For my photo essay I chose not to focus on a person but rather an action. Every Sunday morning my housemates all like to cook breakfast together. I chose to show the process of them cooking breakfast from the beginning to end. The coffee cup at the beginning symbolizes how my roomates start their morning with a bit of caffeine to wake up. The photos following show the middle process of cooking breakfast by cutting up all of the ingredients, scrambling the eggs, and combining everything together. The last photo, or the finished product, could be considered the “end” of my housemate’s breakfast story because they have completed their concoction and created something that is nice to look at and equally delicious. I also decided not to include my roomates in any of the photos because it seemed to take away the focus on the different foods which to me were more important and way more fun to shoot. Also, the lighting used in this photo essay was mostly just natural sunlight, with a little help from the overhead oven and kitchen lights.
The word that I picked for this assignment was that of “profile.” Originally, when discovering my word I thought capturing it in a photograph would easy…I was wrong. After deciding that I didn’t want to go the traditional route of photographing a person’s profile I went searching around my house for something that would be equally, if not more interesting to snap a photo of. During my search I came across a snow globe sitting on my brother’s bureau and thought it would be perfect for my composition. The snow globe houses a character from the New Yorker magazine, standing still and tilting his head up to look at the snow. Because of the weather we have been having it seemed relevant to use him as my subject. Rather than just taking a picture of the snow globe I played with a few different lighting colors using colored construction paper to change the tint, ultimately choosing red because it matched the man’s hat and was a good contrast for the other colors of his outfit. In addition to changing the tint of the light I played around with a flashlight to see if I could illuminate some interesting angles within the globe. After changing the angles and lighting for about an hour I took, what I think, is a good depiction of profile. Only the left side of the man’s face and body is illuminated indicating that I captured a picture of his profile. I also illuminated his face because I felt as though most people associate the word ‘profile’ with a face.
This music video “Yes, We Can” was released and made popular during the presidential race of 2008. The music video is done in all black and white and features several vocalists such as John Legend, Common, and will.i.am., as well as actors such as Scarlett Johansson and Nick Cannon. The music video is simple in comparison to others of different genres, however, it speaks volumes. As we all know this presidential race was very significant for many reasons and was vitally important with concerns to the US’s future. The lyrics of the song were taken from our now President Obama’s speech and were transformed into something even more soulful, inspiring, and convincing.
The video begins with will.i.am. standing alone in silence, only to begin reciting Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech in sync with a recording. A visual of Obama delivering this speech appears on the right side of the screen as will.i.am. continues to recite it. As the speech continues, Obama’s image moves to the center of the screen with two different celebrities reciting on either side of him. The words “Yes, We Can” appear in bold white letters as the song continues, pointing out the significance of the phrase. As mentioned, the video plays for its entire length in black and white, only to reach the end where the word “Vote” is colored in red, obviously indicating its importance.
What works about this video is that the performers all seem sincere as they recite the speech, as captured in their gestures and facial expressions; this further convinces the audience to listen to what the words are saying and what they actually mean. Placing only a little bit of text into the video works because instead of reading you listen fully to the lyrics. Placing “Yes, We Can,” “Hope,” and “Vote” in bold lettering during the song only add to the importance of listening to the lyrics because they all tie into the what Obama is saying in his speech. Also, the slight changes in the screen, meaning when images are slid in and out, is good because they did change what the viewer was seeing but they weren’t distracting from the lyrics.
I liked the color scheme of the video as well as the lighting that was used because it allowed for just enough shadow and illumination of the performers’ faces. Anything brighter would take away from the ambiance and feeling of the music video, leading to distraction from the lyrics. I also did like the fact that the word “Vote” was the only thing that had color in the clip because it shows the significance of the word and the importance of it. Choosing the color red was also a good idea because it supports the importance of the word and really communicates it to the viewer.
When it comes to the aesthetics of this video, I don’t think I would change anything. The grayscale coloring of the performers and the black backdrop behind them simply influences the viewer to listen to the lyrics. If there was more color, or a brighter backdrop I feel like the meaningfulness of the lyrics would be lost due to the fact that the viewer would be distracted. Although a music video was created for this song, I think the main purpose of it is to get people to listen, which is why the video is not ‘over the top’. Overall, the clip masterfully accomplished what it set out to do, in my opinion, which was for viewers to listen and understand what Obama had to say about change and what we can do as a country.