Challenge #1: “Life in our moment”: Take approximately 4-6 photos of different hours of the day, 8am – 11am – 1pm – 5pm – 11pm, so we can see the progression of time as we are living it. It doesn’t need to be on the same day but a ‘day’ is what is to be perceived.
Artist’s Statement It can be easy to fall into the same routine every day, every week. But once in a while, you just feel the need to do something different and get away from it all: I decided to photograph a day a bit out of the ordinary for me. Getting in the car and driving outside the city is incredibly freeing and relaxing. Luckily in southern California, it doesn’t take too long to reach a hot, dry desert landscape that’s so different from the city. The wide open spaces and quietness are very serene and humbling. I wanted to capture the trip throughout the day, from the journey, to the destination, and back home again, with an array of different angles and perspectives.
Critiques: At the end of every artist’s piece, we will be posting the critiques that other members of The Photograph Collective have written in response. These critiques are meant to encourage, challenge, and ultimately better each other as photographers. In the same fashion, we also invite our readers to share their thoughts of projects in the comments section below.
Stephen: A real sense of adventure in your photos and they really make me wanna head out and just go follow a map somewhere – anywhere! You should really do this more often! In terms of some criticism… It’s difficult. I would like to see a dusk shot to transition from the day to night as it was a bit sudden! My favourite photo was ‘Road’ due to the change of focus.
Mary: These images are really beautiful. In your artist statement, you talked about the idea of leaving one landscape (city) and making your way to another, and chronicling that. Some of these images seem to capture that idea, where others seem to lack that sense of depth. I particularly like the car mirror image and the ‘night’ image on the return to civilization. Those images seem to show that idea from your artist statement most and I feel an emotive connection with them. Some of the others, like the photos of the woman drinking or walking down the path or the burgers, seem more like snapshots—beautifully shot and well-edited snapshots, though. What are some of the things that you appreciate most about the differences in the two environments? Are there ways to document the trip that emphasize those differences? Could you use the angle or perspective in a couple photos to draw that parallel between those things?
Jacquelyn: Your collection of photographs was inspiring and impressive. What drew me to each photo was its amazing array of colors and natural subject matter. Not only was your collection visually-appealing, but it was also incredibly realistic; I felt as though I had tagged along on your trip and was sitting in the backseat of your car. My favorite photo was the last: “Night.” I loved how you juxtaposed modern life and technology with the desert sunset. The cars’ headlights and street light were artificial creations of light and color and were completely distinct from the spectrum in the background. To me, this photo could have easily been the setting for a movie or book; the barren landscape and ominous feel reminded me of books like The Grapes of Wrath, or the film Sideways. I would have loved to see a photo depicting the social interaction between you and Sam. Since you two were on a road trip together, I’m guessing that your drive was filled with conversation and laughter. I think this would have added another facet to your collection and draw viewers into a lively, interactive dialogue.
Jessica: I very much enjoyed the color scheme and the sequence of your photos. However, I did think that the last image was jarring compared to the rest because it seemed like a large jump both in time and just in terms of unity. The images themselves are beautiful and thoughtful. I see a clear understanding of aesthetic principles.
Christine: Okay, I LOVE your project idea and the execution was so strong. I’m literally obsessed with road trips and I think you did a great job not only photographing a road trip, but thinking about the passage of time. In particular I thought your framing was really successful and each shot stood individually on its own, and was only heightened by being seen in a series. They’re super intimate, considered shots. Seriously, so well done. Conceptually, I thought the pieces without people were strongest. As a single shot I particularly love the photograph of the girl walking in the mountains, but I think when viewing this work as a series its strongest as observatory landscape/moment shots. The lack of people heightens the viewers ability to really immerse themselves in the project, sort of project themselves into it. The viewer is, so to speak, along for the ride as part of the adventure, seeing it through your viewpoint, which becomes they’re as they see the photographs. Because of the transference between photographer/viewer they become an anonymous participant in the road trip. This might not make sense, and I’d be happy to clarify if you want, but essentially the personal nature and intimacy that you photographed your project with makes the person seeing the work feel like they’re there. The addition of a person cracks the ‘ride along’ sense because it reminds the viewer that they’re not the person on the adventure. One photograph that (I really like) and successfully implies that other people are there is the darkness of arriving back in the city. The headlights of other cars allude to other people without placing them in the frame. Consider an intimate, anonymous way to portray two people in the same space — two settings at a table? two burgers? The headlights do this beautifully. Technically, the editing, cropping and color all look great. Its a solid mix of contemporary and vintage – perfect for a road trip. A few shots I love: the windshield, mirror and the burgers – the color balance on that shot is perfection – I LOVE your project idea and the execution was so strong.