Tag: America

1st Week!

What a week its been! Everything has built up to the first classes of the Fall term (or the Autumn Term for those back home in UK).

I’ve figured that as well as doing the monthly blogs, I might do a weekly blog as well detailing everything I have gotten up to the week in a more condensed form, leaving my vlogs to me a more overview sight of the month!

So here goes…


So the first class to begin the term off was my Photography, Art, and the Media: The 19th Century.  To start off the class, we decided to watch two film to make us think about the age old question: What is Photography? The films to help the grey brain cells were:

  • Ulysses: Based on a picture that was somewhat spontaneous, the director looked at how the memory affected those that were part of the original photo and how much they could remember of it, whilst also looking at the other historical events that were happening at the same time.
  • Nostalgia: Looking at the pictures taken back by Hollis Frampton, we are taken down a journey with personal comments made on each individual picture whilst they are being burnt; however there is a slight twist to it (watch the film to find out!)

Both of these films were a great start in getting the whole group to think not critically, but offer a variety opinions not only on the film but towards the question “What is Photography?”


Oh yes. The class I was pumped for. This was the beginning of the Colour Printing class, taught by Darin Mickey (have a look at his work if you can!) I was quite excited for this class as it was going to push me into a new limit of analogue I have always wanted to try. Shooting in colour isn’t the hardest, but being able to go into a fully functioning colour lab? It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass down.

And although we didn’t go straight into printing this week, we are given quite a few tips. For example, with negative printing (this would be colour and Black+White shooting) you want to over pose the prints more as it allows it to be dealt easier in printing.

This can be done by either going up an aperture or shutter stop. However, an easier way is that if you are using a light meter, by changing the ISO settings on it, it will automatically give you that 1 stop change.


A 400 ISO —> Shoot at “200 ISO”

So now its onto shooting more rolls of film in order to start printing!

In the afternoon, we had our first Seminar class. As we were in smaller groups, it was an opportunity to get to know each other a bit better, with everyone talking about their interests, their aspirations etc. It was interesting to hear what everyone had to say, giving a deeper insight into them all. Afterwards, we started looking through each others work, but in a different critique method: instead of explaining their work, we as the viewers had to decipher the work with no help and make our own interpretations on it, providing interesting responses.


This was the first lecture with the Dean of the School, Fred Ritchin. This was possibly the one class I had no idea of what to expect, apart from that I was prepared for a lot of information to be heading my way.

And I was right! In three hours, which seemed to fly by so quickly, we had covered so much material my brain was hurting. The conversation started talking off about hyper text (non linear narrative) and how it can begin a collaboration with the reader, something which the digital is good at doing. This then led on to a conversation about digital and analogue and the restrictions between the two and how a multitude of ideas can be implemented differently.

We was introduced to a site Fred used to run called pixelpress.org which should the capabilities of the digital in which analogue could not do, and in how text can provide a different meaning to the image as well. Do have a look at the website, as it will definitely start making you think about how important text is…


This was the start of my video class. I know I have already done video in the past, however I personally del that there was much more that I could lear from this, especially in terms of editing the video to an acceptable standard.

So we was introduced to some of the tools in order to give more steady shots (fluid tripods, shoulder rigs) as well as some of the better external microphones that we had on offer for us to use. And it was drilled in that with DSLR’s, the internal microphone is rubbish, so using an external microphone is always the route you want to head along.

We was also given our assignment for the week which was to shoot a video on out daily routine, and we was advised to follow the 5 second rule (don’t remain on a frame for more then 5 seconds.) To help us understand this more, we was shown then short film The Big Shave by Sorcasse (again something I would highly recommend but be warned, very graphic!)  to show us how we could shoot a similar video.


The class where I was different whoop!

So this was the first class for Future Storytelling and the main thing was that stories can be told however we want them to, whether it be via Transmedia (art of telling one story over multiple media where each is unique) and Multimedia (different forms of media to create powerful stories that can communicate.)

However to make a more powerful story sometimes, it is best to get the obvious out of the way in order to surprise both the audience and you, with surprise being a way for the brain to release dopamine to the body.

We was also introduced to the different types of User experiences out there:

  • Visceral design
  • Behavioural design
  • Reflective design

And finally, to finish off the week, we had our Digital technical seminar to round off the afternoon. This was just a quick introduction and recap over Colour theory and how the Primary and Complimentary colours work together and how it helps with colour correction.

For example:

If there are 256 different shades of RGB (primary colours), we could check to see if we have a correct exposure on an area by clicking a grey area to make sure that there are equal amounts there, such as R= 119 G= 119 B=119.

If one is unequal, then you have to change the others so that you can make everything balanced out

This led onto us talking about histograms and the actual importance they hold when we go and take photographs. The rule of thumb for getting a good capture is to get your histogram more to the right (e.g. making it more over exposed.) Now this may seem strange to do, however this allows the highlights to have more information stored in them and giving more subtlety in the tonal ranges. So when it comes to editing the picture, you can avoid loosing any information in any area if you decided to darken the image in RAW for example.

I also learnt the use of the HDR feature as well! If you are in a situation where you cannot change your histogram at the risk of loosing information in your image, you can use the HDR feature to give a more rounded exposure that will give the information in all areas of the picture by combining multiple images of different exposures.

So yeah, that was just a general overview of what I got up to this week… A lot isn’t it? There was more I could have included, but all I have mentioned was probably the more interesting stuff I think! Next week will begin to get more serious, and I can’t wait for it as it means more information is gonna be chucked at me and I so ready to absorb it all! Until next time!


151 MC: Genetic Engineering in Agriculture Part 1 – Assignment 1 + 2

So like I said in my previous post, I started off my research by looking at Agriculture on Wikipedia to gain a basic understanding on the topic due to it being so broad.  And the area that stood out to me the most was the Crop alteration section.
When going to work with my dad in Covent Garden, I’m used to being around fresh fruit and veg, so the idea of genetically altered or engineered food actually seemed quite interesting to me.

Again, I had no knowledge on this topic at all, so the best place for me was to Wikipedia to read up on the topic. The topic in itself is very varied, with the idea of engineering being applied in places such as Genes, Medicine etc. I had a read up on these areas, and they are interesting areas that if the project wasn’t limited to the certain topics I would be interested in looking at these.

So when reading up on the agriculture area, it all just seemed to be about the process on what would be going on and the areas that would be more focused on. It then moved onto the benefits of this process and what it can bring to others.  Such things as nutrition value, a longer living span and greater resistant to viruses were some, and on reading it seems like a very good thing to use. For farmers who may struggle with problems, GMO could be a changing point for the better.

However the part that seemed to be of the most interest to me was the ethical side of this process, in how there can be dangers to the body or environment with these things. This is because scientists believe in changing the organisms humans eating them could be susceptible to diseases or allergies.  And apparently there have been multiple warnings about the harm that could be caused. Jeffrey Smith from The Huffington Post talked about how scientists warned about the potential harm. Yet in these posts, there isn’t much to back up these statements (such as facts, figures or testimonies.) So I started to question the credibility of these claims. So I looked around, and found the website http://www.biointegrity.org/list.htm (which after re-reading Smith did hyper link this site in the words “strong warnings”)

So this got me thinking on what except controversies there are with this process. So I decided to do some searching into the controversies and thoughts there are on this. So the first stop again was Wikipedia, and even though Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology created a review of U.S. survey results from 2001-2006, I was surprised that a very limited amount of people know about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms). For me, I have seen on the news and TV about controversies, however being in the UK different news is reported. So perhaps the views in America are different to how I might see them.

So I then decided to think about do the public actually know the difference between organic food and GMO food? So on Yahoo Voices, there is an article that talks about this very thing.  And from the start it talks about how GMO food is not as easily accepted due to how the food has been modified with on a regular basis. However I started to suspect that the article has quite a bit of bias in it as there was more info regarding organic food (whilst being praised in quite a good light) yes the GMO food wasn’t regarded as well. Yet though the author did indeed use facts and referenced to back up some of her points though.
So to counter this slight bias then, I looked on NY Times website for an article that criticised Organic food.  In comparison to the other article, this report used figures to back up their point, but also used real life examples in order to show there is evidence for what they are saying. In addition, they don’t limit the views to just themselves, but they interviewed others to get their viewpoints as well.

However, from these two articles, I managed to draw up that more people preferred organic food to GMO food even when it is much more expensive. And I could understand to some extent this reasoning; if people feel healthier after eating organic food then why should they change?
But I ask the question should GMO food be stopped just for this? In some countries around the world, there isn’t the opportunity to grow organic food at all, so the potentials to grow GMO food are a huge benefit. So it strikes me weird that people would want to get rid of something that could help others.
So I started to think about an area that would be a niche area for me to focus on, and I wondered can people tell the difference between organic and GMO food at all? And if you were to place the same food (but both different) would someone be able to tell the difference between the two?