Hey, it’s been a while

Hey guys.. its been a while… A little bit over a month a while… Sorry about that. This semester has started out super fast paced and I’m finally getting a second to catch my breath as I sit in the printmaking studio during open studIo hours.

In this post I want to give a brief overview of what’s happened and what will happen this semester in terms of my art classes. Since I’m in the printmaking studio let’s start there.

Alright so we started out printmaking by going over the studio, where things are, what things do, etc. we also started right on the second day learning how to print from a screen that already had a stencil burned into the screen. I’ll go more in depth about that process later. This stencil was a set on circles that were concentric around each other. However, it was slightly maze like, which pieces cut out of the circles. The reason our professor decided to use this stencil is because he wanted to teach us precision. We had to make ten prints in one color, let it dry, and then take those same 10 prints and print over them with another color. He didn’t want to see the first color at all in the second run prints. It look a lot of time to make this perfect, and I’ll explain how we did that in yet another post.  We also finished our second project. We had to hand draw (ugh) anything of our choice to fit on 9x12in bristol board. It was a one color run, which means that the print only consisted of one color, instead of multiple layers of color. We had to print 10 of these designs as well, but we will be graded on only our best 5.

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In drawing, we have been working through the ages of modern techniques. We started with impression and expressionism, using india ink, and pastels to draw a still life of a vacuum cleaner. Then we moved on to fauvism, which is a style that consists of childlike gestures, with lots of unnatural colors. Currently we are working on cubist style of draw, which has been my favorite section thus far.

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In photography, I have been working on the project I posted on a while ago. I have one couple that I am focusing all my time on. So far I have shot 6 rolls of film, and have printed many, many photos. So far I have shot 1 practice, 1 lesson, 1 competition prep, and 1 competition. I have truly enjoyed this project, and would like to continue exploring this project even more possibly once I’m out of school.

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I hope you enjoyed some of my art that I have done so far this semester, as well as the post. I will try to be better about posting. Please feel free to check out my website, follow me on twitter @anapolousphoto, and give a like on my facebook page.

Frustration

Hi all. I hope your lives are calming down from all the holiday craziness, and that things are going on back as usual. I know my life is, though it will be soon up rooted once again once the semester starts back up.

Today I would like to talk about what frustrates me the most when people respond to my statement that one day I would like to have a full time career as a photographer. It’s not “How are you going to support yourself?” or “I hope you have a back up plan” or “At least you took a some classes that could land you a practical job if that photography thing works out.” No these don’t bug me, at least not anymore, as I am very comfortable with my career decision. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but this is what I love.

No, what bugs me the most is the phrase, “I hope one day you’ll be famous” or “You’ll be the next Annie Leibovitz.” I know all these people mean well, and are just being encouraging; however, I did not choose this career because I want to be famous. I love photography, and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Sure, it would be nice to be famous. But it’s not a goal. My goal is just to be able to make a decent living as a full time photography. Famous is probably 9th or 10th on the list of things I would like to accomplish with my life. And let me tell you it’s a short list… So it’s pretty far down there. If it happens, it happens. If it doens’t, well at least I accomplished everything else and I will be happy with that.

Realization

Have you ever had those moments where you figured out what you exactly what you wanted to do with your life? Or least you realized something you liked about yourself? Well I had one early this month. I had received my first Dance Photography job for a showcase event at a local studio back in November. The event was set for December 14th, so I had about a month to get really really nervous prepare.

When the day came, I was completely excited, and super nervous at the same time. I really wanted to make a good impression with the studio and dance professionals I was working with as well as the dancers, and parents of dancers who attended. Who wouldn’t be nervous about that? I made it through the event with only a minor crisis regarding memory cards and me not realizing that I reached capacity until I tried taking more pictures and I got the cute little “CF FULL” where my light meter should have been… Luckily no one noticed, except for those closest to me and my computer.

For four hours I was living my dream. I was taking photos basically non-stop (my only breaks were the 1-2minutes between sets). And it wasn’t just mindless snapping of photos either. Between focusing, zooming, and making sure my camera was receiving enough light, my brain was thinking at a mile a minute (and that’s more than I can say for my current day job). By the end of it my head was spinning, not only because I saw that I had taken about 930 photos during those four short hours, but also because how much I actually did during the day, and how much I had to be on top of my game. It truly was an exhausting experience for those who haven’t experienced anything like that before.

But being exhausted wasn’t a bad thing for me. I was incredibly happy as well. It was in that cold hobble walk back to my car, and relatively quick (but sleepy) drive home did I realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Sure, I knew abstractly that Dancesport Photography is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but actually living it completely set that into stone. There are no questions, no ifs, ands, or buts.

I am so grateful that I was able to have this experience, and to have been able to share my love of dance and photography with the dancers in my local community. I am also proud to say that I was able to network at the event and am looking forward to the future.

If you want to see the photos from the event, go a head and check out my new website for my business: Anastasia Poulos Photography. I hope to add a blogging section to that website too where I will go into more details about the events I shoot at. Also feel free to stop by my Facebook Page and give it a “Like” and my Indiegogo Campaign!

Photography: Idea

So one class has ended, 3 more to go for the semester. And of course it’s the class that I never really wanted to end, Photography. Of course I will continue to shoot, but shooting with digital isn’t the same. I love both mediums, but there is something about film photography that makes everything feel right in my world (though only having a limited number of shots does not add to this feeling). You know how everyone has those scents that make them feel relaxed? Well, the smell of developer is one of mine. I know it’s not the most appealing smell in the world, but I have had the some of my best experiences as an artist come out of the darkroom, that my brain has just associated the smell with feeling good. This is not to say, however, that I always feel calm and relaxed in the darkroom either. But it definitely is a smell that can change my attitude for the day if I’m having one.

The good news is that I am taking the Advanced Photography class next semester! Yay! There is a lot more freedom within this class. I think the requirements are that we have 25 complete final prints by the end of the semester that have a story or idea behind them. I have been thinking about how I want to execute this assignment. Of course the obvious answer is: keep shooting dancers. But that’s not really a story now is it? Sure it’s a concept; however, it’s a very broad concept. I wanted a more narrow idea. Something that had a clear beginning, middle and end. I have been thinking about this since I started out calling for dancers to have me shoot their practices, which has been about a month. It wasn’t until last night that I came up with an idea that I think will work. My plan is to pick a 1-2 couples and shoot them exclusively throughout the semester. I want to be their shadow for an entire three months. Taking pictures of their practices, their prep hours before the competition, dancing during the competition, and the aftermath of the competition. I want to be able to document what it takes to get where you want to go, and what happens  if you achieve the goals or not.

I have no idea exactly how I want to do this, or who I want to track, but this is just the core idea. There is still a lot of fleshing out  that needs to be done. Let me know in the comments below what you think of this idea!

Class Update

Hello all!

So the semester is winding down (only one week to go before finals) and I though I would give you an overall update of what’s been going on.

In painting we have been working on our final two. The first is a 24x36in canvas and it could be whatever we wanted it to be. So I chose dancing (of course). It took me WEEKS to figure out what to paint. I probably went through 10(!) different sketches until finally my professor let me start working with my canvas. Here is the painting so far:

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It’s an abstraction of a develope. It’s a high extended leg position that you develop (here’s your ooo moment) over a certain measure of beats. I still have a lot to work on. During critique the major issue was I need to be more loose and really let my paint brush dance across the canvas… We shall see how that goes.

Our second painting also could be whatever we wanted. In this past week, I’ve been working on a few sketches of it. Here are my two sketches:

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The basic idea is dancers on a dance floor. The size of the canvas will be 36x48inchs! Crazy big but I think it will work well with this idea. The top sketch is the first one I painted. I just wanted to get my basic idea across. I did one other that I am not showing here that does not reach the boards of the paper (like the first one), but where the brushstrokes and colors are more defined, like the bottom one. Now my professor pulled me aside and said he really like the concept but wanted to show me how different the feel would be with clear boarders. The sketch became more than just the paint, and the experience of the paint. The layers of color became more defined and the boarders added more depth to the painting, which I enjoyed. This led me to my third and final sketch (the bottom image). I really do look forward to painting this next week.

In digital media we created a magazine of our artwork. We had to make a front cover, a back cover, and an interior. For the covers we had to use Illustrator.  We had to make the front and the back covers really pop, and show our use of Illustrator. They could not be basic. They also had to be cohesive with each other. For the interior we used InDesign. We came up with our own artist statements and added photographs of our work thus far. I used a lot of my photography, and a few pieces from my casting and painting class. This has been my favorite project thus far. Unfortunately I do not have any picutres of it. We also just completed our animation project, which I disliked even more than our photoshop projects. We are currently working on our websites using Dreamweaver. I’m not in love with this project either, but such is life.

In photography, I have been focusing my efforts on ballroom dancing. I photographed our comepition, DCDI, on a 3200 speed roll. Here are a few pictures from that:

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As you maybe able to tell, this film has a lot more grain to it, which gives it an almost darker quality to the prints. I really like this feel and I think I’m going to use this speed film for all competitions from here on out. It also allows to shoot in lower light situations which is great for competitions.

I have also focused on getting some of the members of my club to let me take pictures of their practice and classes. I am still working on printing those, but I hope to have more completed next week.

That’s all I have for today! Until next time, check out my facebook page and indiegogo campaign to see more of my work and to learn about what I am currently working on!

 

Indiegogo Campaign

As  you may or may not have noticed, I now have a new page to go see on this blog entitled Indiegogo Campaign. It will take you to a page that briefly tells you what I am doing and why. In this post I am looking to go more indepth of why I started this campgain, and why it means so much to me.

As you know if you have been following, art, specifically photography, is my first love and my life choice in terms of career. Over the past three years at Maryland, I have grown as a person and as an artist and have come to terms with what I want to do with my life. I have made up my mind that I want to be a photographer. It’s not an easy choice to make, in fact it is quite daunting. It’s a highly saturated field, with a huge failure rate, and sporadic income. Well doesn’t that sound like a bundle of joy. But working at my part time, secure job has made me realize that I don’t want to be stuck at a desk all day for the rest of my life. I would be miserable. So I made that leap. I promised myself that I want to be a full time photographer in the very near future.

Ok the hard part of deciding what I want to do with the rest of my life is over. Whew… Got that stuggle out of the way. But what’s this? A whole nother slew of struggles of how to get from Point A, “now I know what I want to do”, to Point B, “making the dream the reality.” That’s where this blog comes in. I decided that I wanted to get my art work out there and hopefully start a gathering of people, while also talking about my second love dance. It was in this almost half a year of blogging (gosh has it really been that long?) that I realized that I wanted to mesh the two together. I have been dancing since I was little, and in college I fell in love with ballroom dancing. And you know what they say, stick to what you know. Well I know photography, and I know dance– so why not tailor my portfolio to dancing.

That makes it one step closer to getting to Point B. In the latter half of this semester, I have been using my photography class to just sit down and force myself to just take ballroom photos. And guess what, my photographs have turned out better because of two reasons. The first being is that I understand my subjects. I understand how their bodies move. And I have been developing my skills to understanding how and when I should snap that photo. The second reason being is that I actually enjoy taking these photos. It does show in your work when you truly love what you are doing. There is a certain care and love that comes out in those photographs. I do not feel like this is work when go into these photo shoots, because it’s fun. I am not constantly check to see how my shots are left in my roll of film. In fact, half the time I don’t realize that I only have one shot left and am completely surprised when my camera starts rewinding the film back into the canister.

I have also started a facebook page, which I will link to below, to further showcase my photography. In the past 2 weeks that it has been up, I have gained 85 “likes,” which is amazing! I am truly pleased with the outcome so far! I have also been connecting with the local ballroom community, and I hope to have a few events lined up in the future. I have also been in contact with the school’s Student Start Up Incubator, Startup Shell, to gain business advice and support for the next year I will be attending school. All of these things above are what I have done to get be to my ultimate goal of Point B.

Now I am in need of some help. As you know, I am a college student, which means I have a limited access of funds. I work part time, but it is usually only enough to get me food, gas, and  supplies during the school semester. Right now, to grow my business even further, I want to start a full fledge website for my photography. I want to be able to professionally showcase my art, as well as provide client access for prints. Unfortunately I do not have the funds to create one myself. This is where you, my readers and followers, come into play.

I have started up an Indiegogo Campaign for my website (link below). I am asking for $500 dollars to set up my website. The cost includes webhosting the main page with wordpress.org, and the webhosting through zenfolio for the photography portion of the website. I am currently at 20% of my total goal. If you can, I would greatly apprciate any support you can offer. Whether it be donating to the campaign, or sharing the campaign with your friends and family. This would mean so much to me. Thank you so much in advanced and for all the support you have given me thus far.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe holiday!

LINKS:

FACEBOOK PAGE

INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

I Don’t Know

There are a lot of things I don’t know, but the one thing I am struggling with right now is selling myself. I am having this issue of trying to write this email to an event manager to see if I can get a spot as being one of the event photographers. I have this huge lists of reasons of why this would be a great opportunity for me to take photos at this event, but my list of why they should hire me… consists of nothing. Besides being cheap, why would a large event want to hire a student photographer? The only positive thing that currently sets me apart from the other photographers they have hired in the past is that I really want to shoot the event on film and on digital. It would provide them with a completely different feel to the photos. Films’ grains give a warmer, softer feel to photos sometimes then pixels. I would be the only one at the event shooting with film. Of course I would definitely have my digital camera with me as well to take pictures, as I can take a lot for very little cost on my end. And I’m not asking for a lot on their end. All I really want is a chance to shoot, and to have my room and travel expenses covered, which is a lot cheaper than hiring a photographer on for the full weekend. If anyone out there has any advice of selling oneself to a potential client please comment below. Any suggestions are welcome!

Photography: Post Midterm

Alright, lots of printing has happened over the last few weeks. I have a few things to show you. First and for most is the quality of light photo project. This one stumped me, as it was hard for me to come up with different aways to create different lighting schemes. It wasn’t until the last few shots I really felt that I got into my grove, which really made me sad. It wasn’t until I found reflections in puddles after some rain that I found some really cool compositions. Here are the two she wanted me to print.

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We also had a mini class discussion with her about some of us, including me, having a hard time shooting a roll a week. Within the projects we had, many of us had a hard time finding inspiration. She gave us two solutions to this problem. Her first solution was to let us start shooting subject matter that we want for the rest of the semester. For some people that’s portraiture. For other’s it’s completely forgetting about film and working on digital photography. For me, it’s ballroom dance. My rolls for the remainder of the semester will consist of dancers. Whether they be practicing, competing, or getting ready for competing, I will be taking their photos. Finally something I will enjoy. Though I will not be without my challenges. Studios, ballrooms, and the gym we practice in all have a lighting issue. So having a high enough shutter speed to capture good action shots maybe prove to be difficult.

The second solution was to go out during one class and do a mini shooting workshop around campus. Many people were having a hard time finding inspiration in around campus place that we walk around day in and day out. So she took her camera, and took us around to show us what we were missing. She showed us this really cool area where it was a courtyard which would lend itself to fashion photography. We also went to some warehouse type places to show us that even in the most unlikely places we could find interesting things to shoot, or interesting environments to shoot portraits in. Unfortunately, I did not get to take a lot of photos as I was helping out our teacher with her equipment. I think this was a great experience for all of us. It opened our eyes to what makes a good photography, and the process of getting that good photograph. It was much easier to adjust the angles that day as we were using her digital camera, and had instant feedback of what the picture looked like. You aren’t so fortunate in film. You have no clue how that picture is going to come out until you take the time to develop the roll, create a contact sheet, and print the picture.

Lastly, we had our midterm review on Monday. It went less then stellar. We found out as a class, we kinda suck at created good compositions. We also suck at picking out good photos out of our current portfolios. We also learned that we are putting way too much pressure on ourself with this class. She really does not care how we fulfill the project guidelines in terms of content, but as long as we shoot at least one roll of film per week. I am so glad I can finally focus completely on ballroom and dancesport photography. I also spoke with her and she has agreed to teach me how to use my fancy flash, as studios and ballrooms have very bad lighting. Hopefully I can get better, crisper action shots with the flash.

That’s all I have for now for photography. I have 2 rolls which I plan to develop this week, and 3 contact sheets to print. I’ve got a very busy week ahead of me for photography. See you next week!

Major Class Update!

Gah sometimes the time gets away from me and I completely forget to post. This is one of those times. So I have a couple updates about the classes. The first painting in completed, yay! Here is a quick look at it.

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I offically turn it in along with painting number two next week on the 24th for our midterm. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!

The second painting that I mentioned is a series of four smaller paintings done on a 24×24 canvas, each image being 12×12. Here we are learning four different techinques, overpaint/underpaint, wet in wet, glazing, and impasto. The first techinque, overpaint/underpaint, is exactly what it sounds like, layers of paint overlaping each other to form the final design. Think impressionist. The second, wet in wet, involves adding paint on top of paint and smoothing the colors together to great a more blurry line of transitions between colors. Glazing, the third techinque, involves adding a thick, white medium to the canvas, and adding very light layers of pure colors and shades (adding black) to it. This gives you the purest and brightest colors out of all of the techinques. Also note, we do NOT add any tints, or adding white to our colors, in glazing. We only go down the color scale. Impasto is the last techinque we are applying to our canvas. This also involves adding medium to our canvas, but instead of trying to acheive really rich and vibrant hues, we are trying to ad visable, touchable texture to the piece. We are trying to build up the surface of the canvas to really make certain objects pop of the canvas.

So far I have only  managed to finish my overpaint/underpaint. I think I am almost done with my wet in wet, but I have not touched the other two. I have brought my canvas home with me to work on the wet in wet so that I can focus competely on the other two techinques on Tuesday in class. Here is what I have so far.

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Although I haven’t been able to print much in photog, I have been able to get one picture competely finished and I have taken about 4 rolls now on film. It is from our Vantage Point roll. In this roll, we were suppose to take 4 objects and take 10 images of 3 of the objects, and 6 of the last (on a 36 count roll). The ones my professor liked the most of were the pictures of my beat up practice shoe for dance.

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It’s probably really hard to see in this quick snap shot of the photo, But I took this on a cloudy day, with probably a mid shutter speed (around 1/250 or 1/500 of a second) and a low depth of field (probably around 4.0 aperture). This caused the background to blur out a bit to make the shoe really pop. On the enlarger I used the fspot (aperture) 8, which is a middle range of light, for a total exposer of 3 seconds. I dodged, or waved a piece of cardboard around to block the light, the shoelace area in order for that information to come up. I did this instead of lowering the time or aperture anymore so because the rock and front part of the shoe looked perfectly exposed, while that one area looked a bit too dark. I might do one more print, and dodge that area for the entire 3 seconds.

Finally I have completed two projects for digital media. Below is an image  from the first project. In this project we had to take 15 items, scan them, and then use them in compositions. Plot twist, we could not make it look like a cut and paste image. We had to use the objects to create a whole new environment. This was incredibly hard for me to do, but I ended up with the three compositions. This class is truly pushing my creativity. The image below used bobby pins, rhinestones, a sheet, a lock, and sweater to create a stormy sea setting.

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Let me know what you think of my work in the comments below, or feel free to link me to some of your work. With my club’s competition coming up I will prepare a couple posts about ballroom and competing!

MIT Open

So this past weekend was the MIT Open Ballroom Competition, and my collegiate team made their way up there like they do every year. This year, unfortunately, my partner (and boyfriend, one in the same) and I could not make it due to monetary issues. However, I MIT is still one of my favorite competitions to attend. First of all, it is a collegiate competition  which means lots of cheering, camaraderie, and excitement filling the ballroom, or gym in this case. Secondly, it is the largest collegiate competition on the East Coast, which means that you are pulling some of the best amateur talent from the East Coast throughout the levels to compete against. Thirdly, MIT always have an amazing professional couple come and perform a showcase and give workshops and private lessons throughout the weekend.

I love to dance, and compete. However, being able to sit in bleachers, not too far away from the couple, or even on the ground super close, is just amazing. To be inspired by these dancers to push harder and want more out of your dancing is priceless. This year’s showcase was performed by Pablo Basco and his partner Joanne Clifton, the 2011 World Dance Federation Champions. I will provide a link of their dancing below. 

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Above is an image from the 2011 MIT Dance Performance that I took on my Cannon D-SLR. The couple in the photo is Franco Formica and Oxana Lebedew. They were the 3rd place couple in the world in 2011. Shortly after the MIT Open, Franco and Oxana split ways and are now dancing with their new partners.

It’s not only my dancing these professionals are inspiring in me. They are also inspiring my photography. Every move these dancers make is just exquisite and my fingers just itch to click as many pictures as I can get.  It’s almost like an endless cycle of art. They create beautiful lines and shapes with their body in continuous motion, while I capture each line and shape on my digital card or film. I cannot wait until I have the opportunity to take pictures like this again of a professional couple. 

Videos:

Pablo Basco and Joanne Clifton Foxtrot

Franco Formica and Oxana Lebedew Rumba