Photographer Spotlight: Michael Eastman

Michael Eastman is a contemporary photographer who has become famous for his beautiful photos of decaying ruins. He compares himself to a painter, wielding his camera like a brush and seeing the world as a palette, full of lush colors and textures, patinaed surfaces, and, always, light. He shuns the use of artificial light and uses long exposure times instead, waiting as long as it takes for the natural illumination of the room to expose his film properly. “I’m drawn to things that either reflect light or transmit light,” he says. Through precise framing, Eastman makes the overlooked extraordinary and, often, abstract. “You can’t do more as an artist than change the way a person sees the world,” he says.

Here are some examples of ways Michael Eastman has taken gorgeous photos of ugly places:


Michael Eastman




Michael Eastman_10









Today we will:

  • take photos of subjects we would normally overlook
  • create a new blog post with the photos we took during today’s class

Photographer Spotlight: William Eggleston

William Eggleston is a pioneering photographer credited with introducing color to art photography in the late 1960s. Eggleston has done the majority of his work in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. When he was first getting started in photography, he told his friend that everything in Memphis was ugly and he didn’t know what to photograph. His friend responded, “Well, photograph the ugly stuff.” Eggleston began photographing otherwise unremarkable subjects yet achieving remarkable results. Eggleston once said, “You must not take anything for granted when you are looking at a picture. Never do that. Every single little tiny space on that page works and counts.”

Here are some of examples of ways William Eggleston has turned boring, every scenes into interesting images:

William EGGLESTON, Untitled, 1977.


William Eggleston





William Eggleston

eggleston_cars  012-william-eggleston-theredlist

Read more about William Eggleston here.

Today we will:

  • take interesting photos of subject matter we would normally overlook
  • create a new blog post with the photos we took during today’s class

New Project: Photographing the Mundane

I frequently hear, “but there’s nothing good to photograph here.” Our next project requires you to find beauty in boring or ugly surroundings. The point of this project is to open your mind to photographing things you would normally overlook. With enough practice, this exercise will eventually teach you how to take a good photograph of just about any subject matter or location.

We will examine the work of photographers who purposefully take photos of mundane subject matter, and come up with our own take on finding beauty in the mundane.

Here are some examples of great photos of mundane subject matter:
Michael Eastman

Michael Eastman

Michael Eastman

Michael Eastman

William Eggleston

William Eggleston

William Eggleston

William Eggleston

Over the next three weeks, you will take as many photos as possible of mundane subject matter.
The more photos you take, the better your final product will be, so try to take photos outside of class, too.

Project requirements:

  • 10-12 aesthetically appealing photographs or mundane or traditionally unattractive subjects (this means you will probably need to take at least 50 photos to get 10 good ones!)
  • photographs show an understanding of previous photography lessons and assignments
    • taken from an interesting camera angle
    • have a clear subject matter
    • image is in focus
    • any distracting elements have been cropped out
    • levels have been adjusted so the image has appropriate contrast
  • daily progress posted in a new blog post at the end of each class (post the photos you have taken that day, or before and after images of any photos you have edited)
  • final group of 10-12 edited photos and a 150 word artist statement posted in a final blog post for the project

Reminder: Daily blog posts back up your work in the event of a computer crash. They also enable me to see if you are on the right track with your project. Failure to post progress means a zero participation for the day. (That includes posting something like “my computer didn’t let me upload today.”) If you didn’t create a backup of your work with a post, you will not get credit for that post. Blog posts account for 40% of your grade in this class, so consider accepting these free points.

Today we will:

  • take photos of things we have previously considered boring or ugly
  • create a new blog post with the photos we took during today’s class

Finishing our Animations

animation_ScreeningWe will spend the next two classes finishing our animations (or opt outs). Once Ms. Lawson has approved your final animation, make sure you have put a .fla, .swf and .mov (this is the format we will play during the screening) of your project in the animation folder you have shared with Ms. Lawson on your school Google Drive account.

On Friday, AC students will hear a Holocaust survivor speak. On Monday, BD students (and AC 11th grade students) will screen our animations. Ms. Lawson has invited Ms. Hawkin’s 11th Grade Drawing & Painting class, as well as any SOTA faculty and staff who are available, to view the animation screening, so please come to class on time ready to present your completed animation!