nondocumentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq. This may sound like faint praise and also like a commercial death sentence, since movies about that war have not exactly galvanized audiences or risen to the level of art"
The movie uses the images to address emotion to the extreme points. The movies also make a conection between individual and society.
Ann Kibbey’s Theory of the Image is based on a concept of the image as a dynamic relation rather than a thing. In three essays Kibbey contends that the image itself is an ideological construct.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I'm starting to digest some of the work from this weekend. Just starting to...I watched the Oscars for a bit last night and the film that won for "Best Animated Short" is Logorama. http://www.logorama-themovie.com/. Has anyone seen this film? It seems to be making comments on the spread of commercialism through logos- Ronald McDonald is the "Villain" of the film, appartently. I'm about to watch it- found it online! If anyone else wants to check it out...http://vimeo.com/9980207 I'm not sure if we'll find it to be truly connected, but it's worth a gander. Happy Monday.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Art as consumable and accessible?

I recently saw a documentary about the movement of the Barnes Foundation collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Barnes Foundation is a private art school that houses "one of the finest collections of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings in the world, including an extraordinary number of masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (181), Paul C├ęzanne (69), and Henri Matisse (59). The collection also includes important works by Pablo Picasso (46), Chaim Soutine (21), Henri Rousseau (18), Amedeo Modigliani (16), Edgar Degas (11), Vincent van Gogh (7), Georges Seurat (6), Edouard Manet (4), and Claude Monet (4)." When Albert Barnes died he left behind a very specific and detailed will that guarded against any of the works in his estate being sold or moved. However, the city of Philadelphia has managed to purchase the collection that they will move to their art museum in 2011.

The documentary brought many questions to the forefront:
Should the "masses" have access to these works of "high art?"
Is the "importance" of making these paintings more accessible enough to ignore the original owner's wishes?
Will the "value" of these paintings decrease once they are obtained by the public and included in a highly accessible museum?

(I just thought I'd share. - Sarah)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reading List

Will be posted here. Right now: see syllabus.


This blogsite will contain some of the content of our course. The students are required to post their discussions, contributions, and images to this blogsite which will increasingly turn into an archive. We will learn right at the beginning of the course how to master this - fairly easy - technology. It will help us to achieve our goal: To understand and navigate the image culture we deal with - through reflection, readings, and practice.