Photo 191: A Series Of Fortunate Pictures

June 11, 2010 by  

For our final project in our digital photo class Niel brought in a jar of fortune cookies. He asked each person to pick two cookies and told us to create a series of photos based on the fortunes inside. We could either combine the two fortunes or use one of the fortunes as our theme. Bryan and I both chose to do only one of our fortunes with his fortune being “Keep up the good health habits you already have.” He interpreted his project very literally and shot photos of activities he normally does such as walking the dogs, riding his bike and going to the gym. He added a twist to his interpretation by shooting all the photos from his perspective. Everyone in the class thought his idea was very successful and I totally agree.

The fortune that I chose to do was “Pick up some litter and help keep our world beautiful.” My idea for this project was to show beautiful landscapes with huge amounts of trash in the foreground. Generally beautiful places do not have large piles of garbage strewn about and that’s where Photoshop magic comes in. Because I had a plethora of nice landscape photos that I have taken I decided to focus all my energy on getting pictures of large piles of trash. I naively thought this would be easy, I tried going to local landfills but apparently these places do not allow you to photograph their trash so I had to look for other means. Unfortunately, the area that I live in is very clean so I couldn’t even find trash lying about in the streets or near the dumpsters. I realized I had to do something I dreaded, I had to use stock photography. I found a website that allowed me to use free images of garbage, I composited those images onto my own landscape shots and Viola! I had the “shots” I wanted. My only regret is that I relied too heavily on Photoshop for this project despite the fact that I am not a Photoshop whiz. One criticism of my final project was that although the landscapes were beautifully lit the stock images lacked the same quality and you can very much tell that my final images were composited.

Stock trash photo by Chiara Marra

Stock tire photo by Simon Film

Stock trash photo by Editor B

Stock trash photo by D'Arcy Norman

Stock trash photo by Xerones

I would definitely say we learned a lot in this class, not just about Photoshop but about creative thinking. I learned how important looking at a subject from a different perspective is to creating your own style of photographs. Anyone can take good photos, but it’s the way you interpret a subject that can be the difference between a good image and a great image. I personally have been anti-Photoshop for a long time because I see a lot of people over doing it and relying heavily on it which I was guilty of in my own final project. Ironic huh? I learned that a little post processing can go a long way to enhancing a photo and that good Photoshop is all about subtlety. We ended up ordering Photoshop CS5 for ourselves and have since learned all of the interesting and useful tools it had to offer. Photoshop is definitely a powerful tool and Niel reminded us all of the famous saying “With great power comes great responsibility”.


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