“Moments of the Now” by Mary Gruben

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 

Most days are filled with routine and familiarity, and much of one day blurs into the next. The differentiating features of the day-to-day are so outnumbered by the repetition of daily habits. The moments that break the routine, though, are seen with more clarity and remembered, while the most commonly repeated acts become far less memorable, despite their frequency. In these photos, I sought to capture the moments I see hundreds of times each year, and create images that communicate how I remember those moments–fuzzy, like a dream you know the feeling of, but most of context has slipped away.

– Mary Gruben
See more of her work at: www.mary-gruben.com

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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.

Amanda: I absolutely love the premise of your project and how you chose to capture the moments which repeat yet blur together. My favorite of the sets are 2, 4, and 5 (in that order too!). I absolutely love 2 mainly because it’s not instantly recognizable and therefore forces the viewer to pause for a split second to figure out what he/she is looking at. In doing that, in searching for a thought, it evokes this exact feeling of memories which blur together – memories that we try to remember, but just can’t quite grasp. The windshield, on the other hand, strongly evokes a feeling of nostalgia. The lower angle reminds me of being a child, riding to school in a dusty car. The color tone emphasizes the emotion even more. The notebook shot is just beautifully and simply composed. However, I do think that this photo could have been strengthened by choosing a different surface or wood which wasn’t as distracting with patterns. The bed and computer shots were not as strong in my opinion – perhaps it is because these moments are almost too easily recognizable. I realize that there is an instant push & pull because your goal was to shoot the repetitive, yet you also want your photos to be unique and powerful in a way where the viewer still wants to look at it deeper. I think in these cases, a tighter frame might have helped it more. Perhaps the perspective of when you’ve just woken up & your head is still on the pillow – those fuzzy moments when you’re barely awake. Overall, I thought that you did an excellent job of tying together these photos as one project with one technical style, yet still managed to evoke slightly different emotions in each photo.

Maya: I was especially taken by your artist’s statement; I feel like a lot of what you said is incredibly true and will be agreed upon by many. My favorite shot is the fourth, of the windshield, because of the colors and amount that you chose to capture. For some of the others, I felt that there is room for improvement with the focus in relation to your composition. For the shot of the book, and the shot of the residue on the cutting board, I think that while the emphasis on focus was there, you may want to direct it in certain places. I wasn’t initially sure what the subject of the cutting board scene was, and with the book, the blurred white page that takes up most of the frame leaves the viewer curious. Experiment a bit with your camera’s Automatic Focus! In Manual mode, you can usually choose beforehand where the focus is going to be. I’m excited to see what you do next!

Beatrice: Mary, I really liked your theme – you expressed your artist’s statement through your photos very well. It is also very relatable to my daily life. My favorite photos were the second and fourth photos – they express emotion well. I liked how you kept the blurring consistent throughout your series because it really tied everything together and it felt like a true series.

Khatiti: Your photo set was super personal and I felt very in touch with your daily schedule. I think that you achieved this through some great characteristic shots. My favorite shots were the first and the last. The photo of the bedroom was great because the muted colors and lighting is amazing in portraying an early morning. The second shot was the only one that I questioned a bit, as I wasn’t exactly sure about what the subject was. I would suggest maybe showing more of the subject to make it clearer. I think that you did a good job of portraying the fuzziness you described in your artist’s statement, creating an overall subdued feeling. I really like that you embraced the routine of your life, and interpreted it in this sort of fuzzy way.

Christine: Hey Mary, I just wanted to let you know that I really love your focus, micro approach and visual simplicity. Its all so strong and stunning. In particular my favorite image is the tomato seed photo – it has the amazing quality of a memory. Your work functions so well as a series, and each stands beautifully on its own in a sort of tiny ambiguity. Can’t wait to see more!

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