This studio was very different than any other other NuVu studio because it was more artistically creative and less about problem solving; it was also different in that I had a strong idea at the outset, and didn't go through many iterations like other design processes. The prompt for the studio was to create a photography project based on our astrological sign. My two-part project is thus based on my astrological sign of Taurus (April 20-May 20), which is represented by the bull. This sign is related to a Greek myth, where Zeus disguises himself as a white bull to capture the attention and trust of a woman, then runs away with her to win her love. With this zodiac comes many different characteristics including being reliable and a good friend, practicality, ambitiousness, generosity, patience, independence, and persistence. Then, on the negative side, Tauruses tend towards stubbornness, laziness, possessiveness, frugality, materialism, and self-indignation. All these traits, along with physical aspects of the bull, influenced my work.
My research inspired my work in many ways. I ultimately created two separate projects that were both based on traits found in the Taurus. For my first project I began by lookig at precedents to create a series of three photos, side-by-side. One side shows a picture of Cole arm-wrestling with Jasmin; the other side shows a picture of Jasmin meditating in a field with flowers; and the middle one shows two people back-to-back, with Cole looking happy and relaxed, and Jasmin looking tense and frustrated. Each one of these photos is clearly linked to my research on the Taurus. The arm-wrestling is supposed to symbolize the stubbornness of Taurus. Even though Cole is losing the arm-wrestling challenge, he refuses to give up. This also shows the persistence that appears so often in Tauruses. The meditative picture is supposed to show the completely opposite side of Tauruses: how they would just rather sit in a field and smell the flowers and chill out than do anything else (as the astrologist who visited NuVu told us). The middle picture is supposed to symbolize how those two sides of the Taurus contradict but can still come together and form one person. The difficultly of this project was to show true emotion in the photos. My models had to become the part, showing both aggression and peacefulness. It took many tries from different angles and different facial expressions, but, in the end, it truly showed the aspects of Taurus that was I trying to convey.
For my second project, I walked around and took pictures in Central Square and created a collage in the face of a bull. This is supposed to symbolize the many Taurus traits coming together and creating a strong individual. For example: the skin of the bull is white flowers, which shows that, no matter what, the underlying motive of the bull is very relaxed. The background is also important in highlighting the bull's dependability. Behind it is mountains. Mountains are very sturdy and can bear much weight, similar to the Taurus. It also goes back to a real bull's homeland because they often live on the mountains, in ranches. The sky is dark, like the night, to symbolize the mysteriousness of the bull. I was not very used to Photoshop when I began this piece, so it required me to come out of my comfort zone and experiment with different commands and adjust certain aspects.
I learned so much about taking pictures and editing photos during this project. For example, I learned how to manipulate all the settings on my camera to get a perfect exposure. I also became more thoughtful about how light can effect mood, which I tried to show in my pictures. What I really learned the most about though was post production. For example, I learned how to edit a picture so it looks better with contrast enhancing and shadows and highlights. I have learned that, with a picture, when editing, you should never enhance the picture 100% or -100% but subtly switch one way or the other. I also learned a lot about Photoshop in this studio. I found that you can make completely different images just by masking certain areas and linking them with other pictures. All these different editing tools helped me to achieve my images for the project and portray different moods, and will be extremely useful in my life if I ever want to do more high-end photography.
At the beginning of this project, I was working with Jasmin because she too is a Taurus. She unfortunately was out for much of the week, so, instead of creating her own project, she mostly aided me in the expression of my ideas. This was very useful because I was able to bounce my ideas off of her and get her opinions which pushed my designs even further. For example, when discussing the first photo series with her, she helped me think about what position would best show peacefulness. In fact, she even was the model in all three photos for my first project symbolizing the meditative and relaxed side of Taurus. This involved her putting aside whatever might have been happening in her life and portraying a zen-state.
Below, Jasmin will explain her experience as a model:
Because I was gone for the second week of this studio, I mainly worked on helping Sophie with her project and offered to be her model for the project. At first, we worked together to create the concept of the photo and then went onto the streets of Cambridge to scope out different sites that would work best for the photos. With Sophie's image for the photos, she guided me through different positions and poses to get the right one. We also grabbed Cole to help us get closer to our goal for one of the photos. After we choose the sites and also the props we needed, in one day we went out and took all the photos. As a model, I had to do a lot of listening to Sophie to really understand what she wanted; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. To add on, it was also a big learning experience working with another person when taking a photo. It took a lot of communication between both models as well as the photographer (Sophie). It was definetly an awesome learning experience to be a model, and I really enjoy being one as well.