Painting the Town Red

This is my first go at using a bit of photoshop and pretending that I am good at photography.

This is my first go at using a bit of photoshop and pretending that I am good at photography.

I remember when I saw people running around doing the Seeing Red project last year, I couldn’t wait to do it myself. Secretly, I have always wanted to be really awesome at photography and take some frame-able fashion shots. My Instagram is me showing off my best iPhonagraphy skills, knowing very well that even all the cool filters and editing (Afterlight is my lifeline for this) won’t make me a real photographer.

When we brought in the big dogs, the D7000, I knew I was going to be in for a bit of culture shock. I have held a DSLR a couple times in my life but it was usually on auto and I  maybe took two photos. But, being the nerd I am, I knew how to hold the camera to not look like a total noob, but in practice I am wholeheartedly a noob. I had heard the terms of ISO, shutter speed (I knew that, duh) and aperture thrown around before because I am friends with a bunch of other journalists that own nice cameras. Finally, I was learning what they meant and using my hands a lot to try to get into my brain how they related all together. If your shutter speed is high *raises left hand,* then the aperture needs to be a lower f-stop *lowers right hand.* AND WE CAN’T FORGET ABOUT ISO, GOOD LORD. That sucker can just cause a whole mess of over or underexposure, which is what happened for maybe a third of the pictures I took.

I ran into one of my classmates downtown when I was lying on my back trying to get the right angle of a car taillight. She was a little frazzled because she was having a hard time finding red. Really? There is literally red everywhere. From expired meters to neon signs to cracked beer bottle labels to the god-for-saken fire hydrants, red is something that is so common place yet our eye recognizes it as something different because of the connotation with emergency, alert, and just in-your-face-ness that it holds. Coincidentally, red is my favorite color, making this assignment a hunt for my favorite things.

I finally got the hang of how to use the camera towards the end of my rental period. How typical. But, this has half crushed my dream of being good a photography because I didn’t feel that confidant right away, but it also gave me hope because I believe that if I play around with it some more I can get pretty decent at it. HEY SANTA GIVE ME A DSLR FOR CHRISTMAS. Or maybe a Polaroid is more my speed…

For some reason, when I think of red I think of feminist things. Maybe it is because my favorite feminist pin that I have is the word “Patriarchy” in the red “do not enter” sign, or “no” sign as I like to call it. To continue with this convoluted train of thought, I have listened/watched the “Blurred Lines” parody that I posted last week a lot but not as much as I would like because YouTube took it down. Their reasoning was that it was offensive/inappropriate to have the half-naked men that they used in there video to speak out against Robin Thicke’s use of half-naked and naked women. That is patriarchy right there because Robin Thicke’s video is still up on YouTube, heck, the unrated one where the women are topless is still up on VEVO. I am not one to be offended by boobs, I mean, boobs are pretty great in art and things but Robin Thicke’s video is not about art or respecting women’s bodies, it’s about telling them that they need a man to liberate them through sex, thus making boobs just an object and not apart of a women. And that just makes me red with fury.

So, my lessons from this week are that photos and images can take a lot of work to get right and that there is a very thin line between art and something that is just “blurry.”


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